Just some thoughts on DMOZ and the question of some editors barring competitors.
I have been busy working on my particular section and I soon realised that even if I had thought to trying to prevent potential competitors from listing, this would actually be counterproductive. Let me explain:
We are actually a fairly new company that is up against some very big players who are well established. However, unlike our competitors, we focus on a very small geographic region rather than trying to provide worldwide services. Thus while the bigger companies have the name, we have the specialisation.
The fact is that many people doing a search in the field that we work in are likely to use the name of one of these big firms, with the result that the entry in DMOZ will show up, along with the category. Chances are people will naturally be interested in having a look at the category to see what else is there, and thus come across our site.
Therefore, according to this rationale the more of the big players one has in the category the better it is. I know that this will work for relatively few sections, but it is a very good reason, in certain cases, to refute the idea that DMOZ editors will always try to keep competitors out. It does not take away from the fact that they still act with a degree of self-interest. However, in this case, it is a generally benign self interest that favours the user in terms of fuller listings.
Actually I doubt it. If someone knows a company name then their search is over. They're already decided where they need to go, they're just trying to find the URL (if they don't already know it). Since they've already decided the page they want to visit the chances of them even visiting your category via the search results are slim.
Yes, I agree with the point about the search, but it is worth remembering that if people did simply work in that way things like Alexa would not bother to do a list of related sites or give the category under which the site is listed in order for its users to search for similar sites.
Often people start with a single site they may know about, but are both willing and interested in seeing other sites on the same topic. Given that DMOZ is an important player, my point was that listing competitors in DMOZ is a good way of making your own site more accessible.
I guess my simple response is which of the two routes would you take?
1. Taking some time to make your site more accessible, even if there is only a marginal chance that it will result in more visits?
2. Not bothering at all?
And before the smart answers come about promoting competitors, I did stress that this really only works in certain categories with very big players and smaller niche markets. It is not an across the board suggestion.