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[edited by: tedster at 8:40 pm (utc) on April 18, 2008]
However, I have used custom XML in a similar situation. It's up to you. Custom XML will give you exactly what you need, but you'll have to provide a lot more support, or you can use a known platform like RSS or Atom.
You could also use a combination: RSS out to the client, custom XML back.
In fact, many of these services poach off one another by indexing each other's listings, which makes them not so much a directory, but an aggregator of other directories.
Architecturally, it makes sense to build custom objects or libraries representing each of these 3rd party sites, to which you can pass a standardized XML object.
in pseudocode, it'll look something like this:
$xml = "all your client's information";
you can even repurpose the XML for your minibrochure pages
of course, building each of these routines is the tricky part.
are you talking about a tilde?
Honestly, in building the application you've described, you'll be faced with far more advanced challenges than getting around some squiggly codes. I suggest you hire a programmer to help you out with this project. In your job ad, be sure to mention that the applicant must have experience with squiggly codes.