Skaffe calls itself the Skaffe Local and Regional Website Directory. However, it seems to actually be more of a hybrid between a general website directory and a local directory. On its homepage, it lists general categories first, and then lower on the homepage, it provides links to the various geographical regions of the world. Skaffe seems to be much stronger as a general website directory than it does a local directory. This site was launched in 2003 and it does appear to be relatively mature with only 2 empty secondary subcategories that I could find.
Skaffe's site design is very simple and easy to navigate. The text on the site is mostly dark colors against a white background with the navigation menu being white text on a dark background. This contrast between the text and the background makes the site very easy to read, unlike many other directories. My only gripe about Skaffe's design is how much empty ad space they seem to have. It is a bit distracting.
There are two search options presented at the top of the page. One is a keyword search and the other is a zip code search. While I really like the idea of being able to search by zip code, when I tested this feature it did not work well. I started with the famous 90210 zip code for Beverly Hills California. I only got 2 matches, a lawyer office and a shoe place. Next, I tried 10012, the zip code for Greenwich Village in Manahattan New York. I got only one match, another shoe place! Then I tried 60601, a zip code right in the heart of Chicago, Illinois. I got only one match, a fax service. I tried various other zip codes with similar results so my conclusion is that while the zip code search is a great idea, much more work needs to be done to make it a useful service.
In contrast to the zip code search, the general search returns a good smattering of relevant results, even when searching for geographic terms. A search for "Beverly Hills Ca" returned 38 relevant sites and 1 relevant subcategory link. A search for "Manhattan, NY" (and all variations such as "Manhattan New York City") returned 53 relevant sites and 2 relevant subcategory links. A search for "Chicago Il" returned 206 site results and 2 relevant subcategory links. I also tried a variety of keyword searches and was impressed with the list of relevant sites and subcategory links that were generated.
Skaffe states that the majority of its listings are those from free submissions and from unsolicited editor picks. However, they also offer an expedited guaranteed review with a 24 hour turn around for $44.99. They emphasize that this does not guarantee inclusion. However, they take an approach to declined sites that I have not seen on other directories. It's sort of a middle of the road approach and it seems like a good compromise to me. While most directories refuse to refund any of the review fee if a site is declined, Skaffe states it will retain $10 as a processing fee and refund the rest.
Skaffe also does something else that is a bit different than other directories. They only accept requests for free reviews on the weekends! This seems like a good idea to cut down on the number, as directories that accept free submissions can easily get overwhelmed with requests, but they still give a chance for sites to submit their site for a free review and possible inclusion. Of course, the processing time on a free submission is much longer, potentially even months.