There has been a somewhat unnoticed revolution in the directory industry over the last twelve months.  The directories of yesteryear are declining into irrelevance while a new breed of aggressive young directories are moving to fill the void.

Let’s look at the giants of old:

1.  DMOZ.  DMOZ is the granddaddy of all directories.  Of course, there have always been accusations of corruption about DMOZ editors, but I think that goes with the territory of any not-for-profit organization.  After all, if people aren’t doing the work for money, they probably have other, possibly sinister, motivations.

But that’s not the real problem.  The whole site went down at the end of October of 2006 and remained down week after week.  Only by mid-December did editors regain access and only in January were submissions accepted again. 

In short, DMOZ seems to be an uncared about project by its owner, AOL, which itself seems to be struggling to compete on the internet.

2.  Microsoft’s Small Business Directory.  In the past, the advice of even the most conservative white hats was to submit a new site to three directories – DMOZ, Yahoo! Directory and Microsoft’s SBD.  However, in May 2006, Microsoft announced that they were shutting down.  The death of another trusted link source.

3.  Zeal.  A long standing trusted directory – shut down in March 2006.  RIP.  Owned by Looksmart – well, enough said.

4.  First it adds nofollow to its listings, then it removes them, then it adds them again, then it removes them.  Sometimes it adds redirects.  You can never be sure whether you will get a clean html link with a listing at

5.  JoeAnt.  A formerly well respected aged directory decides to whore itself.  As Aaron Wall writes:  “So sad to see so many thin affiliate sites in the recently added box, and then get a second round of shock to see AdSense top and to the left on the individual category level pages.”

What does all this mean?  At least two things:

1.  First, there is a ton of opportunity in the directory industry.  Many of the industry leaders seem incapable of dealing with the changing nature of the internet.  This gives a chance for smaller, better tuned in businesses to take their place.

2.  Established SEOs need to get a clue.  You can’t keep repeating the same directory advice you gave last year.  You should take some time to evaluate the newer directories out there, including their editorial integrity, quality of their backlinks and the people who run them.  The newer directories have no choice but to be significantly better than the directories of yesteryear, as the directory market has gotten so competitive.