The good folks at Hallam Internet have been sounding off on their blog about the UK Business Directory Scam and I can only support their warnings. Of course, most of us have been taken in by publishing and advertising scams at one time or another, and the perpetrators get away with it because the victims are too embarrassed by having been caught out to spread the word. The tricks used to get you to say yes to something you’d never usually agree to include that “it’s just a renewal” of their directory, or that a colleague has already agreed to it. All nonsense of course.
Of course, many (indeed, most) directories are honest businesses. However, whereas in the past, I might have said that it’s worth taking the time to find out which directories are worth your effort, in 2012 I think I can safely say that no directory is worth being in, whether in print or on the web. Seriously, when was the last time you used a directory even to look up an address, never mind to source a supplier? Even the directories from reputable publishers only survive because nobody’s brave enough to point out that the emperor’s got no clothes. I have access to the website analytics from nearly a hundred companies, and I can tell you one thing without breaking any confidences: not a single one of them gets more than a tiny trickle of website visitors from directories. If the directory is actually a proactive lead-generating service, things are different. But I’d only agree to having your business details placed in a conventional listings directory if (a) it’s free, (b) the time required to write your entry isn’t too long, and (c) you have a decent screening process to protect you from the inevitable deluge of follow-up phone calls trying to sell you worthless nonsense to “enhance” your entry. It’s time to move on.