Weird, but some of us are getting the old Google homepage design back (as pictured above). Instead of the navigation at the top left, the links are back to above the search box. Who else is seeing this old design? Wonder if Google is rolling out an “undo” operation to their last big redesign from May this year...
Jeremy Shoemaker reports that he was blackmailed into paying for staying in the DMOZ.org open directory (which is usually free to be in):
A while back I got a email from a guy claiming to be a DMOZ editor saying that I had to pay him $5,000.00 or he would have my site: shoemoney.com removed from the dmoz.
I thought nothing of it.... then today I got a email from him saying it was removed and I might want to rethink not paying him. I thought I would check just for grins.
It was removed... WOW.
(Jeremy below his post links to a disclaimer stating that you “should assume everything written on this blog is a lie;” however, that’s just Jeremy’s disclaimer below every post.)
Google, as you may know, is using the Open Directory as data source for their (mostly deserted, but still live) Google Directory. Now, this incident might be a single case, or point to corruption within the Open Directory Project. There’s even a small chance that someone is trying to ruin the DMOZ image (because it’s kind of stupid to blackmail a blogger, because many of them will do what’s natural, and blog about the incident). In any case, I wonder if we’ll see the day when Google simply takes their Directory offline...
Update: DMOZ editor Marcin Sochacki has some clarifications in the comments.
Update 2: DMOZ editor Marcin in the comments points to a discussion thread from 2005 where someone by the user name of Shoemoney says, “if anyone seriously does know a dmoz editor pm me ill pay there lame corruption fee to get in the dmoz... I dont like it but I want to be listed.” According to Marcin, this forum proposal (which has been deleted now) was interpreted as an offer of bribery – even though others interpreted it as sarcasm – which is why the Schoemaker site in question was flagged in DMOZ to not be relisted again (though it was temporarily relisted). Note as things go, it’s hard to verify if Jeremy Schoemaker is indeed behind the user name Shoemoney, though I send Jeremy an email to ask for verification. Also, the “$5000 offer from someone claiming to be a DMOZ editor is a separate issue,” Marcin adds, arguing that there may indeed be bad apples among editors. [Thanks Marcin!]
Update 3: Jeremy responds in the comments, saying that it was his post in the forum in the discussion thread in question, but that it was unrelated to the site shoemoney.com. “I have never hid the fact I have paid to get sites in,” Jeremy says and adds, “In the end the facts still remain I got a letter that I had to pay or my site would be removed then it was removed.” [Thanks Jeremy!]
If you search Google for dj san roman a strange thumbnail image shows to the left side of the top result, as Michel emails in. It’s served from “video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2” but doesn’t show anything except a dark gray on light gray message reading “image not available”. Clicking on it leads straight to the website, djsanroman.com. Does anyone know what this is supposed to be? It looks a bit like a video thumbnail for non-YouTube/ Google Video content (e.g. see this search for iFilm content) gone wrong.
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