Zeal – Volunteer Built Web Directory

First launched in 1999, Zeal was a volunteer-built web directory which was bought by LookSmart for $20 million in October 2000. Combining the work from Looksmart’s paid editors with that of volunteers, they wrote profiles of websites and submitted them in relevant subcategories of the Zeal database.

The directory content was downloaded and used by Looksmart and its partners including MSN, Lycos and Altavista.

To become a Zeal volunteer, one needed to pass an introductory level test prior to submitting website profiles and being able to edit other people’s work. As one gained more experience and kudos, an editor was able to create and maintain special categories of interests. The more experienced editors called Zealots and Expert Zealots were responsible for developing community and assist those people called “Community Members”.

Zeal had volunteer members from all over the world including USA, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Spain, Switzerland, Japan and New Zealand. When MSN pulled from the relationship, Zeal’s traffic had declined considerably which lead to its closure on 28th March 2006.