I've tried mass submission to directories in the past, with pretty poor (i.e virtually non existent) results.
I know some people say they work but not in my experience. The one directory that has always given me a big boost in rankings (although not direct traffic) is Yahoo Business Directory but it's not cheap.
I've had some good success with directory submissions recently. One of my targeted keywords is ranking #3 for the anchor text. I never did any link building for the new keyword. So I attribute the ranking to the directory submissions.
I've been using tanujdude91 at the pit. The have 100 submission deal for $2 to try out.
Their site is located @ http://www.supersource.it/directory_...n_service.html
directry submission is not working any more. the thing is google is aftrr quality these days --rather then quantity. so throwing so many links--- from full of links directories is not helping.
My recent tests show zero effects from directory submissions, but I keep trying and testing.
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I'd have to agree with those above, I've never noticed any significant benefit from directory submissions. I'd say that, considering the time it takes, it's pretty much useless. Then again, you might get lucky and experience fantastic results... nobody can really say 100%.
As for article submissions: I've always had good luck with these. Definitely worthwhile. I just always hate putting content somewhere other than my sites.