Wednesday, October 28, 2009

President Obama, Congress, and Small Business Help

President Obama has recently been pushing for banks to lend more to small businesses - especially the banks that were bailed out by taxpayer dollars.

"These are the very taxpayers who stood by America's banks in a crisis, and now it's time for our banks to stand by creditworthy small businesses and make the loans they need to open their doors, grow their operations and create new jobs," Obama said. "It's time for those banks to fulfill their responsibility to help ensure a wider recovery, a more secure system and more broadly shared prosperity."

While President Obama has been publicly pushing the banks to lend more, there has been no word on whether the banks have acknowledged his statements or will do anything about them.

So far, $5 billion in tax breaks has been made available to small businesses from this year's $787 billion economic stimulus package. Congress has also been pushing for immediate relief. Senator Mark Warner has made a proposal:

Warner wants to create a $50 billion loan fund for small businesses by taking $40 billion of the remaining Troubled Asset Relief Program money and adding $10 billion that would be raised from banks of all sizes. The president's plan would increase the top limits on Small Business Administration loans and provide lower-cost capital to community banks, credit unions and community development financial institutions. He's asked the Treasury Department and SBA to confer with Congress members, lenders and small-business leaders to determine additional steps to help businesses.

(Source: USA Today)

You can read the entire article here. You can also find out more about programs available to you at or get answers from other business owners here.

Community Relations

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MerchantCircle Member Janet Rothstein Featured in LA Times!

Janet Rothstein, owner of Rothstein Jewelers in Beverly Hills and recently appointed MerchantCircle moderator, was featured in the Los Angeles Times this week! As part of becoming a moderator, in return, we give our moderators any press interviews and opportunities that may arise - meaning free exposure for your business and ours.

Janet was quoted as saying:

Janet Rothstein, who runs a jewelry shop in Beverly Hills, used a company called MerchantCircle as her gateway to the online world, and she has since obtained a Facebook vanity URL for her page, where she has 63 fans. Having an online presence in so many places increases the odds that when someone searches on Google, they will find her.

Great job, Janet! We are still looking to increase the number of moderators in our forums - so please, first become a Top Merchant (click here for requirements), and then start actively contributing in the Forums.

Here are some of the news articles that feature some of our members - also, don't forget to check out our corporate press page.

Community Relations

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Merchants Create Content + Consumers Create Profiles = Everybody Wins!

The amount of deals and coupons that MerchantCircle members create every single day far exceeds any other network, with more than 930,000 members dispersed in every state and almost every county in the U.S., consumers stand to benefit the most. Currently, more than 20 million consumers a month visit MerchantCircle listings. Those that create Neighbors Profiles get the benefit of following their favorite merchants and seeing all the latest LOCAL deals in real time, you'll also see any good LOCAL deals you've missed in a weekly newsletter!

Below is a sample of what you'd get in your inbox.

Neighborhood Times Top

Sales and Promotions
For merchants, this is added incentive to keep your deals fresh by creating new coupons and/or sales and promotions each week. You can create coupons here or start a sale here or create a promotion here. Consumers will also get the latest business reviews and uploaded pictures - so, don't forget to keep your listing up-to-date!

As a consumer, be sure to join the neighborhood and create a Neighbors profile today here!

Community Relations

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Survey: Small Business and Social Networks

An online survey, recently conducted by Internet2Go, through MerchantCircle's most engaged merchants (having created blogs, uploaded pictures, built coupons, newsletters, etc.) - using a sample size of less than 5% - showed some very interesting results on how quickly small businesses are adapting social media.

Granted, the merchants surveyed are already predisposed to our network, we believe the survey shows that merchants are rapidly beginning to understand and embrace social media like MerchantCircle, Facebook, and Twitter.

"We believe the behavior exhibited by these small business owners is a pre-cursor of things to come – that small business owners will increasingly forgo expensive advertising options and embrace publishing their unique content across various social media outlets," said Darren Waddell vice president and MerchantCircle. "While MerchantCircle typically focuses on helping businesses get online for the first time, we are excited to be an important part of the social media strategies employed by this new segment of merchants."

Other survey findings include the following:

- 79% of respondents report annual marketing budgets of less than $5,000 per year with the 44% spending "less than $1,000" annually on advertising and marketing

- 80% of respondents have four or fewer employees

- Asked about their "biggest complaint" regarding online marketing the top two were "too costly" (26%) and "there's not enough time to do it well and still run a business" (15.9%)

- 75% said they monitor online reviews of their business. The most common method was by visiting specific review websites (47%) and by searching on their business name (44%)

- Despite its enormous popularity social media showed the biggest gap between SMB adoption and perceived effectiveness as a marketing platform.

You can read the entire press release here.

Community Relations

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Attaining 'Top Merchant' Status is Kind of a Big Deal!

Stemulite Fitness Formula
Stemulite Fitness Formula in Florence, OR, recently put out a press release after attaining 'Top Merchant' status on MerchantCircle. Achieving 'Top Merchant' status has proven to boost traffic to your MerchantCircle listing - for some, by over 300%!

From the release:

Matthew Wagner, Chief Executive stated, "We are very proud of this promotion from Although we have used their services a very short time we have already networked with hundreds of businesses and we have our eye on thousands more. I like to think of MerchantCircle as FaceBook for business."

Becoming a 'Top Merchant' isn't that difficult and the results are proven. You can log into your dashboard and get to the requirements here - or look below.

The Top Merchant badge requires the following qualifications:

- Complete your profile and list your categories
- Invite at least one merchant to your network (outside of MerchantCircle)
- Create at least one blog posting
- Upload at least 3 pictures and/or videos showcasing your business
- Create at least 1 coupon featuring special offers for your customers
- Have received at least 2 reviews (from customers or other merchants

Take the first step to gaining more customers for your business.

Community Relations

Monday, October 12, 2009

MerchantCircle's New Forum Moderators

As you know, we have some wonderful MerchantCircle Moderators currently perusing and helping out in the forums. What you may not know is that our moderators have also been an integral part in many of our new products, ideas, and growth in their local communities and on the web. Today, we're announcing 3 new moderators to join our original 6 - bringing the total number to 9.

Here they are!

- Janet Rothstein, Owner of Rothstein Jewelers in Beverly Hills, CA.

Janet Rothstein

- Deb Robinson, Owner of The Teeny Tiny Farms in Smithfield, VA.

Deb Robinson

- Jason Stevens, Owner of Fan Man Lighting in Burnsville, MN.

Jason Stevens

Thanks a lot! We look forward to your continued contributions in making MerchantCircle the best site for local businesses and consumers on the web.

If you would like to be a forum moderator, please start contributing in our Forums and your peers will pick you out before long. You'll get a number of perks including free MerchantCircle Verified, free Local Plus, as well as links from our forum, blogs, and newsletters, amongst others.

Community Relations

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Social Media to Help Your Life as Merchants and Consumers

Josh Catone from Mashable, "the social media guide" website, wrote a nice piece today titled: "Smarter Food: How Social Media is Making Our Cities Tastier".

The article highlights how merchants use social mediums to market and how consumers are using the technology available to them to access this information.

Promotion, of course, is one of the main reasons food merchants are using social media. In addition to helping restaurants connect with current customers in new and more personal ways, social media also allows restaurants to better connect with new customers. By making their establishments more easily discovered, food vendors can use the web to grow their business. Local guides like, Judy’s Book, and even Google Maps make restaurants easier to find and allow business owners to advertise directly to their most likely customers: hungry people searching the web for food.

From directories, to social networks, to phone apps, you can find a lot of good information in the article. Here at MerchantCircle, we have products that will get you onto all of the networks. Click here to find out more.

Get listed on all the sites below!


Community Relations

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 Adds MerchantCircle to Network
I met one of the founders of recently at the Gnomedex Conference in Seattle. is a website that allows you to update your status or micro-blogs across dozens of websites. A few weeks after my conversations with the founder, I was pleased to find out they had put MerchantCircle on their network.

You can now update your status on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MerchantCircle, and any number of top sites, and do it just once! We know how valuable your time is and we appreciate adding us to their network. While MerchantCircle is the best for your business needs, we know many of you use the other networks for leisure, fun, or professional interests, and use the same status message for all. This will help save you time.

Check out's MerchantCircle listing here or their website here.

Community Relations