CAUTION: This was written in 2009. It is now woefully out of date and should be read for entertainment value only. Web directories are dead, don’t waste your time. Build a website which offers something really unique that people will love.
Business Directory scripts seem to be littering the Internet, however there are so many products that it is near impossible to know which one is the best. I have now tried several, and blown a lot of money on some that I have lost hair over. Others have had great support (by one person) only to then get hacked and die. Some have awful support, some have forums for user support, but so far, there is certainly no winner in my books.
Lets take a look at the follow popular options, plus a couple of potential new ones, which could well be as naff as the rest.
UPDATE: FocalMedia.Net is no more. Do not buy Powerseek
PowerSeek SQL by FocalMedia
This is a Perl script, and it is not cheap, currently on the market for $400 (plus VAT). What is good about Powerseek is that the templates are fully customisable, in fact they have built a template importer, so you can literally take a web template, split it in two, and pop in some code in the middle, then create the directory pages.
However, to customise the actual listings is a real pig. If you decide that you want to add an extra field, such as “address” or “map” then you have to edit all the template pages, and rebuild. And then there are problems with allowing registered users to edit the fields (currently broken on my project).
Powerseek only has email (ticket system) support, and although sometimes good, delays are very frustrating. I have been told by them recently to upgrade to fix the problem, even though the problem manifested itself after I upgraded. Lack of user forums means that it is very hard to find out if you are alone or not. Powerseek is powerful, but also a nightmare if you are not a Perl expert. Main features:
- Premium Links
- Banner Rotation System
- PPC Links
- Reciprocal Link Checker
- Extremely Customizable
- Image / File Uploading
- Intelligent Searches
- User Registration System
- Spam Proof
PHP Link directory
This was one of the ones on my short list before I made the mistake buying Powerseek. It is a PHP/MySQL script, and unlike Powerseek it has built in URL Rewrite that means you do not have to rely on the time consuming HTML creation every time you update your directory (that can be several times a day on a busy site).
Currently being sold for $80 (although you can pay $30 if you want to advertise their product forever…..). PHPLD (as it is often referred to) has the following features:
- Paypal Integration for Selling Featured Link
- Google Sitemaps Integration
- Business Listings with Google Maps
- Active Support Forum
- Many Mods Avaialble
- Import Links from XML Source (per category)
- Contact Us page with captcha
This one impressed me when I first looked, although I only tested the free version. However, there were a few features that seemed lacking, and I could see no easy way to work around them.
For me a business directory needs to have both standard listings, that are just company name, address, contact name, and then premium listings, with whatever data you chose to add – maps, page of text, email form, images, logos etc.
At the time eSyndicat struggled with some of these, but it does seem a better choice now. A single domain licence is $75 at the moment. Features:
- Extensive plugin system
- Professionally looking template
- Different prices for different categories
- Additional fields for different categories
- PayPal, 2checkout and other payment gateways
- Regional locations for listings
At first glance this looks interesting. They describe it as a yellow pages, business directory, or website directory that features free and paid listings.
Users and administrator can submit listings at all levels; payment through Paypal, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, Moneybookers, and 2CheckOut; featured listings can have photos; unlimited categories and sub-categories; find listings by zip code, country, city, or state; Web 2.0 style; user and administrator can edit, add, and remove listings.
All categories and links are search engine friendly displayed. Very impressive on paper, but what does it really offer, and what is the support like? It is currently being sold for $80, and is on version 6.6. However, few people seem to be talking about it at the moment, and the user forum is empty, and devoid of any real support. Slightly worrying is the appalling page payout of their own Contact page!
I think that this was new when I was looking a year or so back. However, it looks like it may be another robust script. It comes in four flavours – auto directory, articles directory, realty directory and web directory.
Not a business directory proper though. It does offer both free and paid directories. Also Subrion provides build-in invoicing, payment gateway, and discount coupon – something that Powerseek is lacking badly in. However, for some reason their demo pages cannot be accessed as the passwords have changed.
So, Which Directory Script is Best?
There are others on the market. Unfortunately it is exceptionally difficult to get a real feel of which is ideal for you without buying one, which is a real pain in he arse.
Some people are great fans of one or he other, so asking in forums often leads to trouble. I used the approach of buying the one that was at the top of my budget at the time, Powerseek, but have been left very disappointed.
Hopefully a solution to my Powerseek problem will come soon, and then I may be all in favour of FocalMedia again. But at the moment, who knows?
One feature to look out for that I think POBusinessDir offers, is the “claim listing” button. To build a directory, you need to populate it yourself to start with.
However, in time you need people to list, as it is impossible to manage a large directory on your own (can you check that telephone numbers, contacts, address etc have not changed?). So a script that offers a “claim this” button, allowing users to claim their company once registered, could be a lifesaver.
But ultimately, the proof is in the pudding, and it can prove to be an expensive pudding.