Can anyone point me to a resource online that gives the dates of when the big directories like Zeal, Joeant and Goguides went online, been looking around and cant seem to find anything, also if any history of the directories would be a great help :)
So I guess you know about GnuHoo/NewHoo/ODP which has just passed it's fifth birthday?
Zeal seems to date from about spring 2000. A trawl of Google groups indicates that originally editors could earn charitable donations by editing, sounds like a good dot.com plan! Taken over by Looksmart in 2001. GoGuides and JoeAnt are quite new too.
Google Groups is great for finding timelines like that. It'll allow you to find approximate launch dates and people involved.
JoeAnt.com was opened for the public on May 24 2001. We had an Anniversary Contest last May to celebrate that ;-) Staff members started about a half year earlier (immediately after Disney closed Go.com) with setting up the directory tree. Also a few thousand of sites were added. See for more info www.seologic.com/search-engines/joeant-history.php.