re: Firstly I was so disappointed to see that I had to buy the search function which I would think is a primary requirement in any directory listings, free or premium.
It is these purchases that make Connections even possible. I spend 40-50 hours a week support and adding features to the free core Connections plugin. Checkout the changelog.
I did try donations at the beginning but the total amount donated across a couple years would not feed my family for a day. So I decided to sell extensions and templates which add more features. This has been successful in ensuring the continued development and support of Connections.
As for the search feature itself… many, many thousand of users use Connections without search because the core features still meet their needs. So, search may be a must for you but it is not a must for everyone. So those that need it have to invest a little. Most developers are surprised at how inexpensively I price items. One even recently commented that they are so cheap they might as well be free.
re: Secondly, now that I have finally figured out how to add the search function which I have added to a side bar because it is not pretty on the main page – it is not returning results based on the address of the businesses.
Could you describe exactly what you mean not returning results for addresses? Can you double check that the address search fields are to be searched. You can find these settings on the Connections : Settings admin page under the Search tab.