Skaffe

The Skaffe directory was reviewed for Web Directory Reviews Org on March 21, 2014.

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This will be my second review of Skaffe. Each quarter, twenty directories are reviewed: the top ten directories from the previous quarter, as well as ten additional directories. Skaffe was first reviewed in December, our fourth quarter of reviews for 2013, and it came in number nine, so I'll be looking at it again.

Skaffe first appears in the Internet Archive on October 26, 2003, so it is younger than some, but older than many of the directories on the Internet, and in my top ten.

Its index page has a Google PageRank of four and, while I have not looked through all of its categories, its second-level pages rank between two and four, and its third-level pages are mostly zero, but I have seen a couple of them with a PageRank of three. One thing that I have noticed, with Google's most recent update, is that PageRank can skip a level or two, only to show up again in a lower-level page with content.

In other words, previously, while reviewing directories, I would see a successive diminution of PageRank, which would decrease level by level. Now, while this is still most often the case, I sometimes see pages, at the second or third levels, with low PageRank, or none at all, only to find PageRank in some of their subcategories. There seems to be a move toward basing PageRank on the amount of content that a page has, rather than how many levels it is from the root.

Overall though, I'll remind you that Google has deprecated its PageRank, and rarely updates its public PageRank. While it's nice to have a metric to look at, I don't know that Google PageRank is a reliable metric any longer, if it ever was.

Also unreliable is the Alexa Traffic Rank, as one person, with the Alexa toolbar installed, can improve the rank of his own site considerably. Several people could make all the difference in the world and, while I haven't looked, I'm sure there are automated processes as well. Anyhow, I doubt that Skaffe is using any of these mechanisms, as its Alexa Traffic Rank is 66,200, which is okay but not spectacular.

Perhaps more reliable is Moz Domain Authority. With an eye on assuming the place that Google PageRank once held, Moz may be a more reliable indicator than Google PageRank, and less easily manipulated than Alexa Traffic Rank, but still heavily weighted, it seems, toward older sites, but I don't know that that's a bad thing. The Moz Domain Authority of Skaffe is 50/100, and the Page Authority of its index page is 58/100.

Skaffe has had 333 StumbleUpon stumbies, 38 Google+ clicks, 30 Twitter tweets, and 6 Facebook likes.

SEO metrics do not figure into my ratings, however. I am offering this information, as well as subscription data, for those who may be interested.

The fee that is requested for submissions is a one-time payment of $44.99. The payment of a fee does not guarantee inclusion into the directory but in the event that a submitted site is not accepted, all but a $10 processing fee will be returned. Skaffe accepts free submissions on weekends, from 6:00 p.m. Friday to 6:00 a.m. Monday (EDT), which is certainly worth remembering if you have a website to promote.

My directory reviews, however, are based on my assessment of five characteristics of the directory, with some weighted differently than others: aesthetics (10%), content (25%), intuitiveness (20%), quality (20%), and usefulness (25%). Additionally, I may distribute up to five additional points for useful features that are outside of those generally found in web directories.

Aesthetics - 7/10

Visually, the Skaffe directory brings Christmas to mind. A very colorful directory, the shear number of colors that are brought into use in the Skaffe directory should lead me to view it as being gaudy. Not counting black or white, there are at least eight or nine different colors or shades in play, but for some reason it doesn't look gaudy. For reasons that I am unsure of, not being a designer, the colors come together very well. It is an attractive directory

There is scarcely a hint of symmetry in its upper-level category name choices, however. By this, I mean that, in my opinion, directories look much nicer when their main menu consists of categories that are all of one word, two words, or two words separated by an ampersand. It's not a big thing, and I don't grade down considerably for the lack of it, but it does help with the visual appeal of a directory's main page. Skaffe's upper-level categories are a mixture of one word, two words, two words separated by an ampersand, two words separated by the full contraction, and three words.

Also, and I'm sure I mentioned this in my last review, in its Gov, Law & Politics category, "Government" is abbreviated, without the proper use of a period. Plus, the abbreviation is unnecessary, considering that another category in the same column, Computer/Internet Technology, takes up 28 characters, whereas Government, Law & Politics, if it were spelled out, would require only 26 characters.

One thing that I find particularly unappealing, wherever I see it, is the borrowed affectation of colorizing the category tree intended for children, or by the use of z's rather than s's. The Open Directory started this trend long ago when that directory decided to colorize "Kids" in its Kids and Teens category. I was a meta editor with the ODP at the time; I thought it was stupid then, and I still do.

Skaffe has taken it a step further, not only colorizing the entire category name, but spelling it as Kidz and Teenz. Worse, they have given it a light gray background, whereas the remainder of the directory menu has a white background. While Skaffe is still an attractive directory, it would look better if this were presented as a regular category, spelled correctly, and using the same font, color, and background as the remainder of the main menu.

I have not come across any third-party advertisements in the Skaffe directory, although its internal pages do include first-party and category advertisements.

Content - 16/25

I was able to scan the Skaffe directory, using Scrutiny, a Mac program, without difficulty. It determined 165,746 links, which include internal and navigational links, as well as outgoing directory links. It's not an accurate count of the number of site listings a directory has, but it is useful for the sake of comparison.

When I scanned Skaffe with Scrutiny last December, it found 165,351 links, so it has added 395 links in the past three months. However, in December, 21,341 links were flagged as bad links, whereas only 1,832 were flagged when I scanned the directory last night. Of these, many were not actually bad links.

As far as content goes, it seems that Skaffe is somewhere in the middle of the other directories in m top ten, some of which have topped out at 400,000 links. Other than in its regional tree, where there were several, I did not come across very many empty categories.

Intuitiveness - 18/20

Although their counterparts can be found in other directories, Skaffe's taxonomy is unique, which is to say that it hasn't been copied from the Open Directory Project, like so many others. At twenty-four, its upper-level menu is larger than most, but that's not a bad thing.

Its category name choices are intuitive, its organizational structure is solid, and the directory uses @links and above and below the line features for the benefit of its users.

I have some concern over its use of regional categories within its topical trees, and it seems that its use is unnecessary, and open to confusion. For example, although the directory has a Local & Regional tree, its Arts & Humanities and its Careers & Jobs trees also include regional subcategories, by different names. Arts & Humanities includes a Regional subcategory with three listed sites, while Careers & Jobs has a By Region subcategory with no listed sites. There is a reluctance among submitters to submit sites to regional category trees, so it seems counterproductive to duplicate regional categories within topical trees, although I can understand that it is sometimes tempting to do so.

There are also directories categories scattered throughout Skaffe's directory trees. In other directories, I have found that this encourages directory operators to submit their site to inappropriate categories, where they are often accepted. However, in the Skaffe directory I have not found even one of these directory sites to be misplaced. While I have no doubt that directory operators are submitting their directories to inappropriate categories, based on SEO concerns, it seems that Skaffe's staff is doing an excellent job of rerouting them prior to acceptance, so that is not a problem.

While being submitted to the directory, sites representing brick and mortar locations may include either a post code or a zip code, which is searchable, and that is a helpful feature.

Quality - 15/20

Unfortunately, Skaffe uses the sentence fragment model for site descriptions. Commonly used in the web directory industry, this came about at a time when many Internet users were on dial-ups and resources were at a premium. It has been quite awhile since either of these were major concerns, so it makes little sense to accept less than grammatically correct sentences and descriptions that are truly descriptive.

I wouldn't expect that a directory of more than a thousand links would take on the job of changing each of its listings to accommodate a new standard, but it does not seem unreasonable to establish a new standard, and to apply it to new listings.

At the very least, the same standards should be applied to a directory that the directory applies to sites that are submitted to it. While reviewing a site submitted to a directory, we expect that the site will use grammatically correct sentences, and that its content be useful in some manner. It doesn't make sense to require so much less of the content provided on a web directory.

I do not, however, see misspellings or the use of promotional language in descriptions, and most of Skaffe's descriptions are reasonably descriptive.

Usefulness - 18/25

There are much larger directories, but Skaffe has easily enough content to be useful as a directory. Additionally, its content is well arranged, and sites are listed in appropriate categories. Its in-site search works well and, as I have mentioned elsewhere, the ability to search on post codes or zip codes is a plus.

The addition of category descriptions would be a significant improvement in the Skaffe directory. Again, if we expect that submitted sites contain content, we should endeavor to provide as much content as we can in our directories. Category descriptions can be a resource to directory users and submitters, as well as providing textual content for the purpose of search engine optimization.

Extra Credit - 2

Apart from its main directory, Skaffe maintains a blog directory and a Facebook directory. There is also a feature that allows submitters to check the status of a URL that has been submitted to the directory.

Overall Rating - 76%

After reviewing the Skaffe directory on March 21, 2014, I have rated it at seventy-six percent.

Comments

With its policy of free weekend submissions, Skaffe is taking appropriate steps to increase the amount of quality content that it can provide. Unlike some directories that advertise free submissions but seldom, if ever, accept sites that are submitted without payment of a fee, Skaffe does review sites submitted, on weekends, for free. I have had a few sites accepted into the directory through that route.

Skaffe is a reputable directory. Not only is a listing in the Skaffe directory helpful for the purpose of search engine optimization, but I have received direct traffic through my listings in Skaffe.

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