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MerchantCircle: Small Business Blog of the Day

by Brian Brown (follow me on Twitter): June 2, 2006

I received an email a few days ago from Stacey Paris of Breakaway Communications. She recommended I check out today's website as a resource for small businesses, but I quickly found that they had a pretty good blog...

MerchantcircleWhat it is
MerchantCircle is a service for small businesses interested in using the internet as a marketing tool for their local customers. Their services include advertising through Google and Yahoo!, setting up autoresponder messages (automatic emails), and advising other popular online marketing methods.

BensmithFeatures
Despite the fact that the company hasn't officially launched yet (June 5th launch), the blog has a large number of posts dating back to last November. This is a company that has been well thought out with some serious financial backing. You will find posts about internet marketing, customer testimonials, commentary on marketing trends, mentions of new companies joining the service, special offers like a free television ad in your market, lots of photos, and even videos about marketing.

Favorite Post
The title of Yellow Pages and Wasting Local Business Advertising Dollars is pretty self-explanatory. It rails on the Yellow Pages high prices and waning interest in the technology age.

"There is enough money in local advertising on the Local Internet that the industry is looking for an alternative to the "mafia like" tactics of these massive and slow Yellow Pages companies...The tactics the Yellow Pages use are NOT consistent with selling the high performance, inexpensive, and highly effective advertising that the Local Internet delivers. People who sell FEAR like the Yellow Pages can not sell the Hope that the Local Internet delivers."

Further Comments
I would place small businesses in two categories: 1) companies that have a very niche product that appeals to a small section of the general population and need a blog to reach a global market, and 2) companies that have a standard product or service that appeals to their local market. Sometimes, a company crosses into both categories. MerchantCircle focusses on category #2 and utilizes solid techniques for giving you great local exposure over the internet.

The blog is a great service-industry blog as it continually highlights businesses that are using their product. This gives MerchantCircle credibility (you can see actual people using the service), while also stroking the egos of those companies that have signed up.

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Comments

So today we get a pre-recorded phone call telling us that somebody googled us and rated us at merchantcircle.com - only to find no such ratings at merchantcircle.com ?

I'm not against networking businesses, and I'm aware that MerchantCircle will remove listings upon request. Nonetheless, unsolicited pre-recorded phone calls containing false/mis-leading information isn't the way to grow a business nor to build a positive reputation.

More comments from merchants:
http://battellemedia.com/archives/002632.php

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