Thursday, March 29, 2007

MerchantCircle Owns Reputation Management, you got a problem with that?

TNot to be too brash, but sometimes you've gotta call things as they are. I've reiterated time and time again, that the internet is becoming a place full of user-generated-content. The majority of the time, that's amateur content. Not that it lacks credibility, but it's a free-for-all with no journalistic ethics to regulate statements, or reviews for that matter.

Take for instance this article from about how a business owner got nearly driven out of business because of what reviewers were saying on a directory site. That directory site's response? Pay us - and we'll let you have the first comment section to yourself (above of all the negative reviews that people will still see).

Extortionist Tactics?Gangsters

Bottom line is this: you as business owner need to know what's being said on the web so you can proactively take steps to change your business method. We're the only place, that for FREE, shows you all the sites that allow reviews and show you how your business is listed AND include links back to those sites.

All I gotta say is, I pity the fool who ain't managing their online reputation.

Community Relations

Monday, March 26, 2007

What I Learned From the Kelsey Conference

For those of you who don't know; the Kelsey Conference is a summit for those working with local online content. It's mostly the guys and gals behind the scenes trying to figure out how to make the internet more of an intimate space within YOUR community.

I really liked meeting and talking to people at the conference. For instance, a gentleman from Germany approached me with how his company is trying to do what MerchantCircle does in Germany (Here's his company, if you can read German). Even though we're currently only in the U.S., several people from overseas mentioned they had checked out our site before.

It's also real nice to meet and chat with some of the bloggers around the local internet space, rather than just trading e-mails. It helps you see them a little differently. For instance, Greg Sterling has a well-timed sense of humor that unfortunately doesn't come out in his blogs. Peter Krasilovsky is probably one of the nicest guys you'll meet, but it hurts your neck talking to him, because he's so tall! Donna Bogatin minds her business, wary of hearing the 30 second elevator pitch, and constantly nursing a martini. Even Ahmed isn't all that cynical once you sit down and talk with him.

Can't wait to see you all at the next conference!

Community Relations

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Why Fonzie Would Kick Your Butt

The 'Fonz' on Happy Days knew about his reputation. Heck, everyone knew about his
reputation. He could end fights without even throwing a punch. He could pick up girls
without opening his mouth. If he wanted to, he could steal your customers without breaking a

His reputation was managed to a tee.

Here at MerchantCircle, we want to make sure that you can manage your reputation. And
believe me; you have one, not only on the streets, but on the web. (Thanks to that darn Al Gore!)
Al Gore
So to counter this influx of content from consumers, we created a reputation score for you
so you know where your business is being listed, or more importantly, isn't being listed so
you can do something about it. That reputation score goes up as you take back control of
your web presence and reputation and gain more traction with customers.
Fonzie had a kick butt reputation, but once people got close, they could see he had a great
as well.

Community Relations

Thursday, March 8, 2007

It's Not You, It's Me....

MerchantCircle does things differently that everyone else. No qualms about it.

Other sites give complete control to customers and their reviews. We give complete control to you, the business owner. Don't like a review? Delete it. Want to customize your business listing? It's yours. Upload pictures, blog about your business, build coupons, share tips... whatever you'd like.

We want to make sure that the web isn't a scary place for you to navigate, but we also want to make you aware that customers are writing reviews about your business on the web. We want to show them to you and many times those reviews aren't flattering. Don't take it personal with us. We just want to let you know so that you can manage your online reputation.

We're different. I've already said that, but we're different because we're letting you know that this information is out there. No one else is doing that. The web is a rapidly changing, consumer-driven destination. It's only fair that you can keep track of it all.

Community Relations

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Porn, Porn, and the Rest of the Web

It's a crazy world out there on the web. Full of porn, information, pictures, reviews, and did I mention porn? Well 2 out of 5 ain't bad. Just kidding.

How does one navigate on the web without getting something unwanted? Well the reality is, you probably can't. The web is becoming full of user-generated-content where everyone has their 'space', their 'voice', and their reputation. No where in society has our first amendment right been given so much exposure than on the web. Heck, even a schlub like me can be heard by thousands!

Here at MerchantCircle, we want you, the business owner, to be able to have your voice. You're attracting customers on the web and we've given you the easy-to-use tools to make sure you're found in search engines. Paramount to that happening is you taking advantage of the tools by blogging, building coupons, uploading pictures and linking to other businesses.

We're making it easier for you to understand this by giving you a merchant reputation score that shows you what you need to do, to make sure you're creating content that search engines like. Your listing is already search engine optimized, but it gets found higher with the more content you create.
parent pic
Think of it like this... you can have a kid, but if you don't supplement his/her growth with love, education, arts and food, they will find it difficult to thrive. It's the same with your web presence. It needs nourishment, coaxing and a flair of personality to stand out and be successful.

Your business needs the internet, not the other way around. And the way I talk about your web listing - I may need a therapist. Hmmm....maybe I can find a virtual one. I've got a 2 out of 5 chance.....

Community Relations

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Death of a Tie

tie collection
I have a pretty nice collection of ties leftover from my days as a news reporter and I'm sad I haven't worn a tie in almost a year. Those darn things cost a bundle and now, thanks to those darn techies and their tattered jeans and hoodies, I have to dress like a pauper! Gone are the days when I could hide my battered ego and self-esteem behind a well placed tie-shirt-suit combination. Gone are the days when I'd lie in bed giddy about the possible combinations and permutations. Gone are the days when I felt better than everyone else.

Oh, so sad. Now I get the feeling that my mom thinks I don't have a job because of what I wear to work. (A lot of people still live with their moms - of course most of them are under 18....)
loser guy

Although I've lost my ties, and my self-aggrandizing ways, I've gained much more in terms of story quality. I use to chase the stories everyday, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Now I know I've got a great story to tell everyday.

It's nice to tell people I work for a company that provides a web presence free of charge to any business owner that needs one. It's nice to be able to tell people that search-engine-optimization isn't only for the Big Box retailers and the rich. It's nice to be able to say that the local web space is full of consumer reviews and we make sure business owners have a chance - MerchantCircle.

Now if only I could bring back the tie......

Community Relations

P.S. Check out this tie-less guy. At least he doesn't have a pocket protector.