diberry - 10:44 pm on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)
I could probably pay a few of them and get the links removed but I do not want to support these guys in their blackmail system.
I don't think you'll have to. I believe the htaccess trick will get rid of many of them - I'm hopeful it will be most of them, even. For the rest, you can use disavow, OR:
You can send them a Cease & Desist.
They'll probably dare you to sue them, but here's the thing: there's case law indicating that links CAN form copyright violations in some cases. Further, if you submitted content to a site in the form of a directory submission, you have copyright over that content, and the directory owner may be responsible for deleting your content if you request it.
Additionally, you could argue in the C&D that their refusal to remove the directory entry is harming your business.
Some directory owners forget that they built their business because people submitted free content to their directories. That content is not theirs alone.
For those who think this is silly, let's consider an analogous situation:
Your company buys airtime on my TV station, and then my station becomes associated with a public scandal. You want to pull your commercials, but I say, "That'll cost you more than you initially paid for them." Uh, no. At most I could charge you a reasonable cancellation fee IF I negotiated that into our contract to begin with.