Scandal and Mayhem at the Virtual Library


The Virtual Library was originally created by Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the WWW) and remains the oldest web directory. As a registered non profit with killer link authority some of the maintainers have been a bit greedy, taking more than their fair share of the link popularity.

The ongoing conflict revolves around Michael Chapman, Vlib secretary, allegedly doing all of the following at some point in time

  • holding a small informal election which some high VL members consider illegal (meeting minutes here)
  • seizing control of the directory without being formally elected
  • not responding to calls to a legitimate election
  • dropping members from the official mail list
  • moving the directory to his own server
  • not sharing the password to the directory with others
  • copyrighting much of Vlib under his own name
  • restructuring the database and dropping categories without proper notification
  • creating a dodgy site search that flows link popularity to his personal sites through near dublicate content pages
  • posting ads for Basal law firm on many of those pages
  • and other similarly shady stuff.

One of the original Vlib maintainer recently stated:

Mr. Chapman has, it seems to me, seized control of WWW-VL in order to exploit that aspect of the not-for-profit status of the organization by selling advertising links, pointing to one's personal profit-making sites, and so forth.

For a while one of the maintainers set up because they were sick of Mr. Chapman's efforts and wanted to create something more fair. Another registered and at least one other high level maintainer has already announced their resignation. Mr. Chapman has been fighting back. is pending transfer his way, and some of his claims of ultimate treason and moral turpitude toward the creator of are posted at

Rumor has it even Tim Berners-Lee is now in on the discussion.


> Rumor has it even Tim

> Rumor has it even Tim Berners-Lee is now in on the discussion.

They better take cover -- he's a knight!

Alexa says...

VLIB.ORG #98,221

Kind of explains why I've never heard of the damn thing.

They rank about 4x lower than my sites on Alexa which is pretty amusing for supposedly "the oldest catalogue of the Web" and both Yahoo and Google claim I have 3x the backlinks, all oganic mind you.

But that PR9 sure would be nice :)

Ah, they coulda been a Yahoo!, the coulda been a contender, and this fuss amongst themselves sounds like sour grapes being squished from the bottom of the barrel.

Amusing at any rate.

Vlib was the directory

Vlib was the directory created by sir TBL when Tim Berners-Lee created the web (like back in 1991ish).

The lack of scale to it is largely due to it being largely non commercial and loosely organized for a great deal of time.

They have about 25,000 backlinks to the home page from .edu or .gov resources.

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