How to Submit to the Open Directory Project - dummies

How to Submit to the Open Directory Project

By Peter Kent

Yes, the Open Directory Project is free, and yes, you can submit very quickly. But the problem is that there’s no guarantee that your site will be listed. Some sites get into the Open Directory Project within a week or two of submission, and others have waited months — years! — without ever getting in.

Additionally, the submission forms sometimes don’t seem to work. Unfortunately, the Open Directory Project — DMOZ, as it’s known to search geeks — has more work to do than volunteer editors to do it (each submission has to be reviewed), and although it invites people to become editors, its editor-recruiting process actually discourages editors. Consequently, it’s hard to get into the directory.

But don’t give up yet. A listing in the Open Directory Project is a great thing to have if you can get it. Submitting takes only a few minutes, so you might as well try, even if the chance of getting in is low. It’s like a free lottery ticket. Here’s how to submit:

  1. Read the editor’s guidelines at DMOZ.

    If you know what guidelines the editors use, you may be able to avoid problems. It’s hard to get into the directory, so you may as well give yourself the best chance of getting in.

  2. Go to

    The Open Directory Project home page appears.

  3. Find a suitable category for your site.

  4. Click the Suggest URL link at the top of the page.

  5. Follow the (fairly simple) directions.

    You simply enter your home page’s URL, a short title, a 25 to 30-word description for the site, and your e-mail address. That’s it. Then you wait.

Nevertheless, understand that the editors at DMOZ don’t care about your site, they care about the directory. In fact, read the DMOZ forums, and you find that the attitude tends to be “tell us about your site, then go away and forget about it.” All sorts of factors are working against you:

  • 8,000 editors are managing more than 700,000 categories.

  • Many small directories might only be reviewed by an editor every six months — or far less frequently.

  • The editors regard a six-month wait, or longer, not particularly excessive.

  • In some cases, editors may even ignore submissions. As one editor explained, “There is no obligation to review them in any order nor is there a requirement to review them as a priority. Some editors find it more productive to seek out sites on their own and rarely visit the suggested sites.”

As another DMOZ editor succinctly explained it, DMOZ is “very much like a lottery.” The fact is, as important as DMOZ is, you may never get into this directory! If you really, really want to get in, you might consider posting in the DMOZ forums, where you can ask real, live DMOZ editors what’s going on.

Or do as a number of site owners have done; submit to DMOZ to become an editor. Once in, things get much easier! Still, that’s probably overkill these days, as the directory doesn’t have distribution it used to have.