OK he didn’t really, but I found it quite surprising to find searches for paid directory links coming through in our web stats today.
This is because the #1 Google ranking for this search is our post titled Matt Cutts says paid directory links are fine. Perhaps after the great Google directory ban there’s no other unbanned sites left relevant to this search anymore!
It’s quite interesting to see the actual directories which are listed for this query, other than the Yahoo! Directory I wouldn’t say that the rest of these are the top paid directories on the web. To be honest I think Google still has a long way to go before getting this right in what seems to be the unenviable task of sorting which directories are just selling links as opposed to the ones charging for review fees and only listing quality sites. I have to agree with Rands post which suggests that all directories, large or small, should be treated in the same manner and any penalised sites should be stripped of their PageRank as this would make the devalued links more obvious to buyers than the current method of punishing these directories within the search engines.
Update: Just noticed we’re ranking #7 for SEO Directory on Yahoo! as well, one place behind SEOmoz, not sure if either of those listings are too relevant!