Case study: Is listing in online business directories worth it?

Well, this was a complete waste of time…

Let me  tell you exactly what not to do. I started with this project of listing and various business directories and online classifieds and listings in South Africa only, and with a little OCD felt that I had to complete it (even though I quickly saw in which way the results were heading). I found over 80 places where you can list. But during this tedious cut and paste experience I often encountered the following problems:

  • Sites not maintained
  • Logins not working
  • Activation mails not sent
  • Undelivered emails
  • Mails to spam & junk folders
  • Search function not working
  • Finding out it’s a paid service
  • Short listing validity

Plus: timeouts, script errors, redirects, blank pages, 404 errors, missing content, unsafe, slow, or dead websites and other issues I probably forgot by now. Was it worth it? Most likely not. Rather do the following:

If you have a website, rather spend some time on good content. Or spend some money on google or Facebook ads if you want to pay for results. I listed Bicycle Couriers on the sites below — and other than a handful of backlinks (some from sites ranking lower than my own) and the benefit of sharing this info with you, all I got in return was the satisfaction of completing a task.

Nevertheless, here are the results, split into 5 self-explanatory categories. I’ve included links so you can see what the examples look like, but to avoid digital clutter some sites have listing validities for 30 days, 42 days, 1 year, 500 days etc and hence it might not be available anymore. I do run a broken links tracker and might remove some of the expired URLs.

PS, I was fortunate to create one of my first #bicyclecouriers profiles on yep! (either by luck or by fate) and then used this one to cut and paste info on to the rest. This profile also included keywords like bicycle transport, bicycle couriers, bike travel and more.


Yep! immediately won me over with their sleek signup and great looks. You can verify your listing and it shows much more info than the other platforms. I was really impressed. You could even use this temporarily just to have an online presence iso having your own website up and running yet. Check out Bicycle Couriers on yep!

Cylex has a plethora of information types that you can add and neatly displays it in a single page format. You can also list your bicycle courier (and other business) products, prices, promotions and own posts. And receive reviews. And the three word address (///button.cinemas.reapply for BC) is nice touch. Find Bicycle Couriers on Cylex is the most beautiful card-like listings I’ve seen out of all of the possibilities in this article. Logo, direct link, and listed under the categories of Sports, Travel Agency and Transport/Freight. PS, it’s an offshore option and you can see some bicycle couriers from around the world. Find Bicycle Couriers on

Inmycity has a beautiful design that really reminds me of the Bicycle South website and the moment you open up the listing you feel right at home seeing all the familiar bike travel pics as on our products page. You can even add FAQs at the bottom (even though they do not call them What-the-FAQ like we do). View Bicycle Couriers on inmycity

SABD looks good and in my book that goes a long way, because nobody wants to stare at something that is ugly. You can submit reviews and all the rest. I listed BC under under Events & Adventures; Sports & Fitness; and Travel & Transport. See Bicycle Couriers on SA Business Directory


Bizniz Directory has a lovely clean look and feel and shows a lot of pertinent info like logo and keywords and direct links to the website. There is a huge WOZA ad in the left hand sidebar and I’m curious to see if any traffic reaches me from here. See Bicycle Couriers on Bizniz Directory

AtoZ has a clean and clutter free white page layout and displays all my BC listing info across various tabs over the page. Note that you loose a large part of your audience with each additional click, but at least there were no ads. I listed under ‘sport and recreation’ with tags for ‘bicycle couriers, bicycle transport (in South Africa)’ and more. Have a look at Bicycle Couriers on AtoZ

Activeweb, like many others listed here, show all the required biz info. You can also give star rating reviews for 3 categories, being service and quality and price. Unfortunately not the best looker of the lot, at least IMHO. I listed Bicycle Couriers under Travel and Hospitality in the Western Cape. Find Bicycle Couriers on Activeweb

Centralindex is absolutely beautiful and even though you can get customer reviews, there is no direct link to your own website. The design is very appealing and I also spotted an option to ‘claim your business’. I listed BC under the category of Transport Consultants. View Bicycle Couriers on Centralindex

Entrepo shows a nice and clean listing with direct links and opportunities for customer reviews. I listed BC (with some email back and forth from their side) under ‘Recreation » Bicycle Couriers South Africa’ and also under the Transport and Travel & Hospitality tabs. Have a look at Bicycle Couriers on Entrepo

Nichemarket is a great idea and also allows ratings based on multiple factors like price, service and quality — yet I’ve learned from previous experiments that some of their info isn’t necessarily up-to-date. However, there is a direct link to my site and all details are neatly displayed. Vote for Bicycle Couriers on Nichemarket

Nearfinder has a lot of whitespace and you have to scroll down to see all your listing info, however you can get reviews and click through to your own website. And that is important to me. See what it looks like at Bicycle Couriers on Nearfinder

ShopsHours by name, ‘opening hours’ by logo. It’s a clever idea for a website though and I wonder whether the google spiders will give it preference when crawling. I’m listed as travel agency in Stellenbosch and there are external links for the BC site and to google maps for directions to Bicycle Couriers in Stellenbosch. See Bicycle Couriers on ShopsHours

The Business Directory is another culprit that immediately wants to access your location. But the display is clean and they are also the only ones to go one step further and pull in an image from google street view to show your location. No web link through. Check out Bicycle Couriers on The Business Directory

Not so much

Tuugo shows al your info, complete with direct link to your website. But here is the catch: a clickthrough is displayed with their header on their website using a site viewer, effectively embedding your info. However, you can click to close the header and be redirected to the site. See Bicycle Couriers on Tuugo 

Funako was a very easy listing to submit, but the email feedback was somewhat lacking and I only later found that you do not get an unique URL to your own listing (and nothing is returned when you search for ‘bicycle couriers’). See Bicycle Couriers (and so many other courier services) on Funako

Hotfrog at first didn’t want to open on my default internet browser because of the “Please disable Adblock to access this page” prompt. I switched to a different browser to view the result and my listing got lost in all the other ads on that same page. Skip. This is what is looks like: Bicycle Couriers on Hotfrog

Info-is-Info is another offshore listing with a local presence. Their HQ is in Spain and unfortunately I had to contact them for the listing to show. The info is there but it seems not all their data feeds are pulling through and in general it was a bit underwhelming. See Bicycle Couriers on Info-is-Info

eBusinesscardsSA doesn’t have a secure connection so it’s not off to a good start, despite the cool layout. You can set a price and link to your own site and it is comforting to see new businesses listing there as well (looks like one per day on average for the last fortnight). See Bicycle Couriers on eBusinesscardsSA

ClassAds looks nice and I listed BC under the category of mountain bikes. It has been viewed a couple of times and prominently displays my contact details albeit sans direct website link (like most classifieds, no URLs by default or at all). See Bicycle Couriers on ClassAds

CPTBD says it allows you to find any business in the Cape Town Business Directory and appears to be a stock-standard Woo Commerce WordPress theme (which isn’t a bad thing, especially on mobile). Pity about that edit-comments.php line of text in the header. Either way, find Bicycle Couriers on CPTindex

SABL is no-frills business listing with personalized support and back and forth emails (as far as I could remember). There is no logo or categories but a direct web link is included to BC. Find Bicycle Couriers on SA Business Listings


Gumtree is the first word in classifieds and even though you get MUCH (like in twentyfold plus from my experience) better results on Facebook marketplace, Gumtree is still the one in peoples minds and the handy app makes it very easy to use. If it just wasn’t for those darned duplicate listings. See Bicycle Couriers on Gumtree or try searching for it.

OLX has much upgraded their user experience since I last used them and I was pleasantly surprised this time around. They are also trying to fight back against duplicate listings, unfortunately to such an extent that some of my ads for completely different products were blocked by mistake. I guess you cannot have it all. Sample (some of the listings) for Bicycle Couriers on OLX

Craigslist posts will expire in 45 days. Did you know that Craigslist was started by Craig Newmark in 1995 as an email distribution list to friends, featuring local events in the San Francisco Bay Area? Anyway, it works, but it is limited, and not ideal for what I want to achieve. See Bicycle Couriers on Craigslist

Multino’s look is my cup of tea, both simple and with clear calls to action (exactly as I think we have on I’m listed under Services, Sports and Hobbies, Bicycles in the Western Cape, Stellenbosch. How else? Check out Bicycle Couriers on Multino

Howzit looks like the Island Style logo with a Disney font, but the listings is visually appealing, with lots of white space and no other obtrusive ads. I listed Bicycle Couriers Cycling under the category ‘Sport & Recreation Services, Cape Winelands, Western Cape’. And you can find it right here: Bicycle Couriers on Howzit

Fastsell went and used a random image from the internet (it’s a small world because coincidentally I commissioned those very photos from Jacques Marais while still back at Move My Bicycle). Want to see what I’m on about? Check out Bicycle Couriers on Fastsell

Junkmail is a name that you wouldn’t necessarily want to associate with your brand new venture. But they have been around the block and the new system (with automated SMS reminders to renew your ads or listings) works quite well. Somewhat busy layout, but mostly ad-free from what I could remember. See for yourself: Bicycle Couriers on Junkmail

And more classifieds

Yalwa listings jump out at you like a lightbox popup. It remains valid for 364 days before expiration and includes a direct link to your website. The design may look a bit dated but it is easy on the eye and users can send you direct messages and leave reviews. Find Bicycle Couriers on Yalwa

Locanto reminds me a lot of Yalwa with the pop-up effect, but I think this version looks even better. In fact, it looks like exactly the same system, with ratings and direct links to my website and social media profiles etc.  Which do you prefer? See Bicycle Couriers on Locanto

AdsAfrica is clean and simple and functional and I managed to list Bicycle Couriers for Cape Town under Services — Travel Agents. No mess, no fuss, just no URL. Doesn’t this remind you of ‘Tahoma-type’ websites from the early 2000’s? See Bicycle Couriers on Ads Africa

Public Ads is more of the same. Seen one, seen them all. I listed Bicycle Couriers under Courier Services in Stellenbosch ad it looks like the ad will run for 30 days. I’m curious to see if I receive an auto-renewal-reminder after that. On the other hand, why bother? See Bicycle Couriers on Public ads

Findall looks nice. I listed under SA > Services > Travel and Tourism services > Bicycle Couriers, with extra tags for cycling and transport. You can send a DM and need to click to see the telephone number. Also no URL. View Bicycle Couriers on Findall.

Please note

There are over 30 listings above. But I also signed up and submitted info to another 20 sites that didn’t work or respond or reply. Plus another 30 that was either not fit for purpose or so broken that it didn’t even justify submitting anything. So there you have it, a rather poor experience in the bigger scheme of things.

Furthermore I have to retract most of the comments above about good use of white space on the listing pages, as the only reason it was blank is because I am using an ad blocker on my default internet browser. So when viewing same from another browser or device reveals oh-so-many ads on most of these listings, especially the classifieds. DOH!


If you really want to list your business (cycling related or otherwise) on these directories, then grab yourself a spreadsheet to jot down all the usernames, passwords, links, and notes; put on good music, be patient, and get clicking. I certainly won’t do it again. Rather create some good new and original web content yourself.

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