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History and Background
– DMOZ was founded in the United States as Gnuhoo by Rich Skrenta and Bob Truel in 1998.
– Chris Tolles, Bryn Dole, and Jeremy Wenokur also joined as co-founders.
– Gnuhoo was later renamed to NewHoo after objections from Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation.
– Netscape Communications Corporation acquired NewHoo in October 1998 and it became the Open Directory Project.
– AOL acquired Netscape and DMOZ became one of its assets.
– DMOZ was launched in November/December 2000 as a project of the Open Directory Project (ODP).

Size and Growth
– DMOZ had about 100,000 URLs indexed and contributions from 4,500 editors when Netscape took over.
– The number of URLs indexed reached one million on October 5, 1999.
– DMOZ had 5,169,995 sites listed in over 1,017,500 categories as of April 2013.
– The directory reached four million listings on December 3, 2003.
– In October 2015, there were 3,996,412 sites listed in 1,026,706 categories.

System Failure and Editing Outage
– DMOZ experienced a catastrophic server failure on October 20, 2006.
– Editors were unable to work on the directory until December 18, 2006.
– During the outage, an older build of the directory was visible to the public.
– Site suggestion and update listings forms became available again on January 13, 2007.
– RDF dumps resumed publication on January 26, 2007.

Competing and Spinoff Projects
– Two other major web directories edited by volunteers, sponsored by and Zeal, emerged but are now defunct.
– MusicMoz, ChefMoz, and Open Site were open content volunteer projects inspired by DMOZ.
– DMOZ also served as inspiration for the Nupedia project, which eventually led to the creation of Wikipedia.
– These directories did not license their content for open content distribution.

Maintenance and Policies
– Editors maintained directory listings by adding new listings, editing existing listings, and monitoring linked sites.
– Robozilla, a Web crawler, checked the status of listed sites and flagged those that had moved or disappeared.
– The goal was to reduce link rot in web directories.
– Expired domains listed on DMOZ attracted domain hijacking, so they were regularly removed.
– Volunteers created editing tools like linkcheckers and spellcheckers to supplement Robozilla.
– DMOZ editors go through an application process and demonstrate their editing abilities.
– Editors start with permissions in a small category and can apply for more privileges.
– Mentorship relationships and internal forums support new editors.
– Senior editors can be granted additional privileges based on experience and leadership.
– Violations of DMOZ’s Editing Guidelines can result in consequences for editors.

DMOZ (Wikipedia)

DMOZ (stylized dmoz in its logo; from, an earlier domain name) was a multilingual open-content directory of World Wide Web links. The site and community who maintained it were also known as the Open Directory Project (ODP). It was owned by AOL (now a part of Verizon Media) but constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors.

"dmoz" in white on a green background with each letter in a separate square
Type of site
Web directory
Available in90 languages, including English
DissolvedMarch 17, 2017; 6 years ago (2017-03-17)
ParentAOL (Archived 2018-01-19 at the Wayback Machine)
LaunchedJune 5, 1998; 25 years ago (1998-06-05)
Current statusClosed
Content license
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported, Open Directory License

DMOZ used a hierarchical ontology scheme for organizing site listings. Listings on a similar topic were grouped into categories which then included smaller categories.

DMOZ closed on March 17, 2017, because AOL no longer wished to support the project. The website became a single landing page on that day, with links to a static archive of DMOZ, and to the DMOZ discussion forum, where plans to rebrand and relaunch the directory were being discussed.

As of September 2017, a non-editable mirror remained available at, and it was announced that while the DMOZ URL would not return, a successor version of the directory named Curlie would be provided.

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