Barry Schwartz reports that Yahoo is on the verge of adding support for the NoODP metatag. This emerged from an interview with Yahoo’s Tim Mayer.
This is a good step forward, as Yahoo does use the descriptions for sites found in the Open Directory Project on some occasions, and sometimes these descriptions are not that good.
Sadly, Yahoo is not implementing a NoYahooDir tag. This is a mistake, as pointed out by Danny Sullivan in this post.
What Danny demonstrates is a few examples where directory descriptions are not very good. One way this happens is when a description is written that uses data that changes over time. Danny provides the example of Tony Knowles, who is shown by one search engine to be running for governor in Alaska, and by another to be running for Senator in Alaska.
What happened here is that description data was pulled from different sources, and in the case of Yahoo, the description is that used in the Yahoo directory.
Pulling data from static sources, such as a directory, as a description for a dynamic object (a web site) is bad. There just isn’t a simple algorithmic solution for precisely recognizing when a directory description is inaccurate. The description will get out of date, and a directory source should only be used as a last resort.
So hopefully, the search engines, including Yahoo, will get on board with this soon.