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Old 08-18-2004   #1
mcanerin
 
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MS Small Business Directory - SBD

Hopefully this is the best spot for this.

What are people's thoughts on the Microsoft B-Central Small Business Directory? http://sbd.bcentral.com/

I have a genuine problem here. I tell clients that they should skip the whole "automatic submissions" software because it's stupid, doesn't work and tends to get you spammed, and instead focus on high quality, relevant link partners and directories.

With me so far? Fine. So if you go to the SBD you will see that it's a very nice little directory. I have a 15 point checklist to analyse directories and linking partners and it passed all of them, most with flying colors.

Except one. The "supports spammers" one (the checklist is more detailed than that, but that's what it boils down to).

When you submit to this directory, they FORCE you to sign up for their automated submissions program! There is no opt out. I was shocked and appalled, honestly. With regret, I took them off my submissions list.

Recently I had a client ask me about it, and I told him why I had not automatically submitted to it, and he agreed, but felt that it still might be worth it. We discussed it for some time. This client is very web and business savvy, has a lot of traffic and conversions and I respect both his ethics and interest in his websites.

At the end of the day, we agreed that we should submit IN SPITE of the automatic submissions. The directory has enough value that for him and many others it's worth it.

It's pretty bad when something that is clearly a trademark Microsoft "let's hold your hand" policy is considered good reason to avoid using the product.

Worse, they are teaching inexperienced website owners that automatic submissions are "ok", which is incredibly naive behavior for a company that wishes to take a lead in search. I know these are different departments, but geeze, this doesn't look good.

Currently I DO recommend submission, but only after I've educated the client as to what the issues are. I wish I could make a better recommendation based on the value of the directory itself, but I can't in good faith based on it's submission policy.

Maybe they don't get the concept that I would happily pay the same amount and skip the automatic submissions.

What do other people think?

Ian
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Old 08-19-2004   #2
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Hi Ian,

It is my understanding that you don't have to actually USE the automatic submission tools.

Quote:
When you sign up you'll also get the suite of Submit It! services, which includes web site optimization analysis, position checking, and search engine submissions (from sbd.bcentral.com)
I just choose not to use the 'Submit It! suite'.

Just eat what you ordered - just leave the parsley & other irrelevent trimmings you didn't order - on the side of the plate.

What actually really peeved me was that I had to get a MS Passport. The MS Passport is the real 'trojan horse' in the deal.

Personally - I hope the DOJ takes up the 'BCentral bundled with MS Passport' issue to task - now that's REAL restraint of trade!!

Chris_D
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Old 08-19-2004   #3
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If your site is automatically submitted every thirty days as I have heard it is, then it is not for me. Plenty of other directories out there to get listed in.
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Old 08-19-2004   #4
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Run away, run away!

I agree, I clicked to see the directory BEFORE I read the full post and immediatley was dismayed by the submit-it part. Enough for me to stay away.
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Old 08-19-2004   #5
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There is a similar thread about this going on over at HighRankings and a rep from bCentral posted saying that the auto submit tools are separate from being listed in the directory.

Read it here.
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Old 08-21-2004   #6
I, Brian
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Sounds like another area where SEMPO could be active - try and convince MicroSoft of the damage of promoting the submit-it service.
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Old 08-24-2004   #7
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Typically Microsoft

Not too surprised considering that bcentral is a spammers paradise. After harvesting my sites of every alias there is, these were uploaded to spam my entire domain by one of their clients. Bad enough, but bcentral's opt out is to reply to the spam. Great if it's a real address, but it's kinda hard to send an opt out from alias email addresses.

I called the spammer who out and out gave me the "%$!$& you" approach, called bcentral and talked to at least 3 unhelpful people who told me the only thing they could tell me was to set up a real email address for each of the alias email addresses and opt out that way, and finally talked to some tech guru who said she took me off the list, but guess what??? Never did it occur to can the spammer and when I mentioned it, they said that I would have to prove that I DIDN'T OPT IN!!!

As far as I'm concerned Microsoft pretty much just screws up everything they touch and $$$ trumps all other ethical considerations. Good luck with launching MSN but I think it's going to go in Big Bill's "flop" column.
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