Buying Old Domains to Get Listed on DMOZ: White Hat or Black Hat?

If you are an SEO specialist, you know that the mother of all free directories, DMOZ, is next to impossible to get into. You’ve tried everything from submitting to relevant categories to making your listings less promotional and even submitting multiple times – all to no avail. Since DMOZ is the most authoritative free directory listing on the web, THIS IS FRUSTRATING! You’ve got a valid, spam-free, useful site, but DMOZ won’t give it a second glance.

I stumbled upon (though with no help from the application) an interesting forum while looking for any trick I may have missed to get my client’s website’s listed on DMOZ. While the discussion is a little dated, what the author suggests is intriguing. The gist of this gentleman’s trick is that you purchase an old or dead domain that is already listed on DMOZ.

You find those dead domains one of two ways:

1) Download a free program that will grab all of DMOZ’s listings, then search for any domains that are for sale and buy one. This is more labor intensive, but has faster results.

2) Post an ad, craigslist-style, stating that you are looking to purchase a domain that is already listed in DMOZ and see if you get any inquiries. This has less labor but slower results.

Now here comes the part that’s questionable:

First: “Make 1 page with 2 frames, the height of top frame should be 1 pixel, so it cannot be seen, then in the bottom frame open your own web site. You should optimize this page for your own key words also.” Then, you “install this page as the index page for the DMOZ listed domains that you have bought”. Also, be sure you “make a custom 404 page that redirects all not found pages to the index page of domain.”

Considering I work for a strictly white hat SEO firm, my first thought was that this is a black hat tactic. But through this trick, you are not adding to the amount of spam on the web. You are, in fact, eliminating one more useless domain from the web, and incorporating it into your website, therefore making it useful again. I think my final decision is that this is a “gray hat” tactic.


What do you think? Is buying a dead domain and using it to gain a DMOZ ranking a white or black hat SEO tactic?


The original forum post can be found here. The author is “gworld” and the original post date was April, 2005.


Emma Lewin is an SEO Specialist at 451 Marketing @Emmajeannn

2 thoughts on “Buying Old Domains to Get Listed on DMOZ: White Hat or Black Hat?

  1. Always and always use white hat marketing techniques for seo. You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder to find out your getting chased by ‘Angry’ google bots. DMOZ is definitely the way to go if you can get listed there!!! cheers great post….

  2. Thank you Emma for that interesting seo strategy. Can you kindly tell me the name of the free program that will grab all of DMOZ’s listings, so i can buy a domain that is for sale.

    best wishes


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