there are so many directories now i can get listed in for a fee. This one is a business directory related to my industry (general IT related), a quick check shows they have no PR information showing, but they are fairly new. I don't want to throw money away but also don't want to miss an opportunity. I guess I can't post the name of the site here but how can I decide if this is a good thing?
One thing you can do is try to check that they give a simple hyperlink to registered sites.
If they muck about with it in any way then they are trying not to transmit PR to the member site. A lot do that and it means you may not get a PR boost from being in the directory. It may still be logical to buy a place in the directory though for example if you expect they will send quality visitors.
Personally I could go into the business.com and yahoo.com directories (and a few more) and have done in the past. At the moment I am just not prepared to pay and there do seem to be linking opportunities for free which seem to pass PR so I am going for only free listings.