As anyone who has ever had the job of "waking up" a slumbering piece of equipment stored in the great outdoors knows sometimes you've gotta go at it with zest, wire brushes, hammers, prybars, solvents, oil, grease, torches, . . . you name it.
So, forgive my following my introduction as co-mod with a flurry of posts. I am NOT here to dominate the dialogue at all. No fun in that. I'm just here to kick start a big honking piece of somewhat sluggish and rusted heavy equipment: You all. Lots of brainpower and experience out there.
Gentlemen and Gentlewomen: Please start your engines. Let's go for a ride.
Grrrr . . crreeeeak . . . sput . sput . sput . . BOOM . . eeeeeeeeee . . BOOM . . chuga chuga chuga . . BOOM . . . gassssssssssssppppp . . "Damn! Someone hand me the WD40 and the breaker bar! I think she's gonna run!"
[edited by: Webwork at 5:24 pm (utc) on Oct. 8, 2006]
It appears to me that the future is still bright for directories, particularly for vertical/niche directories.
Google has stated that they do not consider themselves to be a content company -- just a search company enabling users to find content. As such, they *need* the vertical/niche directories' content to build applications around.
Directories which build more content around listings beyond mere Name + Description + Contact info would seem to have a decided advantage in this business. Adding features such as ranking criteria, user ratings of the listing, and other contextual information that's salient about the type of business -- these are going to be the differentiators.
Will there be eventual collapsing or merging of niche directories? Probably at some point, but it looks like that point is still quite a ways away.