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Yahoo Getting Beat Up

By tnt in News
Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 04:41:53 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

The Open Directory Project, also known as dmoz (a directory like Yahoo but released as open content) is near the point where it will over take Yahoo in terms of size.

Even if you haven't heard of the Open Directory Project yet, you've very likely used it already (without knowing). The Open Directory Project, being an open content project, allows anyone to use its data. And many do. Such as AltaVista, AOL Search, Google, and Netscape Search. (A more complete list of sites using this data can be found here.) It's even been incorporated into the Netscape Web Browser; in the what's related feature.

This volunteer driven project is nearing a milestone in its history. Its nearing the point where it will overtake its rival in the race to index the web, Yahoo. One count puts it at about 118,163 away from over taking its rival. And with an army of editors, numbering at last check at 23,478, it shouldn't be long now.

(For those interested, a short history of the Open Directory Project can be found here.)


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Related Links
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Yahoo Getting Beat Up | 23 comments (23 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Ah, so THAT's where all the neat se... (2.00 / 1) (#3)
by fluffy grue on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 11:38:47 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

Ah, so THAT's where all the neat search categories on Google were coming from. I thought they'd implemented some scary AI stuff, but it looks like they've done even better and are taking advantage of open stuff. Groovy.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: Ah, so THAT's where all the neat se... (none / 0) (#7)
by tnt on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 11:37:30 AM EST

With Google you get the categories (created by the Open Directory Project) listed in the search results, but you can also go to directory.google.com to get a more traditional use of the directory data.

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

[ Parent ]
It may beat yahoo in content, but i... (3.00 / 3) (#1)
by ramses0 on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 02:02:08 AM EST

ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

It may beat yahoo in content, but it won't beat yahoo in services... where else can you get movie listings, tv listings, email, chat, calendar, instant messenging, etc... all using the same yahoo id?
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

Re: It may beat yahoo in content, but i... (none / 0) (#8)
by Inoshiro on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 11:39:42 AM EST

where else can you get movie listings
The newspaper.

tv listings
The newspaper, channel 11, @Home assistant, etc.. Not like I watch TV anyways ;-)

Run your own server like I do ;)

Efnet, efnet! Kuro5hin.org!

I have one on my wall. It has pictures of kittens in it.

instant messenging

Ppphhht! :-)

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: It may beat yahoo in content, but i... (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by ramses0 on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 06:29:47 PM EST

You missed the important qualifier: "with one yahoo ID"

I get your point, I'm just interested in the sheer -convergence- which yahoo has managed to bring to bear.

I didn't even mention their clubs.yahoo.com, or maps.yahoo.com, or weather.yahoo.com, or ... well... you get the idea ;^)=


(maybe anonymous because i think IE is eating k5 cookies.)
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: It may beat yahoo in content, but i... (2.00 / 1) (#16)
by rusty on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 06:42:44 PM EST

Cookies-- I changed the cookie-handling code recently. There have been a couple of issues with it so far, and if you're having problems, first shut down the crowser, and delete all kuro5hin.org cookies. If it doesn't work after that, please email me and let me know if you're getting cookies, and what seems to be happening to them.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: It may beat yahoo in content, but i... (none / 0) (#21)
by Inoshiro on Sat Apr 08, 2000 at 01:31:40 PM EST

There have been a couple of issues with it so far,

Wow, was that ever a piece of damage control. :-) Opera still doesn't work with K5 cookies, even though Netscape works with them now. Silly Rusty, breaking cookie code for everyone!

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: It may beat yahoo in content, but i... (none / 0) (#23)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jul 13, 2000 at 05:29:16 PM EST

LookSmart is larger than both. What industry do you work in??

[ Parent ]
Re: It may beat yahoo in content, but i... (none / 0) (#13)
by tnt on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 12:07:49 PM EST

The Open Directory Project is expanding. They are already indexing other types of data.

Take a look at ChefMoz. It's still in beta right now, but its mission is to be a resturant guide.

Other types of (open content) projects have been talked about also.

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

[ Parent ]

Re: It may beat yahoo in content, but i... (none / 0) (#18)
by dlc on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 09:45:06 AM EST

That has nothing to do with Yahoo's directory, though. As nice as Yahoo's other tools are (I personally like how well integrated they are with each other), their directory contains too much crap for me.


[ Parent ]

... and? I don't think Yahoo is lo... (1.00 / 1) (#2)
by evro on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 02:04:23 AM EST

evro voted -1 on this story.

... and? I don't think Yahoo is losing sleep over dmoz.
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Who owns the content? (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by Philipp on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 06:32:27 AM EST

I gave up on NewHoo when it was aquired by Netscape, which has meanwhile be bought by AOL. Now reading the Open Content statement, it seems this is really still libre. Does anybody know, if it is possible for AOL/Netscape/Time/Warner to revoke this licence? The argument, that the version so far is free and I can keep using this one, does not really cut it: There are few things more useless than an old web directory.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
Re: Who owns the content? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by tnt on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 11:59:15 AM EST

When NewHoo (former GnuHoo) got bought up by Netscape, it became part of the Mozilla Project (and got moved to directory.mozilla.org). And in the spirit of the Mozilla project, NewHoo/GnuHoo/directory.mozilla.org/Open Directory Project data became open content.

IMO, the purchase of NewHoo by Netscape was a good thing... it prompted it becoming open content.

As far as AOL revoking the license; I don't think it is likely to happen. For one, if it did, I think the majority of the (volunteer) editors would stop working on the project. (I would.) Also, AOL (along with much of the web) depends on the data. So even if Netscape/AOL/Time/Warner didn't want to fund the project any longer, as an open content project... then I'm sure there are other who would.

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

[ Parent ]

And the Oscar for most links in a single comment g (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by rusty on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 04:37:54 PM EST

...tnt, for "Re: Who owns the content?"! :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Mozilla & licensing (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by kmself on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 04:32:32 AM EST

I've worked with Mitchel Baker of Mozilla on a couple of related licensing issues, and have to say that she both really gets the issues and importance of free software and open content, and worked hard with both the original and second versions of the Mozilla Public License to build something that works for developers and community. The MozPL is a compromise between a complete copyleft and proprietary-linkage licenses, but it's a pretty darned good one.

First gander at the Open Directory License is that it's reasonably good. The problem with it is similar to that of the GNU GPL -- it appears incompatible with other licenses, even if they're free. Unfortunately there's been a bit of a land rush into open content licenses, with entries from Mozilla, FSF, O'Reilly, and others.

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: Mozilla & licensing (5.00 / 1) (#19)
by jonas on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 09:36:04 AM EST

The MPL is basically a sound and good free software license, I agree to that. But the major failing with the MPL, and many other free software licenses, is that they are incompatible with the GPL. Meaning that MPL code and GPL code can not be mixed, which is a somewhat serious failing to me since it represents an enourmous waste.

[ Parent ]
Re: Who owns the content? (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by mattdm on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 12:00:47 PM EST

What do you mean still? The original "GnuHoo" people were VERY opposed to having an open content license. It wasn't until they were bought by Netscape that they changed their terms.

Check out this from the slashdot archives for a bit of history.

I'm really happy Netscape/AOL decided to do the right thing -- done right, and really free, this is a great (even essential) project. (And I'm happy to see that it's doing well!)

[ Parent ]
Re: Yahoo Getting Beat Up (1.00 / 2) (#5)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 08:10:45 AM EST

The one thing that annoys about the Slashdot formatting style is that it sometimes takes me a significant amount of time to find the link on which I should click to get more info about the topic of mention. Usually, this means the one that takes me to the corresponding news/magazine article. Of course, in cases like this one, I want to be directed to the comments page. Given the number of links in the front page snipet, it can sometimes be somewhat difficult to find the news/magazine link or to determine that the story is under the "Read more..." link. In this case, I wasn't sure of where to go until I had exhaustively looked through all of the links in the front page snipet.

I guess I could always go right to "Read more..." but often, I want to go right to the referred article.

Oh well. This is probably too picky to be worth any sort of real consideration, but it would be nice to know which link to click to get more info...


Re: Yahoo Getting Beat Up (none / 0) (#9)
by Inoshiro on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 11:48:04 AM EST

ALL browsers (Netscape, IE, Lynx, Opera) will show the destination link of an anchor link if you hover your cursor over the link.. IE: hovering over the "The Jargon File" like shows http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/spam.html in my status bar in NS. It's usually quite easy to tell which are just mainpage (www.company.dom), and which are the stories (www.company.dom/fudgely/weird_4r52_id.shtml).. Read more always goes directly to the comments.

And once you're on the read comments page, you have all the links in a "related links" box on the right hand side. You should probably browse is parrallel. In NS 4 for Unix, middle click opens links in new windows. Otherwise, right-click and open in new window from the content menu (note: this doesn't apply to lynx for obvious reasons ;)).. I generally have between 2 and 10 browser windows open, depending on what information I'm reading (they are usually a mix of Mozilla and Netscape, or Opera/Netscape/Netscape 6 depending on my OS of the moment).

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: Yahoo Getting Beat Up (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by asad on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 11:29:28 AM EST

This is great news. Yahoo sells keywords, for example if you want to be listed under tax advice it will cost you somewhere in the 6 figure range. My company wisely decided that we didn't really need to be listed in yahoo and last I checked we were list in the open directory project and other search engines.. I belive hotbot does the same thing and for a price their search won't show up any of your competitors.

Re: Yahoo Getting Beat Up (4.50 / 2) (#10)
by Inoshiro on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 11:52:55 AM EST

The ability to unfairly influence my search is the precise reason why I stopped using Yahoo (circa 1996/1997 I used them because their directory was free, and their backend wa Altavista). Once they sold out and started using Inktomi, I went to altavista. Then they became to sell out. That's when I shifted to Google. I'm very pleased with google. I do not mind the odd advertisement if they won't allow unfair influences on their search results.

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Why Dmoz will kick Yahoo's ass. (1.50 / 2) (#20)
by Novalis on Sat Apr 08, 2000 at 01:06:32 AM EST

1.  They won't sue parodies.
2.  If you count by number of sites, Paganism is the third most popular
religion.  ESR would be proud - he's a witch!
3. It only has half as many silly sports as Yahoo.

-Dave Turner
The problem with the ODP (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by mpt on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 07:39:56 AM EST

Yahoo succeeded initially not because it was the first attempt at a large-scale Web directory (it wasn't), but because it was simple and well designed. For a long time it stayed this way, even if a fair bit of the simplicity -- the lack of graphics and fancy layout -- was accidental rather than intentional.

But sooner or later, when you start getting as popular as Yahoo you have to start doing anything you can to make money. And when you make money through the usual sources -- paid advertising -- you start getting less and less useful. And so it is with Yahoo today: in a decently-sized browser window, you have to scroll down past a fair bit of advertising junk and shopping links before you get to see all the categories.

Enter the ODP.

A volunteer-based directory was bound to happen eventually. I think the reason the ODP succeeded, where others such as OneMission did not, is for the same reason Yahoo succeeded while Galaxy did not -- the ODP was simpler and less strangely organized.

But still, the ODP has its problems.

The major advantage Yahoo has over the ODP is in the integrity of its classification. If an editor is a disinterested employee, they are more likely to compile a fair and representative list of links on a controversial topic than a volunteer editor is. They are less likely, for example, to pre-judge an organization for directory users by categorizing it as a `hate group'.

In fact, Yahoo's categorization tends to be better than the ODP's in general. ODP editors may be enthusiasts, but in most cases they sure ain't librarians. In many categories there are just far too many subcategories -- they are `flat' and `shallow' where they should be `deep' and `narrow'. But it can be hard for anyone but a ruthless librarian to put things in few enough categories so that users don't have to scroll to see all the categories on one page.

Then there's the matter of general balance. Whereas Yahoo's main categories fairly thoroughly and obviously cover the subject matter of the known universe, the ODP's main categories are rather eclectic.

Why are role-playing games listed on the front page of the ODP, whereas psychology is three levels down? Why is clothes shopping on the front page, while the environment is hidden away inside the `Issues' category? Why is there an `Issues' category at all -- who decides what is an `issue' and what isn't?

If I had the time to volunteer for the ODP, I'd ask if I could work as a general classification person, rather than as an editor for a specific category. Because a lack of decent categorization is the only thing which is really stopping them from being the ultimate Web directory.

-- mpt

Yahoo Getting Beat Up | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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