I found out about the closure from Andy Beal in my reader last night, and I would have to concur with him that this does pose a dilemma. The most important part of bCentral from my perspective is the directory.
I would place this as the most bang for the buck when it comes to the top three directories on the web:
- DMOZ – is anybody home?
- Yahoo! Directory – $299.00 per year!
Microsoft bCentral– $30 per domain – what a bargain!
One of the few great products that Microsoft offers and they are going to can it?
So, today I did some research, had to linger through chat with a “support” member and got a phone number that disconnected me when I chose a department. I had not yet given up. I did finally talk to one of the six member staff (at least that is what he claimed) that handle technical support for bCentral. After going through the normal routine about account verification and such he had some surprising information to share.
They are transitioning things into a new platform – Microsoft Office Live. Great news, they are adding new services for small businesses and he referred me to speak to that department to find out all of the “amazing new features and services.”
Of course, my first reaction was:
“What is going to happen to my directory listings? I have seen information while trying to track down a phone number and have not seen any information regarding the directory being switched to the ‘new platform.’”
The response given from MSN Small Business:
“This is all new to us, we don’t know if the directory will be carried over or not.”
It is very disappointing to see that Microsoft, one of the largest firms on the planet, would market the heck out of crappy little products that can be found, better in most cases, somewhere else, and let a quality product fall by the wayside. Without real conclusive answers and no ability to get to someone with them, I did throw in the towel (at least for the day).
I think that the DMOZ is the best idea ever conceived, but the lack of quality editors and no push to get new editors, makes it extremely over valued. The Yahoo! Directory is a quality directory, but I think that it is over-priced.
Feel free to leave any information if you know it. Feel free to leave other information, like how to wake up the editorial staff at DMOZ or a less-expensive alternate way into the Yahoo! Directory.
Only time will tell what happens to the directory.