JoeAnt

On Wednesday, September 17 and Thursday, September 18, the JoeAnt directory was evaluated for Web Directory Reviews Org.

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Along with GoGuides, JoeAnt is another of the directories that began when Go.com shut down its widely popular volunteer-driven web directory. JoeAnt has been in our top ten since I first reviewed it in February of 2013. During the first quarter of reviews, it came in #5. Under widely different review criteria, it came #8 in the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2013, as well as in the first quarter of 2014, but in the second quarter of 2014, it was our #6 directory.

JoeAnt has a Google PageRank of five, at the index page, and its index pages have rank as well. Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 25,188. Its Moz Domain Authority is 59/100, Page Authority 66/100, Page MozRank 6.68, and Page MozTrust 5.94. Its Majestic Trust Flow is 57, and its Citation Flow is 53.

If you've read any of the reviews that I've done for Web Directory Reviews Org, you'll know that I try to evaluate each directory from the perspective of a directory editor, rating them in five areas: aesthetics (10%), size (25%), intuitiveness (20%), quality (20%), and usefulness (25%), with up to five extra points for extra content.

Aesthetics - 7/10

JoeAnt is inviting, perhaps because I have a fondness for pastels. If its main menu were centered inside its box rather than left-justified, that would be an improvement. The upper-level category names are asymmetrical, including a combination of one word, two words, and two words combined with an ampersand. However, the amount of white space between categories is such that it ameliorates the effect. Its internal pages include two Google AdSense advertising banners, but there is no advertising on its index page. Overall, it's a nice looking directory that is easy on the eyes.

Size - 16/25

The size of a directory is estimated by scanning each directory with a program called Scrutiny, which determines the number of total links found on the domain, sans subdomains. Since this includes navigational and other internal links, this number may be significantly higher than the actual number of outgoing directory links but since every directory is evaluated by the same method, it is useful for comparisons.

This quarter, I am calculating a rating in this area that is, in part, based on the age of the directory. JoeAnt is about thirteen years old. Scrutiny found 155,966 links during its scan of the directory. That is approximately 12,000 per year. Interestingly, they have added 16,407 links since I last reviewed JoeAnt about three months ago. Please see the review criteria for this quarter for information about the ratings assigned to this area of the assessment.

Intuitiveness - 18/20

JoeAnt's taxonomy is intuitive. The directory does not use @links or above or below the line capabilities, but it does include See Also links. There are some empty categories but, interestingly, when there are no sites listed within a category, JoeAnt returns search results from keywords related to the category name, so the casual browser may not even realize that the category is empty. While I'd rather see sites listed in every category, that's sort of a nice touch.

For the most part, sites are placed in appropriate categories. I've come across a few that I'd move elsewhere but choosing the most appropriate category is not an exact science, and there have been times when my own opinions have changed from one month to the next. I think it's fair to say that users will find what they might expect to find when they click into a category.

JoeAnt editors tag sites with from one to three stars, based on content, usability, and appearance. Within each category, sites are sorted according to these ratings, with three-star sites appearing first, and so on. Within each classification, sites are listed alphabetically. I'm getting to like the idea, although it is limited according to the care in which the editor has made his or her choices.

When sites are added to the directory, editors will also record whether the site includes audio, video, chat, downloads, games, or a shopping area, as well as whether membership is required or if it is owned by a JoeAnt editor. These features are also displayed within the site listing, and will appear on search results.

Searches return reasonable results on one-word searches but not so good on multiple-word searches, although enclosing the search phrase in quotation marks leads to better results.

Quality 16/20

As was the case with the Go.com directory that spawned the original group of JoeAnt editors, and most of the other directories on the Internet, JoeAnt uses sentence fragments, and they don't allow more than thirty words so descriptions tend to be sparse. Within those confines, site descriptions are reasonable, and the JoeAnt staff does a good job of excluding promotional language and spam from site titles and descriptions. I'd rather see lengthier, more descriptive, descriptions but JoeAnt does a pretty good job of it, nevertheless. I came across some listings that used the domain as the site title but, for the most part, titles are appropriately listed in JoeAnt.

Significantly, from looking through the sites that are included in the directory it is clear that JoeAnt's volunteer editors have sought out and added the majority of the sites that are in the directory, seeding categories. As compared to directories that list only those sites that are submitted for paid consideration, editor-added sites add more value to the site.

Everything works as it should in JoeAnt. Everything that I click leads me to something that I might expect to find. Sites are listed in appropriate categories, and the directory is up-to-date.

Scrutiny did find quite a few bad links, however, and I spot-checked several of them.

Usefulness 16/25

JoeAnt is not as large as most of the directories in our top ten, some of which have in excess of 500,000 links, but it's not the smallest either, and the majority of its links have been added by its volunteer staff, and are of good quality.

Its topical categories are largely devoid of empty categories, but its regional (By Region) categories could certainly stand some beefing up. Bear in mind, however, that JoeAnt's By Region category differs from regional categories in many other directories in that it is intended to house only those sites that serve a specific region exclusively. Still, a user growing its By Region categories would probably be let down by its sparse content in that part of the directory.

Unfortunately, there are no category descriptions in JoeAnt, which I view as perhaps its major failing. Category descriptions are a standard feature in every web directory script that I am aware of, and well written category descriptions can add a great deal of value to a directory, as well as providing an aid to directory users and site submitters. Uniquely authored descriptions can add content to be spidered by search engines, as well.

Extra Content - 3

Second to DMOZ, JoeAnt may be the most successful volunteer-driven web directory still in operation, and it takes a lot of work to manage a volunteer organization of any kind, I know, because I have been involved with many. Their top editors can be viewed from the site, and anyone is invited to apply to become a volunteer editor with the JoeAnt directory. Another thing that I particularly appreciate about JoeAnt is its rating system, combined with its feature system, where editors will flag various features on a website. Although I think that I criticized its rating system during one of my earlier reviews, I am learning to appreciate it.

Overall Rating - 76%

Based on my evaluation of the JoeAnt directory on Wednesday, September 17 and Thursday, September 18, 2014, I have rated it at seventy-six percent.

Comments

I am not certain whether its rating of 76% will be sufficient for JoeAnt to have a place in our top ten this quarter, although I haven't counted them up on my fingers yet, and I still have a couple of directories to review before I can calculate the totals for this quarter, anyhow. The chief reason why JoeAnt performed more poorly this quarter than it did last quarter is that a change was made to the size section of our review criteria since last quarter, which cost JoeAnt a few points, this despite the fact that the directory is much larger this quarter than last.

Whether JoeAnt continues to hold a place in our top ten this quarter or not, it remains a fine directory, and one that I am proud to have some of my websites listed in. In my opinion, its greatest failing is the fact that there are no category descriptions. Other than that, as long as they continue to add sites as they have been, any size deficiencies will diminish.

Personally, I am rooting for JoeAnt to continue to hold a position in our top ten, and I think that it will, but it will probably be close.

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