MSN Search Provide DMOZ Opt-Out

What a turn-up for the books!  MSN announce they have created an ‘opt-out’ tag for webmasters to utilise in their meta-data which will, in a nutshell, tell MSN Bot to ignore the title of a website listing in DMOZ (ODP) and use the title that is on the website in question.

A statement on the MSN blog goes into a little more detail here:

“Just to give some background, the Open Directory Project at dmoz.org is a repository of millions of human-edited descriptions. Even though these human-edited descriptions provide a lot of value, with human editing may come human error, bias, descriptions getting out-dated, or the editor’s text may simply not suit the webmasters who want to be represented in their own way”.

A senior editor at DMOZ responded that it ‘pained him to see sites listed in the wrong category and/or with out-dated descriptions’. He went on to mention that the ‘ODP’s update should be used’.

Though I believe the DMOZ editor meant well and was sincere, I have a problem with this statement.  Using the ODP update feature is flawed – the length of time it takes to actually make the changes is astronomical. I can attest to this from my own experience for a few years ago our company had a site listed within DMOZ.   It was an old site which we had decided to take down and redirect the URL. An astonishing TEN months later, the site was still not changed; the description was way out of date and no longer reflected the new company/website.

I went to the DMOZ forum where I made a request to have this looked into but was shockingly met with blatant hostility for making such a request on their ‘public forum’ to enquire after my own website / business that was listed incorrectly within their public directory.

Well, not one to ‘take a kicking lying down’, I responded (in a calm and logical manner) that they were in the wrong to respond in such a hostile manner and that I had every right to question them in regards to my company website.

What happened next is that they removed the old URL but DID NOT replace it with the new address.  When I raised this issue with them and mentioned it would have been a simple task to carry out, I was again met with hostility.  It was then ’suggested’ to me that if I continued with my complaint, my site would not be listed for another three or four years.

At this time, another editor at DMOZ also stated that they lacked an editor for the section I was (supposed) to be listed in but this was untrue since I saw new site listings from competitors appearing in the section on a weekly basis.  In the end I gave up with that thread, went back a year later, tried another tactic and this time it was listed.

The creation of this tag could not have come soon enough for my liking, and I am hopeful that other search engines such as Google, Yahoo et al will make a uniform decision to create a universal tag for this purpose.

Here is the tag just pop it into your meta-data:

<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOODP”>

Or

<META NAME=”msnbot” CONTENT=”NOODP”>

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