Yesterday Google launched a new design, part of that new design was the removal of the "directory tab". DigitalPoint's forum, which has been doing just great, discussed Google's new design. That thread went off on a slight tangent, delving into the usefulness of the ODP or other directories.
I gave an example of its use when buying a new sign for my office. I think I first tried search at Google for the right company, but I couldn't find much for this niche. So I went to ODP's Signage Listings and Yahoo's Signage Listings. I then browsed a few dozen sites listed and sent an email with a spec to those I thought were up to the job.
Let me tell you, I am really happy with the final product. I would have never been able to find this company with a search engine.
Update: Just found out they made AskJeeves Sign.