Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's new at MerchantCircle

Every month we try to push out great new features for our merchants to enjoy and help them find new customers here at MerchantCircle. This month is no exception, we have loads to offer so take a moment, read what’s new, and start taking advantage of our new offerings.

  1. Custom URL – Want a shorter, easier to remember url for your MerchantCircle listing? Check out our Custom URL feature. You can claim your custom url by 1) Log into MerchantCircle 2) Click on Listing Configuration 3) Click on Edit Business Profile. From there scroll down to the Customer URL field, fill in your desired name space and click save. From then on, it’s yours. Give your new url to your customers, print on business cards, and place on any advertising you do.
  2. Widgets – Display your MerchantCircle colors on your personal website, MySpace page, and email signature. It’s easy, just go to our downloads page, copy the html next to the example widget and use where you see fit.
  3. Getting Started Guide – Have questions about MerchantCircle? We’ve compiled an easy to use Getting Started Guide to using MerchantCircle and all the features we offer to find new customers. Download here and let us know what you think.
  4. Better Forums – We’ve restyled our forums, added a sticky thread feature, included search capabilities, and now have the ability to assign moderators. Check out our forums today and join the discussion. And, if you are interested in becoming a moderator, drop us a note at and let us know why you would be a good fit.
  5. Talk to Me - Ever wish you could interact with your online visitors? Well, we've just created a new feature called "Talk to Me". This feature establishes a 2 way dialog between your visitors and yourself on your MerchantCircle listing. Check back often to see what people are saying or asking of you. Participate regularly and it can drive even more customers through your door.

As always we’re constantly on the look out for the next wave of features to offer our merchants, so if you have feedback be sure to let us know.

I’m waiting to hear from you.


Product Marketing

Friday, April 20, 2007

Using MerchantCircle to it's fullest

Every now and then I like to highlight a few of our exceptional merchants on MerchantCircle. These guys are the ones that use MerchantCircle to its fullest by blogging, creating coupons, uploading pictures, and basically using all that we have to help them find more customers online. It's always hard to pick the right ones, considering the vast number we have (116,000 and counting) but I try my best and often grab a handful of the ones that seem to spark my attention first.

This month we have

1. Helping Friends LLC of Akron, OH
2. Lorenzo Glass Gallery of Port Royal, SC
3. J & S Roofing and Remodeling of Kannapolis, NC
4. Elaine Barnett Pet Sitting of Ruckersville, VA
5. Healing Therapeutic Massage of Claremore, OK

If you're in there area, make sure you drop them a line and let them know you found them on MerchantCircle.

I'll be following up soon with another handful, so if you think your business should be featured and or just have a great story to tell drop me a message at

Look forward to hearing from you!

Product Marketing

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sanjaya - MerchantCircle's American Idol

SanjayaHate him or love him (Hate him), the fanaticism of American Idol viewers toward Sanjaya Malakar has extended to MerchantCircle. Normally, it's business owners who are creating MerchantCircle listings, but technically anyone can create one - it really is that easy. In this case, it was a Sanjaya fan - or non-fan. You be the judge.
We know how Simon feels and fans recently voted him off - but this page will always be around (as long as the creator wants it that way).

Check out the Sanjaya MerchantCircle page, by clicking here.

Community Relations

Thursday, April 12, 2007

MerchantCircle on

As I mentioned before, MerchantCircle headed out for its first on-camera interview in New York recently. Click here or on the image to check out the story from


You've got to sit through a 15 second commercial - which sucks, but at least it's short (thanks Visa, I guess it's true, you can't go anywhere without it). Let us know what you think.

Community Relations

It's all about the community

Let's face it, starting and running a business is tough work. I remember reading that some 600,000 small businesses fail each year. 600,000 is a huge number and because of this, I think it's great to see our merchants banding together in support of one another on MerchantCircle.

You can see this most obvious in our Merchant to Merchant forums. Here you can find the support and help of our merchants to questions like How do I generate customers walk-ins?, What are some free or affordable ways for me to promote my business?, and my personal favorite Has being a MerchantCircle member helped bring you sales?.

I think it's wonderful to see this kind of support in our community. I can't wait to see more! So, if you have some great advice to share, feel free to stop by the MerchantCircle forums and lend a hand. I guarantee you that your support will be greatly appreciated.

Product Marketing

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Narcissism, Hubris and Me.....

After a drug-induced weekend filled with strippers and booze, I asked my mom to leave the room so I could do some serious soul-searching. I've always been a humble guy, but I just can't help but love the company I work for. You see, I'm not one of those people who works for a company to collect a paycheck (although it is nice). I took a pay-cut out of college as a host at Hard Rock Cafe in San Diego to my first journalism gig in Pocatello, ID.

That's love.

I work at MerchantCircle because we're doing a GREAT and NECESSARY deed. We've built, essentially, a FREE website for every business in America.

Let me explain why I'm going into this. I've recently been called less-than-humble and narcissistic even. Sure, maybe I toot MerchantCircle's horn too much. But it's genuine excitement. How many times do we need to write boring blogs about the importance of blogging, or about building coupons, or about the importance of being found high in search engines? All of which are very important for our merchants.

I write the MerchantCircle corporate blog to try and entertain and let our merchants know about their growing community and about why they should continue to invite their merchant friends.

Now if I were writing just about me, it would be all self-deprecation. Let's start with a long list of embarrassing moments in my life. (I am narcissistic after all!)

- I got beat up in 5th grade by a girl because I tried to take her spot on the Merry-Go-Round. (I haven't fought since, but I will so take you Stephanie Smith from Huntsville, TX if we ever meet again.)

-In high school, a bird once pooped on my head. Fortunately, it was on my brand new fitted Atlanta Braves hat.

-During my first day behind the anchor desk filling in for sports, I read off the teleprompter my own name as 'I'm Kevin Lee-ooo'. (I should have spelled it phonetically or how it sounds. 'Loo' or 'Lue'. Or maybe I should have repeated kindergarten.)

-People at work call me T-Bone and worse yet, I gave myself the nickname.

I could go on, but we'll stop there. You know, a news director once told me, 'be more worried if people AREN'T talking about you'.

Kevin Leu "Lue"
P.S. I am sooooo not hubristic! (Did I use that word right? I had to look it up several times.)

Friday, April 6, 2007

Building a better MerchantCircle

It's been great to see all of Kevin's posts over the last few months on MerchantCircle's blog. Whether it's him talking about what's going well or what sucks, he is always funny. But, I suppose not everyone thinks so, here is a post mentioned that says maybe we are not humble enough. I think honestly some people are taking Kevin's tongue in cheek style a bit too seriously. Now, I love Sack's blog, I also love the blogs of a lot of other people who share their company story (Check out,, and

We are very proud of what we do, we have grown by 1000 merchants (A couple of our latest - P2000 Insulation, LMS Video Surveillance Systems, and Happy Tails Pet Care Services) in the last couple of days and that is not even close to being a great period for us. We like the growth but we are driving to get more merchants to use more of what we have already built for them. We just did a big customer survey and found that 40% of our users did not know of some of our features.

We definitely have work left to do.

For example, you can

* Publish your company blog
* Create coupons and have them distributed around the web
* Upload pictures and videos
* Send out a weekly, biweekly, or monthly newsletter

We're constantly striving to improve and will keep asking for your input as to make MerchantCircle the best it can be.

Ben Smith
Chairman, MerchantCircle

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Back to the Big Apple for Some Face Time!

Big AppleJust months after heading to New York to accept AlwaysOn Media's Award as one of the Top 100 Private Companies and Newcomer of the Year out of over a thousand candidates, we're headed back to New York again - this time for some press interviews on Wall Street. We don't want to spill the beans just yet for whom, but we're pretty excited. In fact, it will be our first on-camera interview.

Of course, we've received a fair amount of attention from online media, including and print publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine, now it's time for the next step in the media chain! At this pace, by the end of the year, expect MerchantCircle to be starring in a feature attraction in Hollywood.

And just one more thing, MerchantCircle recently shot past 100,000 merchants and as of today stands at 112,000. That's 112,000 in just 9 months!!!! Sshhhh, keep it down though, I'll need some plastic surgery and liposuction before Hollywood comes beckoning.....ugly-guy-5

Community Relations