I knew in my mind at the beginning of the day that we didn't want to buy a 'better' listing on the directory, because we thought the site was pretty useless all in all. We decided that the only reason for buying a better listing would be if it helped with the search engine optimisation of our site.
I started off by asking how many people actually searched for web design on their directory. She logged into her control panel - I forget how many it was but it wasn't a lot. I told her that I thought people were more likely to just Google it than use a directory. She wasn't happy with that.
I then told her that I'd done extensive research (which I had), and found no entries in Google from her directory and that buying a better ad would be useless for us because it didn't fulfill our target of SEO.
She really didn't like that, and started to get quite aggressive in her manner.
After a conversation that involved her arguing and me asking perfectly reasonable questions (especially considering that the lowest crappiest listing above free was £1000 per year) she conceded that actually all directories were cut from Google because some were "cheating the system" (I'm not sure how). This is something I didn't know, but it would explain the lack of Google listings. So all they have to go on now is pushing the benefits of the directory, when, lets face it, any directory that isn't the most famous brand will never be that great.
If what she told me about Google and online directories is correct I'd really like to know what the directories were doing to "cheat the system", but this information comes from the same woman who told me that 77% of clicks on the directory convert into sales. *cough* bollocks *cough*