JoeAnt

On Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14, 2013, I evaluated the JoeAnt web directory, and have assigned it a rating of seventy-three percent.

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Online since 2001, the JoeAnt web directory first appears in the Internet Archive on March 2, 2001. The directory was formed by former Go.com editors after Disney closed that directory in December of 1999, and is one of only a few remaining active volunteer-driven directories.

JoeAnt has been in our top ten since Web Directory Reviews Org began evaluating web directories in the first quarter of this year. It came in number two during our first quarter of reviews, number six in the second quarter, and number eight in the fourth quarter.

The Google PageRank of JoeAnt's index page is five, having lost one point in Google's most recent update. Second-level pages have a PageRank of four, and the third-level pages that I looked at had a PageRank of from zero to three. Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 23,470, and its Moz Domain Authority is 64/100, while the Page Authority of its index page is 70/100. JoeAnt has had 21 Google+ clicks, 19 Facebook likes, 36 Twitter tweets, and 118 StumbleUpon stumbies.

The nonrefundable monetary fee for submitting a site to the directory is $39.99, as a one-time payment. Alternatively, site owners are encouraged to apply to become an editor, as editors can submit their own sites, in accordance with directory guidelines. Subpages or subdomains are not permitted without prior approval.

The above information is published here for the benefit of those who may be interested in submitting a site to the JoeAnt directory. For the purposes of this evaluation, I will try to view the directory from the perspective of a potential directory user, however; rating it in five areas of assessment. These are aesthetics (10%), content (25%), intuitiveness (20%), quality (20%), and usefulness (25%). The criteria that I use is published to the site. Since the criteria changes from quarter to quarter, the criteria used during each quarter is archived.

Aesthetics - 6/10

JoeAnt is an attractive directory, simple but elegant, in its way. However, while there is no third-party advertising on its index page, the directory's subpages have two banner ads, one between the subcategory menu and site listings, and another beneath the site listings.

The directory has fifteen upper-level topical categories, arranged in three columns of five each. Category name length is asymmetrical, but this is alleviated by the white space between columns. Beneath the topical category menu are links to its weblog directory, its by region directory, and its affiliate program.

Content - 17/25

Last night, I scanned the JoeAnt directory using Scrutiny, a program that determines, among other things, how many links are contained within a site. In the JoeAnt directory, Scrutiny found 162,631 links, which includes navigational and other internal links, as well as outgoing directory links.

JoeAnt's regional tree is not well populated. In its United States category, there are only a few cities listed beneath its state categories. However, the "By Region" tree in JoeAnt serves a different purpose than the regional trees in most general directories, in that it is intended to house only those sites that serve only a specific region.

While I cannot state that there are none, I didn't come across any empty categories in its topical categories.

Intuitiveness - 17/20

JoeAnt's upper-level categories are fairly standard, and easy enough to understand. Since its subcategory structure differs significantly from directories that I am more familiar with, I have some trouble finding my way around but its choice of category names is reasonable, and the organization is fine, so I suppose it's just a matter of familiarity. The directory includes "See Also" links, which can be helpful in guiding directory users to similar categories in other trees. I don't see any use of @links but the taxonomy doesn't seem to suffer for the lack of them.

Quality - 13/20

When I scanned JoeAnt yesterday, using Scrutiny, it flagged 10,801 links as being bad. Approximately one quarter of these were timeouts, which may or may not actually be bad links, since a lot of things can cause a timeout. Some of the others may not have actually been bad links either, but all of those that I checked were bad. These included 400, 401, 403, and 404 errors, as well as those that returned the prompt: A server with the specified hostname could not be found. While not all of these links are necessarily bad, I believe it's fair to say that there are quite a few bad links.

From the types and quality of sites listed in the JoeAnt directory, it is clear that the majority of its sites have been added by directory editors. Sites are placed in appropriate categories, as well.

Descriptions are brief, in many cases too brief, in my opinion, but the directory they are devoid of promotional language or misspellings. Like many of the older directories, and too many of the new ones as well, JoeAnt uses the sentence fragment model for site descriptions, in most cases, so they are not grammatically correct.

The directory includes clear guidelines which call for the use of proper site titles, yet many of its listings substitute the domain name for the site title.

Usefulness - 18/25

The JoeAnt directory certainly has sufficient content to be useful to a directory user, and the quality of its content is very good, overall. There are few, if any, empty categories.

The use of category descriptions and longer, more descriptive, site descriptions would be an improvement, not only enhancing the usability of the directory but it would serve as content for the purpose of search engine optimization, as well.

The directory's search works very well, but more informative site descriptions would improve upon this even more.

The directory uses a rating system, whereby directory rates listed sites with one, two or three stars, based on a senior editor's assessment of the quality of the site, not, to my understanding, the business, product, or issue that the site represents. Within a category, sites are listed according to this rating, with the three-star sites listed first.

While I can understand that this feature might detract somewhat from the usability of the directory, in that useful sites might not be seen because an editor didn't like the color choices or some other facet of the site, assigning it only one star, I believe that it probably adds more than it detracts from the usefulness of the directory.

Extra Credit - 1

As perhaps the most active volunteer-driven web directory on the Internet today, I am going to give JoeAnt an extra credit point. Although I can certainly appreciate the value in directory's that have the resources to employ a crew of paid editors, I am also aware of the challenges in managing a volunteer project of any kind. I began my career in web directories as a volunteer with the Open Directory Project, in its early days, and also volunteered as an editor with Go.com and Zeal before both of those directories closed, so I have an any idea as to what is involved.

Overall Rating - 73%

On Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14, 2013, I evaluated the JoeAnt web directory, and have assigned it a rating of seventy-three percent.

Comments

However it fares on my top ten list, JoeAnt is one of the better directories on the Internet. The use of informative category descriptions would be a major improvement, as would the phasing in of full, grammatically correct, sentences in site descriptions.

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