JoeAnt

As a result of my evaluation of the JoeAnt directory on June 18, 2013, I have given it a rating of 74%.

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Established in 2001, JoeAnt was one of the directories that came about after the Disney portal, Go.com, shut down its web directory, and one of only a few remaining active volunteer directories.

JoeAnt made it into our top ten last quarter, coming in at #5, behind Aviva Directory. Each quarter, the top ten directories from the previous quarter will be pitted against one another, as well as ten additional directories, and the evaluation criteria is subject to change between quarters.

We made significant changes to our criteria following the first quarter of 20013. Rather than evaluating web directories according to their value to site submitters and search engine optimization professionals, we decided to restrict our assessments to the value that a directory would have to a potential directory user.

Although we will look at some of the SEO statistics, these won't be used to establish a rating of the directory during the second quarter.

The main page of JoeAnt has a Google PageRank of 6. Without looking at every category, the second-level categories that I've looked at have a PageRank of 4, while its third-level categories range from 0-4. Approximately 3,750 of its pages have been indexed by Google.

Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 27,598, its SEMRush Rank is 1,550,141, and its SEMRush Search Traffic is 60. Its SEOmoz Page Authority is 74, and its MozRank is 6.59.

JoeAnt has had 118 StumbleUpon stumbles, 34 Twitter tweets, and 6 Google +1 clicks.

Submissions to the directory cost $39.99 as a one-time fee.

Our evaluations during the second quarter of 2013 will assess five general areas of performance, with some overlapping traits. These are aesthetics, content, intuitiveness, quality, and usefulness, each worth twenty percent. In addition, I am allowing myself up to five extra credit points, although I've been pretty stingy with them.

Aesthetics - 15%

JoeAnt uses a design that is simple yet effective. The basic blue and black text on a white background is complemented by an unobtrusive logo, with major sections divided by apricot or light blue lines, with all of its colors going well together.

The index page does not require scrolling, which is nice. There are fifteen top-level categories, separated into three columns of five categories each, with a blog directory and a regional tree set off below the main category menu, but easily accessible.

Top editors are highlighted in the right sidebar, along with a FAQ, and a history of the directory, with links to other pages in the footer.

All in all, its index page is attractive, with just the right amount of white space. Aesthetically, the only change I would suggest would be to decide whether its top-level category names are going to be one word only, or two words separated by an ampersand, and to use that consistently. As it is, seven of the fifteen use two words separated by an ampersand, seven are one word only, and one is two words. It's just a matter of symmetry which, in the case of the JoeAnt directory, is made less important by the amount of white space between the three columns.

The appearance of its subcategory pages is marred by banner advertising, at the top and at the bottom of the site listings. I understand that there are costs involved with running a web directory, even a volunteer web directory, but there is also a tradeoff involved in accepting advertising. In return for the revenue produced by advertising, the appearance of the directory is marred somewhat.

Content - 14%

Although not nearly as comprehensive as the Open Directory Project or Best of the Web, there are a reasonable amount of sites listed in the JoeAnt directory, and the majority of them appear to have been added by editors rather than submitted, as exhibited by the existence of many links to useful topics that are not likely to have been submitted to the directory.

As might be expected from a volunteer directory, some categories are far more complete than others, as editors concentrate on their areas of interest or access, and as some editors are more aggressive than others. Although I think it's improved somewhat since I last looked at it, the directory's regional tree could stand to be far better populated.

Intuitiveness - 17%

JoeAnt's category structure, or taxonomy, is easy enough to understand. I don't think anyone would find it difficult to navigate its categories and subcategories. The use of "See Also" links let users know about categories that may be related to the topic they are looking in.

Separating its regional (By Region) tree and blog directory from the main directory is also a nice effect, and not one that should confuse anyone.

Quality - 12%

Rather than simply spot-checking, this quarter I am running a link-checking program on directories that I am reviewing. The program, Scrutiny, tends to be quite aggressive, placing a temporary strain on the server so, on larger directories, I stop it once it has checked enough links to give me a feel for the percentage of bad links that it has found. In this case, after checking 63,814 links, Scrutiny found 1,340 that it identified as bad. Of those, roughly one-third were time-outs, which don't necessarily indicate a bad link since other things can result in a request timing out. The others were a mixture of 400 403, 404, or 500 errors, as well as those indicating that a server with the specified hostname could not be found. Of the bad links, most, if not all, were outgoing links.

Several of its listed links use the domain name rather than the site title, even when the site itself uses a title. For example:

eNewMall.com
Online marketplace for selling and buying of products including apparel, jewelry, watches, sports, electronics, toys and games, ditchenware and more.

The above site uses Enewmall to refer to itself, which looks silly to me, but not as bad as using the domain name as a title. Plus, I'll point out the typo - "ditchenware" should be "kitchenware."

Clothing.net
Offers quality but affordable clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, dresses, jeans, t-shirts, shirts, polo shirts, jackets, hoodies and accessories.

In the site above, the site title is presented as Clothing Net, rather than as a domain name.

Stanzino.com
Online clothing, jewelry, women's accessories and perfumes store. Also sells men's jeans and shirts.

The site title is Stanzino, not Stanzino.com.

Weplay.com
Social networking community for high school and youth sports. A place where players, coaches, parents, and fans can network.

The site uses Weplay, not the domain name.

Shinola®
About the passion to make watches, bicycles, and journals that are as beautiful as they are useful, and to make them right here in America.

I don't know why the registered trademark symbol is used here, as it isn't used in the site title.

Site descriptions use the sentence fragment model, which I don't like, but JoeAnt does it better than most. Although its descriptions are not grammatically correct, they are reasonably descriptive, with some exceptions.

I mentioned dead links under the content area. There are some dead outgoing links, but not an unreasonably large number of them.

Usefulness - 14%

Certainly, JoeAnt has enough good quality links to be useful as a web directory. Several of its areas could stand to be built up, but there is a reasonably good collection of sites on JoeAnt.

Extra Credit - 2

As far as I am aware, JoeAnt is the most active volunteer directory going. Although the Open Directory Project is still there, and still using volunteers, its activity level has been suspect for the past several years. The top editors at JoeAnt are highlighted, and an application to become a volunteer with JoeAnt is available from its front page.

Overall Rank - 74%

As a result of my evaluation of the JoeAnt directory on June 18, 2013, I have given it a rating of 74%.

Comments

It takes a lot of work to operate a volunteer organization effectively, and JoeAnt has accomplished that over several years now, while other directories have close or phased out their volunteer programs, or stagnated in the face of a decreasing roll of willing volunteers.

Does a directory deserve extra points for not paying their staff? I suppose that could be debated, but I gave them two extra points for that. However, I've given other directories extra points for other things that I've liked.

joeantjun2013

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