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Yep, Google usually ignores punctuation, and in this case, even if you use a quoted search (":") it's going to refuse because you're basically asking it to return every page in it's index.
You'll have more luck if you can narrow down the search somewhat...
a +: (all pages with the letter a plus colon)
":" site:.com (all .com tld pages with a colon)
And, if you can excuse my denseness, why in the world do you have to find pages that contain a colon? The must be billions of them.
The 2 suggestions above are just searching for the valid terms and are ignoring the +: part (i.e. all pages with the letter a and all .com sites respectively).
And I'd also recommend checking out some of the other DMOZ search categories:
And, if it's submitting your site for link exchanges, you might want to do some reading at WW's Link Development forum...
...and some of the articles in its library:
Some quick tips to search for what you need might be phrases like:
YourIndustry link exchange
YourIndustry web resources
Internet YourIndustry directory
Internet YourIndustry resources
Submit YourIndustry site
Submit YourIndustry link
And other phrases along those lines, substituting your site's business for YourIndustry.