Reno - 12:51 am on Sep 8, 2011 (gmt 0)
There was a time when people used directories, links resources pages and bookmarks to discover new sites or revisit old ones, but search engines became so good that most people use them instead nowadays.
And there's another reason directories dropped in prominence ~ Google's dysfunctional delight in imposing penalties scared siteowners off, because many directories required a return link in exchange for a listing, and Google let it be known that "link swapping" would be penalized. Never mind that the directory had to pay for hosting, do the site design, code the listings into specific categories, remove dead links when necessary, etc, all of which entitled them to a simple return link. But apparently the business planners at G saw those sort of directories as a threat so they did their best to kill them.
I started on the web in 1995, before Google existed, and remember well that mutually beneficial link exchanges were a good way to generate traffic. Once G got big enough, they flexed their muscles and started hitting with their hammer, and link exchanges by-in-large dropped dramatically, because after all, it is suicidal to attract even the possibility of a Google penalty. It's yet one more example, as I explained above, how they have been incrementally imposing policies that will drive people to buy traffic from them. Directories losing popularity was not a coincidence, nor an unfortunate side effect of Google's punishing behavior ~ it's part of their well thought out strategy, and it sucks.