Microsoft Small Business Directory bCentral Logo

Nope. That’s not a typo. The S is purposely injected into BS. After having paid and setup nearly 25 listings with MSN bCentral (their small business directory) we heard they were shutting down the bcentral directory. Ok, so before rushing to judgement, I decided to figure out what that would mean for our listings.First, I found that we still had our listings, had access to our control panel, and could even submit more listings! (more on that in a minute). Great news. I mean, I understood that this was likely to mean that the directory pages (business cards) would remain online, and that since we had pre-paid for a large listing package we would be able to submit the remainder of our listings as well.

Ok, so the first strange thing was that I submitted 3 sites and all of them were approved within 2-3 minutes. I’ve had a near instant approval before but never 3 so quickly. Then, I started wondering if they were basically just anxious to process (by accepting) all the listings that were paid up front so that they could discontinue the need for the staff which reviews submissions, sooner rather than later. That would make sense to some degree.

Now, if they’re not upholding as much of a quality standard as they once might have… does this mean they may also scrap a lot of internal links to the directory as well, thereby cutting off most of its pagerank (linkjuice if you will)?

So, now I’m a little bummed at that prospect, but at least we still have the links (what I’m about to say will enforce my reasons for ranting), and we have went out and done link development for these directory pages (business cards as they call them) as well. So, they should stay indexed regardless and should also continue to rank well in some cases themselves, sending targeted visitors.

So today, when checking these listings, we find that the business card pages all redirect to the main bCentral page.

I login to see if it’s isolated to a few of them. Nope, every single one went back into the pending approval status. Some of these are 2+ years old!!! So obviously I’m not very ecstatic about this. We had top3 rankings for important terms with some of these pages aside from the fact that they were valuable links to the sites which they were submitted for.

I’ve fired off an unhappy email to support… chances are they’ll reinstate them; I would assume this is by error as the sites are mostly unrelated and totally different from one another. They are real websites, very nice I might add, and not affiliate or content-thin sites. Of course with the way these things tend to go they will probably end up with new URLs based on a newly approved ID for the listings… which would completely blow our efforts at directly promoting these pages.

Hmm, strike that. I’m feeling more like Bf’ingScentral.

Anybody else had this happen? It’s not all listings, plenty are still there working fine. 

Discussions of bCentral Closing: