I still use link directories sometimes, but not as much as I used to. Quite frankly since Google hammered them down, traffic from directories is gone and backlink power too, even from the best directories.
That's what happens when they change the rules in the middle of the game.
I don't see that ppc marketing sites (the majority of which are less than useful and are no more than paid links) with high PR
differ from directories, but they are not penalized.
How many of us have ever experienced as a customer those marketing sites which did not return what we were looking for? I bet a lot. How many of us have seen marketing sites steal our contents and indexed in search engines? Well that's happened to me.
I find that search engines lack the quality that they claim to have, because indexing these sites is very deceptive in my opinion.