The Aviva Directory is a general web directory with 15 main categories and many second and third level subcategories. The site was launched in 2005 so it has had time to incubate in the search engines and build quality links, many without asking as this directory is quite popular.
There are several issues with the design of this directory that rubbed me the wrong way. First, the color scheme is very difficult on the eyes. White text on two shades of grey plus yellow text on grey is difficult to read and scan easily. Of course, some people may disagree and think the site is lovely! I say this because I see many dark sites with light text on the internet. Someone must like them, right? Second, the title on the homepage lists the word "directory" twice and immediately suggests to "add Url or add site to submit..." This is just too much advertising for the home page of a directory.
In fact, it seems the "add Url..." is attached to every title in this site. This is entirely too much! Third, the grammar on some of the pages such as the "about us" page trips me up while reading it. However, I will admit the whimsical woman with the wild hair is fun. It is named after the site owner's wife. Aviva means spring and the whimsical woman graphic is supposed to represent that.
Having said the negative comments above, I do want to emphasize the positives as well. This is a directory were the sites are very carefully picked. If a site is submitted and it doesn't cut the mustard, the fee is kept but the site is not listed and this fact is made very clear on the site which discourages low quality sites from even applying. Many directories say they do this but most actually don't do it at all or the site has to be so egregious to be declined it rarely happens. I believe this is not true for this particular directory. They used to refund the money but they no longer do so.
A certain standard is maintained with all listings. The rules are clearly spelled out and they seem to adhere to them very strictly.
Also, Aviva staff actively go out in search of quality sites to add to their directory that don't pay to be listed. Therefore, many of their listings are not paid listings. This is refreshing and makes the directory much more useful to the end user and much less skewed toward certain categories like real estate that are known to be willing to pay. This directory also seems to take the time to go back and check on sites after they have been listed to make sure they are still in compliance with the rules and delete them if not.
Also on the positive side, once my eyes adjusted, I was able to see that this directory is actually organized fairly well. I still prefer a more straightforward layout but this directory does have the second and third level subcategories clearly laid out and each subcategory page has a linked pathway at the top of the page in case you want to work your way back. I will also say that some of their "readings" and "additional readings" along the right side of the page and at the bottom are definitely worth a read. Some are even entertaining if you are looking for a quick mental break from your computer work.
The price is a little high for this directory compared to other directories. It is $149.95 for a permanent listing or $49.95 for a one year listing. Blogs must be listed in their blog directory, not their web directory. Given the price, I hesitate to giving a ringing endorsement to list your site in this directory.
If you have a good budget and can afford it, I would recommend this one. However, if it is stretch to afford it, I'd recommend waiting. Also, keep in mind that a BOTW listing and other very well known directories cost less than this directory so I'd recommend listing with them first and listing in this one if you have money left over in your budget.