Do direct links do more harm than redirects?
I currently give direct links and am considering switching over to redirects. I know that there are threads that expound why directories that offer direct links are "better" than ones that use redirects. I'm curious what other owners of directories think about that.
I have a short list of reasons why redirects might be a better route and am interested in feedback on them:
Giving away page rank to clients by using direct links helps them to compete with the directory. The result can be that they come to outrank the directory in search results, and thus weaken the directory as an advertising medium, and ultimately could cause the directory to fail.
Redirects give the directory the capability to count clicks to visit clients' websites and gather more information about the effectiveness of the directory. This information can be helpful in getting new clients and in keeping existing clients.
Most directory clients have no idea what page rank is and don't know the difference between a direct link and a redirect. They do understand having stats about the effectiveness of their advertising and appreciate being able to view those stats. They often have no idea how to get referrer stats for their sites, so redirects give them a way to get important information that they might not be able to obtain with direct links rather than redirects.
Directories are in the business of generating leads for sales. The use of directories by SEO people to buy page rank can give less useful sites an advantage over more useful sites, degrading the quality of search results in general, and making the Internet less useful.
I understand that I'm playing devil's advocate here, but thoughful responses will be sincerely appreciated.