Saturday, August 28, 2010

MerchantCircle VP and GM Andy Halliday discusses the new Local Content Studio

In late May we launched a new content production system called Local Content Studio at MerchantCircle that adds targeted information to specific pages and pays the producer of the content via Paypal. We formally announced this program on Thursday to the public and I'd like to elaborate some more for our members here today. 

Our first effort was focused on adding descriptions with links and photos to each of the 30,000 U.S. city pages on MerchantCircle. Our growing team of paid freelance writers built production to over 5,000 city descriptions a week and in just a couple of days from now we will have completed all of those city descriptions. The best writers developed routines to research, compose, and add hyperlinks to their own personal format for a city description, and were paid $2 for each one approved. The top producer, Rebecca from Council Bluffs, IA, delivered over 350 quality city descriptions in one week! Editors return submissions for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and factual errors, and writers are calibrated by their approval rate, putting a premium on proofreading before submission. You can see an example of this work here.

Take a look at your own local city page, which you can find by searching on the city name and state without any text in the first search box….or you can simply click on the city name in the “breadcrumb” in the space below the search box on any listing page--which looks like this: Top > MO > Saint Louis.

While we quickly produced basic information for each of tens of thousands of cities, the longer-term objective is to call upon the local expertise of our merchant members to provide unique local perspective on their towns, their community, the businesses and the recreation facilities that are part of that community. Today merchants can edit the city descriptions to add information that is missing or to add perspective that only local insiders would know. Here is a great example of a city description done by a local merchant:

In the coming months, we are going to build several new content modules that will invite contribution from our network of local merchants, and give them an opportunity to share their knowledge about their town and their profession. It’s a win-win for merchants, who will get exposure for their business whenever their expert content is viewed, and they can be compensated for certain types of content, like specialty articles on their chosen profession.

The grand purpose behind this new content effort is to assemble the best local information online, in order to improve the quality of the search experience for anyone looking for information about our towns and cities and the businesses in them. Who better to do this than the merchants who host the retail and service offerings for a community, and who are locals themselves with unique views on the town? When community members build out information about their businesses and professions, and contribute to collected “insider” knowledge about their community, the rich pages that result will bring more search traffic to these pages and expose more web visitors to the circle of merchants who make up that location’s commercial network.

MerchantCircle has merchant members in each of 25,000 cities and small towns across America with more than 200 residents. So this approach to collecting local insight onto MerchantCircle pages on the web can reach to what we call the “Long Tail” of local information. We don’t just concentrate on the major cities that are of interest to all advertisers because of the concentration of people in those places, rather we can reach out to collect information across the great spectrum of places in the U.S., from neighborhoods in the largest metropolitan areas all the way down to small town America where a few businesspeople serve a small community, like Talkeetna, AK: .

Look for more expanded information about every city and town in the U.S. and around the world coming from the new Local Content Studio. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to sign up yourself and become a contributor to this important “crowd-sourced” collection. Visit this link to get started:

Thanks for reading,

Andy Halliday

VP, GM for MerchantCircle Local Content Studio

1 comment:

  1. wow..................this is great that you launched a new content production system.I think it will be very useful for all type of producer.