26/10/13 02:55 Filed in: AMRAY
After evaluation of the AMRAY directory on October 25 and 26, I have given it a rating of seventy-six percent.
Tonight, we'll be looking at the AMRAY directory. Oddly, while I've been around web directories since web directories were introduced, I don't recall having heard of the AMRAY directory until a few months ago. If I had come across it previously, and I probably had, I didn't remember it. Yet, the AMRAY directory has been around as a directory since 2000, first appearing in the Internet Archive as such on the 4th of December, 2000.
So, the AMRAY directory earns a place among the older directories on the Internet. In fact, Best of the Web is often cited as being one of the pioneers of the directory industry; yet, despite its many contributions to the industry, it first appears in the Internet Archive, as a web directory, on April 20, 2003. While the domain shows up as far back as 1996, it wasn't a web directory until 2003. For that matter, the AMRAY domain appears in the archive as early as April 12, 1997, although it wasn't a web directory then either.
At any rate, AMRAY is one of the early web directories. It is also one of the larger ones. Next quarter, I will probably increase the maximum number of links that my Scrutiny scanning program will check but it is currently set at 200,000, and the AMRAY directory topped out. This includes navigational and other internal links found on the domain, and is not an actual count of the number of outgoing directory links a directory has but it gives me a ballpark figure that I can use for the sake of comparison. Fewer than two percent of the links found by Scrutiny were bad, after I discounted timeouts and other errors that did not necessarily represent bad links.
The Google PageRank of AMRAY's index page is five, and second-level pages range from three to four, although I didn't look at all of them. Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 15,988, and its Moz Domain Authority is 55/100, while the Page Authority of its index page is 62/100. Its SEMRush Rank is 3,177,836 and its SEMRush Search Traffic is 11.
AMRAY has had 14 Google+ clicks, 76 StumbleUpon stumbies, 5 Twitter tweets, and 8 Facebook likes.
The options for submitting a site to the directory begin with a Basic Listing, which is free, but it may take ninety days or longer for the submission to be reviewed. For a quicker review, from 48-96 hours, an Express Review is available for a fee of $5.99. If a submitted site includes a forum, blog, a Twitter or a Facebook account, these may also be added.
Premium Listings will be placed above regular links in the category, but the fee is $29.00 for one year or $39.00 for permanent inclusion in the directory.
Regardless of the option chosen, inclusion is not guaranteed, and the directory editors or administrators will review each submission to ensure that it complies with the submissions guidelines, which are published on the submission page. Significantly, only top-level domains are accepted, and the email address used must match the domain name. Site descriptions must be a minimum of one hundred characters, but are limited to a maximum of two hundred characters.
The above information was accurate as of the date of this review, and is subject to change at any time. I include it here for those who may be interested. For the purposes of our evaluation and rating, we'll be looking at the directory from the perspective of a directory user.
Following our criteria for the fourth quarter of 2013, we will be looking at five general areas of assessment: aesthetics (10%), content (25%), intuitiveness (20%), quality (20%), and usefulness (25%), with overlapping in some of these areas.
Aesthetics - 8/10
At first glance, the index page of the AMRAY directory appears busy, as there are things moving on the screen above the main menu, and I had to turn my sound off because someone was singing.
However, what might appear to be advertising above the main menu is, I suppose, actually advertising, but it is advertising its own products and other resources that are available on the domain, and I don't generally deduct points for first-party advertising. I'll discuss this later in my review, but I do not view this as a problem, as far as the aesthetics of the directory goes.
The AMRAY directory's internal pages include a banner ad, but that, too, is to the company's own web hosting services, so it will be considered a first-party ad, as will the ads along the right sidebar, as they are to other directories and services offered by the AMRAY company. Its internal pages are, perhaps, a bit busy, but not overly distracting.
Except for the music, which I absolutely hate, the AMRAY directory is a fairly attractive web site. There are fifteen upper-level categories, arranged in three columns, all of them consisting of two words joined with an ampersand, save one, which is two words, which lends a symmetrical appearance that I like. Plus, there is plenty of white space between the category names, and to each side.
Likewise, its internal pages are easy on the eyes. While they are just a bit too busy for my tastes, the first-party advertising blocks are clearly separated from the directory content and, so, are not overly distracting. Each category listing is enclosed within its own block, with a thumbnail image to the left side.
A link directly to the listed site is provided, as well as an option for "More Info," which brings up a details page, which may include a Google map and statistical information about the listed site, such as its Google PageRank and back links, Alexa ranking and back links, the host server IP, domain age, whois information, and a link to the site's listing in the Wayback Machine, also known as the Internet Archive. There are options for site visitors to write a review, or to report dead links. Of course, there are also additional links to the site.
Content - 22/25
As noted earlier, the AMRAY directory topped out at 200,000 links, and I have not come across any empty categories.
However, it could probably use further subcategorization, as the directory is only two levels deep. Rather than subcategorizing further, there are several pages of listings beneath some of these categories. This is not a content problem, except that it makes it difficult to judge the amount of content.
Intuitiveness - 13/20
The taxonomy used by the AMRAY directory is unique, in that it doesn't appear that they copied anyone else's category structure. Its category name choices are mostly pretty good. There are some Miscellaneous categories, which I generally frown on, but have often been tempted to create as a place to put sites that just don't fit anywhere else.
There is no regional tree, per se, but its People & Places category would fit much of the content that might ordinarily be listed within a regional tree, when the focus is on the place, rather than that a business or organization happens to be located in a particular place; but not quite. If I am moving to a particular place, and wanted to see what sort of businesses are located in that town, I don't know that I could do that here. I could browse through the several shopping and business categories looking for those that are located in that town or, if the town is included in the description or keywords, I could probably use its search features. For example, a search on "Philadelphia" turned up five pages of sites whose businesses or topics were related to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
If I were looking for general information about the town itself, I might find it in its People & Places tree, but I would still have to browse through several pages of listings because they are not categorized by continent, country, state, or town.
As a topical directory, AMRAY has a reasonable amount of content, which is categorized sensibly, although it could use additional subcategorization. In addition to its topical categories, it includes some of the features of a general comprehensive directory.
Category descriptions would be a plus. Done well, they can inform directory users, advise submitters, and entice search engine spiders. The same is true of site descriptions. Longer site descriptions would be helpful.
The ability to rate and review listed sites, and to report bad links, is a plus, as it provides users with the ability to interact with the directory. That's alway a good thing.
Quality - 15/20
I see no evidence of laxness on the part of the AMRAY directory staff. It is clear that many of the listings in the directory were added by the AMRAY staff, for the purpose of seeding categories and to provide useful content.
The AMRAY staff are careful about what types of sites they add to the directory, whether or not the payment of a fee has been received, and they are likewise careful about site titles and descriptions, which usually comply with the directory's standards. As a rule, listings in the AMRAY directory do not include promotional language.
To be sure, I can find a few odd descriptions, but they may have been added at a time when the standards weren't so high, or when they weren't being followed as closely. For example:
Horse Behavior and Psychology
Comprehensive resource, chapter length articles on topics: Evolution,Body Language, Learning,Social and Family behavior and much more, also discussion group and free horse behavior problem advisory service, from White Horse Farm Equine Ethology Project.
Klaus Jost`s Great White Shark Page
Pictures Great White Shark, Breaching White Shark, Tiger Shark, Bull Shark, Lemon Shark, Sharks, Sea birds, Underwater photos from all Oceans and of the Nature, Wilderness and the Bears of Alaska
Kauai Menu Magazine
The Garden Isle's premier Dining, Shopping, Entertainment, Activity, Accommodation and Travel guide.
Bootleg Trading Post
new york metal band - ionize
ionize is a metal band from new york. this site is dedicated to bringing the music,the feeling and the art of ionize to you
Given some of the examples that I have posted in reviews of other directories, if this is the worst I could find, that says something good about the directory.
Overall, while I may disagree with some of the standards that are in place at the AMRAY directory, such as the maximum number of characters allowable in a description, I will concede that the AMRAY staff follows its own guidelines fairly well. Nevertheless, it is my strong opinion that the old standard of skimpy sentence fragments needs to give way to longer, more descriptive, grammatically correct sentences used in site descriptions.
I had no trouble doing a scan of the directory with my Scrutiny program, which as not been the case with some other directories. There is a fairly low percentage of bad links, and none that I came across during my review.
The search feature in AMRAY works well.
Usefulness - 18/25
There is a lot of overlapping in the usefulness section of my reviews, as so many of the issues that come up under quality, content, usefulness and, in some cases, even aesthetics, might have an effect on the directory's usefulness.
For example, the AMRAY directory has enough content to be useful, but this is hampered somewhat by shallow categorization, which would force a user to wade through several pages of listings within a category.
The fact that the AMRAY directory's in-site search works well, and that its server is a good one, are matters that fit under the quality of the directory, but they also effect its usefulness.
The lack of category descriptions was discussed under intuitiveness but this, too, is a matter of usefulness. If someone is interested enough to browse a web directory's categories and subcategories, it would be nice to offer an informative category description.
These are things that we've discussed earlier, under other areas of the evaluation, but they come into play here, as well.
However, under the topic of usefulness, we also look at other things that a directory has to offer. In this case, AMRAY offers meta, SEO and travel tools, area codes broken down by state and province. There are MP3 downloads, a web TV directory, and other resources, including domain registration and web hosting. This is all content, and we may find that directories will have to offer more than outgoing directory links in order to remain relevant.
Overall Rating - 76%
After evaluation of the AMRAY directory, I have given it a rating of seventy-six percent.
As I review web directories, whether for a formal review in Web Directory Reviews Org, or for the purpose of listing them in the WDR Directory of Directories, I cannot help but maintain a mental list of which directories I would consider to be among the good guys, as opposed to those which are moving in the wrong direction or not moving at all.
At times, I come across a directory that doesn't do so well in my review, but in which, I come to believe, at least, that the directory administrator wants to do a good job of it, although the product may not yet be there.
At other times, I have come across directories that rate well by the shear volume of content that is provided, but which are not well maintained or have become stagnant.
The AMRAY directory isn't any of these, although, in my mental notation, they are one of the good guys. The AMRAY directory is doing a pretty good job at what they do and, while I may disagree with some of what they do, I would not accuse them of being lax.
In my opinion, and that's all that a review really is, after all, the AMRAY directory would be well served if it were to further subcategorize some of its categories that consist of several pages of site listings. Rather than having seven pages of listings within one category, dividing them up into subcategories would be a plus. In some cases, that cannot be easily done, but in many cases it can, and I believe that this is the most significant improvement that could be made to the directory.
Category descriptions would be my next recommendation. Not skimpy descriptions, intended to tell site submitters what does or does not go into a category, but well written, informative, and unique descriptions that will add content and value to the directory.
Some very good web directories use the old skimpy, sentence-fragment model for site descriptions, but I truly believe that everyone is well served with longer, more descriptive descriptions.
The rest of what I mentioned is no big deal. I can turn my sound down while I'm on your index page if I have to, and I can easily live with the right sidebar ads, particularly since they are not third-party ads.
If I were to include tags for good guys and bad guys, AMRAY would be among the good guys in the web directory industry.