In less than twenty-four hours, I've referenced Duotrope twice. I referred a promising student writer to the site, and I used a search result to illustrate a point in an academic essay. Does the site have value?
Is a charge of $50.00 per year a fare rate?
I think so, but mileage will certainly vary on this topic. The Missouri Review, a decent publication that thinks more of itself than seems healthy, is skeptical. I give Michael Nye credit, as he has the stones to question the direction of the index at the same time that he uses the phrase "fee-based system," unabashedly, in the title of his post.
This is the same magazine that charges $3.00 for an online submission. Make of that what you will...
Duotrope is important to me. I will pony up in 2013. I kept my submissions with them years ago (I'm a registered user), but I've been hardcopy for at least three years. I don't report to them. But I log in at least once a week. When I'm writing short fiction, I use them often.
They return productive results, and they've been uniformly excellent. They capture huge swaths of data, they collect gigantic numbers of markets, and they are the industry standard when it comes to market listings.
I'm surprised they haven't gone to Shark Tank.
Not because what they do is hard, but because what they do is boring...and tedious...and meticulous. Duotrope casts a wide net.
This isn't a commercial, but I hope they make this a going concern. There are other sites. I love ralan.com. He does a phenomenal job.
But Duotrope is doing what it has to do. I give them a lot of credit, and I'll support the effort...