It appears that Microsoft’s Small Business Directory, otherwise known as Microsoft bCentral, has closed. The directory is still online but they are no longer accepting any new submissions. When you actually click on the link to add your site to the directory, you are greeted with the following message:
As of November 15, 2006 Microsoft will no longer accept new sign-ups for select Microsoft Online Small Business Services.
These services, previously marketed under the bCentral™ brand, include Appointment Manager, Banner Network Ads, Commerce Manager, Customer Manager, FastCounter Pro, List Builder, Sales Leads, SharePoint®, Submit it!, Traffic Builder, and Web Hosting Packages.
If you are a current customer you can continue to sign in and use your services. For additional information see our Customer FAQ.
If you don’t have a Web site and are looking to take your business online, learn about the new services from Microsoft® Office Live.
In the Q&A, as to whether current bCentral customers will be migrated over to Microsoft® Office Live, the following answer is provided:
There are key differences in the way Microsoft Online Small Business Services and Office Live services were developed that may present a challenge for a simple, straight forward migration path. Although there are some similarities, the two services themselves don’t match up one-to-one.
We recognize that many of you would prefer to stay with the services you’ve come to know and value. That is why we are working with partners (both inside and outside of Microsoft) to give you greater options for continuing your present services or transitioning to new services where they may better meet your small business needs. We look forward to communicating information about these new options as they become available in the coming months.
Microsoft bCentral, along with Yahoo Directory and The Open Directory, have long been suggested as a good authority directories to get listed in to help build a site’s link popularity as well as establish new sites. While bCentral is still live, one can only wonder how long they will keep it operating. Add to this the fact that it is next to impossible to get listed in Open Directory and that leaves Yahoo standing all by itself.
Keep in mind however that there are plenty of additional directories that have been around for a long time which can not only help build a site’s link popularity but additionally send actual traffic. A few of those include Best of the Web, Business.com and Uncover the Net.
Hat tip to Matt McGee.