DMOZ Directory Closes Down

There have been many changes in the online environment over the years, but one type of site that has been through more changes than most are directories. Beaten into submission by search engines years ago, few of the original indexes remain, much to the dismay of those in the technical SEO field.

The latest to cease is DMOZ, a long-term favourite amongst SEO’s because of its ease of submission and the high-quality links that it once produced.


DMOZ History

DMOZ was born 18 years ago, in 1998, with the aim of providing an open listing platform to challenge the dominance of Yahoo. Originally operating under the name GnuHoo and later NewHoo the services were originally envisaged as an open-source project.

Although the site later came to be owned by AOL, it was maintained by a community of volunteer editors. The name was a portmanteau of one of the earlier URL’s for the site –

Alexa rankings show that the site has indeed slipped away from the public consciousness. At the time of its closure on 17th March 2017, the site was ranked at 11,365 in the index of top sites. It was estimated to have around 90,000 users.

The site had suffered a number of outages during the years of its operation, including a major system failure in 2006 that saw the site replaced by an old backup version, that was missing many of the new listings.

The site looked to be getting a new lease of life from an upgrade during 2016, but the version of the site, dubbed DMOZ 3.0 proved to be the final hurrah for the system.


The End for User Curated Search?

User-curated search really got underway with the venerable Yahoo Directory (originally known as “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”, and later rechristened as “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle” or Yahoo! for short).

Yahoo moved away from its roots towards search engine by initially partnering with the Google and then purchasing its former search partners at AltaVista and Inktomi before finally agreeing a tie-up with Microsoft’s Bing. Yahoo Directory closed in 2014.

DMOZ was one of the final sites of its type, and while some smaller lists continue to be maintained in specialist niches, it is unlikely that an attempt to create a human edited list will be launched again.


DMOZ Closure – What Does It Mean?

The homepage of DMOZ is now a simple page announcing its closure. The final version of the site is still online at a mirror of the site at

The closure of the site means that the NOODP tag that is still found in many websites to tell Google and other search engines to ignore descriptions found in the DMOZ Open Directory Project will now be depreciated. It is likely that this will remain lurking in websites for years to come and will prove a challenge to technical SEO practitioners for some time.