DMOZ — The Open Directory Project— is closing. This marks the end of an era when humans, rather than machines used to organize the web.
The announcement came on Feb 28, 2017 via a notice which was later displayed on their home page, saying it will close as of March 14, 2017.
DMOZ was a multilingual open-content directory of World Wide Web links. It was maintained by a site and community who were also known as the Open Directory Project (ODP). It was owned by AOL but constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors.
DMOZ used a hierarchical ontology scheme for organizing site listings where listings on a similar topic were grouped into categories which had further smaller categories.
DMOZ was born in June 1998 as “GnuHoo,” and then changed to “NewHoo,” which became the rival to the Yahoo Directory at the time. Yahoo had faced criticism as being too powerful and too difficult for sites to be listed in and thus “NewHoo” became popular.
It was acquired by Netscape in November 1998 and renamed the Netscape Open Directory and when AOL acquired Netscape, a month later, AOL got the control of The Open Directory.
1998 also marked the origin of Google, which was to become the game changer in how the World Wide Web is organized with the start of the end of human curation of websites. With Google came the ability to search every page on the web with an accuracy and relevancy that was a hallmark of human-powered directories.
With changing times, Yahoo shifted to preferring machine-generated results over human power, making its directory more irrelevant until its closure in December 2014.
After Yahoo’s closure of directory, DMOZ continued on, although for marketers and searchers, it had become a mostly forgotten resource till Feb 2017 when they finally announced it.
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