incrediBILL - 10:49 am on Nov 7, 2010 (gmt 0)
2) I'm going to run Xenu link sleuth on the directories to find broken links (again, these will be links to sites in my niche). i.e. I'll build a list of defunct sites in my niche.
You might want to be careful because a lot of serious directories have protection.
Even if they allow Xenu, a high speed crawl could get your IP blocked.
Use a proxy server if you can to avoid pitfalls.