On February 18 and 19, 2013, I reviewed the JoeAnt web directory, and gave it sixty-five out of a possible one hundred points.
Web Directory Review of: JoeAnt

Aesthetics - 3/5

The JoeAnt web directory is simple, but pleasant enough. The logo is cute, yet unobtrusive, and the apricot graphics on the white background work very well together. In fact, the choice of text colors is very good. The main screen fits in one window easily, and I like that. As a matter of aesthetics rather than taxonomy, one suggestion I would make is that, since eight out of their fifteen top-level categories consist of two words, I would try to find a way to either make them all two words, or to make them all one word. As I said, as a matter of taxonomy, it doesn't really matter but the aesthetics would be good.

Taxonomy - 7/10

JoeAnt's top-level categories are familiar but I don't believe they have been copied verbatim from anyone. Apart from its fifteen topical categories, separate trees for Weblogs, By Region, and Independent Business Affiliates can be accessed in drop-down tabs just below the main menu, which is a nice effect. Many of the categories that I clicked into don't go very deep but, if they were to have to sites to warrant a deeper category structure, the system is in place for it. Some of the topical categories were quite deep, while its regional tree was shallow and without much substance. Apart from subcategories, where appropriate, JoeAnt uses "See Also" links pointing to related categories, which is a nice touch. I've seen it in other directories, such as the Open Directory Project and Best of the Web, but it's a touch that demonstrates that the directory is intended to be used by real people looking for information, rather than as a repository for paid back links.

Quality Control -7/10

Browsing the JoeAnt categories, I can see that there is a mixture of editing styles and lengths, as I would expect, mostly using the industry standard, which utilizes sentence fragments rather than complete sentences, but I came across very few that I would consider bad, and a larger percentage that are quite good. JoeAnt uses a staff of volunteer editors. When someone becomes a new editor, their edits are approved by a more experienced editor for a time, so there are some checks and balances in the directory's quality control methods. Additionally, to the right of each listing, one can see which editor reviewed the site, listed by editor name.

Maintenance - 8/10

While browsing the JoeAnt directory, I didn't come across any empty categories, nor did I find any dead links, so I would have to surmise that either they use an automated process to detect dead links or they are doing a pretty job of maintaining the directory.

Google Page Rank - 7/10

The Google Page Rank of the main page of the JoeAnt directory is 6. Most of its second-level categories have a GPR of 4, and third-level categories have a GPR that ranges from 0-2. Based on my assessment criteria, I am assigning one extra point to its main-level page rank.

Alexa Traffic Rank - 3/5

JoeAnt's Alexa Traffic Rank is 25,359.

SEO Ranking - 2/5

Its SEMRush Rank is 688,710. Its SEMRush Search Traffic is 308. Majestic SEO is 1,179,826, and 104,000 pages of JoeAnt are indexed in Google. On a search of "web directory" in Google, Bing and Yahoo, JoeAnt does not show up in the first ten pages of results.

Directory Content - 5/10

One fact that can be expected in a volunteer-driven web directory is that some category trees are going to be much better developed than others, as volunteer editors focus on areas of personal interest. There are editors who thoroughly enjoy fleshing out regional trees, I know, as I am one. JoeAnt doesn't seem to have much of a focus in its regional tree, as it is very shallow, and without very many listed sites. However, many of its topical categories are very well done, as much as eight or nine categories deep, and without any empty ones that I have come across. It is also clear that editors have been adding sites on their own rather than simply reviewing paid submissions.

SEO Content - 1/5

SEO content, as used here, refers to content outside of the categories and site listings that might attract search engine spiders. There isn't much in the way of textual articles in JoeAnt, but a brief history of the project is presented, along with information on becoming an editor, and a FAQ. They do highlight listings that were added yesterday, which might give them a bump as far as any search engine spiders that might come along while they were listed there might go.

Cost for Review - 8/10

There is only one type of external submission, and that requires a one-time fee of $39.99. The payment of the fee does not ensure that the submission will be accepted for inclusion in the directory, or that it will retain the submitted site title and description. Submitted listings will be reviewed by an editor and edited, if necessary, to comply with the directory's submission guidelines. One additional way that JoeAnt suggests, as a means of having your site submitted to the directory, is to register to become an editor. I would hope that those who choose that route would stick around and add some content to the directory in repayment.

Reputable Practices - 10/10

I am aware of nothing that would suggest otherwise in the JoeAnt web directory. True, webmasters are encouraged to register to become an editor in order to add their sites to the directory, but ownership of listings added by a volunteer editor with JoeAnt must be divulged, and content added by new editors is reviewed by a senior editor, so I see nothing untoward in that.

Extra Credit - 4/10

JoeAnt is one of the few volunteer web directory projects still active. I don't know if the Open Directory Project is still adding editors or if anyone is alive there anymore, but many of its categories haven't been updated in as long as six or seven years. JoeAnt is an active directory, staffed by volunteers. It appears that, as is often the case, the bulk of the work is done by a relatively small percentage of the volunteers, but they are to be commended. The JoeAnt directory highlights its top editors, by editor name, and I can see a couple of names there that I think I recognize from the ODP.

Overall Rating - 65/100

Upon my review of the JoeAnt web directory, I have assessed it sixty-five out of a possible one hundred points.


As always, I should mention that the seemingly low score of 65 is not really as low as it might seem. I know, when you were in school, a grade of 65 would not be a passing grade, but on this assessment it is. Without looking over each of the other directories that I have reviewed thus far, I believe there aren't more than a few that scored higher, and I don't think any of them have scored seventy. I'll rework the assessment criteria after this first round of reviews but, meanwhile, sixty-five isn't bad.

I strongly encourage anyone who want to learn what the web directory business is all about to register to become an editor at JoeAnt, and give them an hour or so out of your day, each day, helping to build up their directory content. I don’t know if JoeAnt maintains an internal discussion forum for its editors or, if so, whether it would be as lively as the ODP forums once were, but there is a sense of belonging that can be found while working for a volunteer project such as this that should not be discounted.


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