Google and Yahoo have played a major role in the expansion and growth in the online search business. As a result of this, as we've seen in many other online segments before (e.g., commerce, auctions, publishing), many new companies are springing up to address some of the gaps left by the giants who are primarily focusing on broad solutions.
MerchantCircle believes that search and online marketing services for local, small businesses is one of those overlooked areas. I saw glimmers of this opportunity expressed in the questions of many small business adertisers at a recent keyword marketing seminar I attended (read notes on the key takeaways). Many questions asked by attendees related to how they could take advantage of local search to drive leads to their local business. (A great selling opportunity for MerchantCircle, but alas, not the right time or place. :) )
BusinessWeek just did a story on some of the companies filling the gaps left by search engines, and gave MerchantCircle some props. (Thanks, Ben Elgin). Check us out in the latest print edition, on newsstands now, or check out the online version of the story, and our mention in the accompanying news graphic (free registration required).