A Google Webmaster Help thread has a webmaster who launched a business web directory in the Netherlands complaining his ranking is really poor.
As you know, less than a year ago, Google began removing directories from the index. But why? Why does Google dislike web directories?
The main reason is they lack unique and valuable content - for the most part. Of course not all web directories do, but most do.
John Mueller of Google explained in the thread:
With directories like that, I always worry that it's very easy to create a ton of content that doesn't have a lot of value yet. For example, I clicked through to a number of businesses, and apart from the general information such as the address and occasionally some keywords, I am missing anything unique, compelling, and of high quality. I realize it's not always possible to have that from the start, but if the majority of your site's content is like this at that point, you can imagine that it can be very hard for our algorithms to judge your website overall. One solution could be to only include content that you're certain provides something unique; another possibility could be to keep those pages on your site (perhaps users will add more content over time?), but to block them from being shown in the search results (perhaps with a noindex robots meta tag).
Starting a directory? Think twice.
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.