History and Analysis of JoeAnt

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From the Ashes of Disney's Go.com Volunteer-Edited Directory

When the Disney company decided it no longer had any use for its troop of Go Guide volunteers, many of them decided to find ways to continue organizing the Internet. One group of former Go Guide volunteers banded together to start JoeAnt, a volunteer-edited directory with many unique features, and a very relaxed attitude.

C. J. Newton from SEO Logic® interviewed one of the founders of JoeAnt in January of 2003. Jump to our interview with JoeAnt about JoeAnt’s history and culture.

Submitting websites to JoeAnt can be done in two ways. The easiest way is to use the JoeAnt Speed Pass system, in which you are charged a one time fee of $39.99 for an expidited review (2 days) of your submission.

You may also submit sites to JoeAnt for free by volunteering to become an editor. The process is painless and quite easy. You simply provide some personal information, choose a top-level category, and you are given an Ant Hill. From your Ant Hill, you can submit sites in any subcategory of your top-level category. Each submission is reviewed by a higher-level editor. As your sites are accepted, you gain more points and work your way up to more priveleges and duties. There is no test. There are no qualifications or minimum work requirements. You must simply promise to follow the JoeAnt Terms of Service and Editorial Guidelines and submit sites when you can.

n general, JoeAnt is a fun and relaxed place to volunteer some of your spare time and knowledge.

A Different Kind of Directory

When discussing the specific features of JoeAnt, the obvious benchmark comparison to the Open Directory will always apply. For the record, JoeAnt is smaller than DMOZ, and it doesn’t have the long-term reputation of DMOZ or the relationships with other portals and search engines. The future will tell whether or not JoeAnt can develop the kinds of relationships that have given the Open Directory the distribution it now has.

Websites added to both directories are treated in a very similar fashion when it comes to basic standards for inclusion and the crafting of titles and descriptions. Both refuse to list affiliates and mirrors, and insist on holding sites to the standard of “unique content.” You can expect to find good titles and descriptions of listed sites either by browsing the directory or using the search engine. One advantage that JoeAnt has is that all the sites added to JoeAnt have been added recently (since it is such a young directory). Don’t expect to find pages and pages of outdated links on JoeAnt. In addition, the standards at JoeAnt are very consistent, so you can expect to find a well-written title and description for almost EVERY site listed. Because DMOZ has been around for much longer, and has gone through many changes, you will find many inconsistencies there. Not so with JoeAnt.

JoeAnt definitely stands apart when you consider the search function of the directory, and it is clear that JoeAnt is intended to be searched, not to feed other portals and search engines, though that is an option in JoeAnt’s future. In this way it is quite different from either DMOZ or the Zeal directory, which used to feed LookSmart.

Unique to JoeAnt are the editor quality ratings – every site is rated on a scale of 1-3, and the rating influences the search results. Finally, the JoeAnt directory and search results provide a unique system for showing the user what kinds of advanced features are available on the sites in the results. Next to each site in the directory is a graph indicating whether the site offers the following: Audio, Chat, Downloads, Editor Site, Games, Membership, Shopping, and Video. This of course saves room in the description and provides an easy comparison of site by site features. Next to each listing is also the editor’s quality rating, shown by the presence of one, two, or three dark red bars (three is best). Finally, next to each listing is the username of the editor which reviewed the site, although that is not clickable at this time.

JoeAnt Directory Search Engine Analysis

URL:
http://www.joeant.com/

FREE ADD URL:
Find the appropriate category and click on the “Suggest a Site” link which appears at the top and bottom of every category page. You will have to become an editor in order to submit your site for free, but that shouldn’t stop you!

Read this first, and if you’re thinking of volunteering, start here, then fill out this JoeAnt editor application.

THE KEY:
Bring your enthusiasm to the project. There’s plenty of room for those willing to help out.

DIRECTORY:
The JoeAnt Directory is a human-edited directory. As an editor, you can submit commercial and non-commercial sites for free.

AFFILIATE AND MLM SITES:
The JoeAnt Directory, like the Open Directory, does not add affiliate sites or MLM sites. In essence, affiliate Web pages are simply doorways through to ecommerce sites.

SEARCH RESULTS:
JoeAnt search results come from its own directory listings. The results are derived from the titles, descriptions, and quality ratings of the sites listed. The rating scheme is as follows: 1 (Good), 2 (Worth the Trip), 3 (Must Visit!).

The JoeAnt search engine does not offer much in the way of advanced capabilities at this time. For example, searching for a specific phrase in quotes does not work. Standard Boolean searching does not work. Here’s an unusual example: searching for cichlids yields one results whereas searching for cichlid yeilds no results.

However, the JoeAnt search engine is scheduled to be replaced in the near future, and will allow Boolean searching.

RELATIONSHIPS:
Currently JoeAnt does not share its directory or search engine with any other portal. However, when a search fails to match a specific JoeAnt listing, the results page presents you with the option to try your search on Yahoo!, AOL, Google, MSN, and Gimpsy (another new kid on the block).

TOOLS:
JoeAnt Terms of Service
Editorial Guidelines
Suggest a Site
<atarget=”_blank” href=”http://www.joeant.com/editor_application.html”>Become an Editor
Recent JoeAnt Searches