Friday, April 29, 2011

A Quick Review of This Week's Small Business Trends

From Facebook to Royal Wedding mania, we've got a wrap-up this week's most interesting news stories related to small businesses. Take a look!

Facebook Jumps into Crowded Coupon Market (Reuters)

With the new service, Facebook becomes the latest Internet heavyweight to jump into the red-hot daily deals market pioneered by Groupon a few years ago. Last week, Google Inc began marketing a new daily deals service dubbed Offers to users in Portland, Oregon, with plans to expand to San Francisco and New York, and invested $175 million in LivingSocial in December. (Read More)

Smartphone Users Are Using Their Phones In The Bathroom (HuffPost Tech)

It's clear that the portable quality of the smartphone has a great deal to do with they way its used. Search engine sites were the most popular type of site that users visit, and ninety percent of mobile searches ended in an action of some kind, such as buying a product or visiting a restaurant.
(Read More)

SMBs Need Real Plans For Social Media (InformationWeek)

Without clearly defined goals for social media activities, small and midsize businesses risk chasing an elusive return on their investment in the technology.
(Read More)

5 Reasons Why Effective Marketing Makes Your Business More Valuable (WebProNews)

If indeed you have any vision of selling your business in the future you’ve got to focus on marketing instead of simply focusing on sales.
(Read More)

The Entrepreneurs’ Princess (Wall Street Journal)

When this couple says their "I dos," the royal family will officially be wed to the dreams and aspirations of millions of entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.
(Read More)

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Quick Review of This Week's Small Business Tredns

We're hookin' you up with a few interesting articles we think you should be reading... Just keeping you in the know.

Twitter Tries to Widen Appeal to More Users  (Wall Street Journal)

The San Francisco company, which lets users broadcast and view short messages, wants to make it easier for new users to navigate the service and help longtime users find interesting content. (Read more)

Google’s Daily Deals Service Emerges to Take on Groupon (GigaOm)

The initial launch of the beta service is in Portland, Ore., while residents of New York City, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. are also able to sign-up in advance upcoming launches of Offers in their cities. Users need to register through Google, then will receive regular e-mails alerting them to deals and coupons in their area worth 50 percent or more off. (Read more)

How to Use Video to Market Your Business (Entrepreneur)

The average Internet user watches an astounding 186 videos a month, according to comScore Inc., a global digital market measurement service. Video engages people in a way that photos and text alone can't. For small-business owners, using video in your marketing can bring faces, voices, personality and heart to your operation, while also demonstrating your authenticity. (Read more)

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Quick Review of This Week's Small Business Trends

For this week's news roundup, we've collected some interesting reports on small business trends and ideas... just doin' out best to keep you in the loop! 

Coupon services keep sprouting up, but will all of them make the cut? (

Consumers have long complained about telemarketers calling in the middle of dinner to pitch new vinyl siding or satellite TV. Now, businesses face a similar scourge: salespeople from Groupon, BuyWithMe, LivingSocial, and other coupon services eager to get them to offer deep discounts on products and services. (Read more)

Learn how to collect from slow payers (New York Times)

Small business owners know it is cash flow or die. While the recession officially ended in June 2009, many companies are still reeling. Credit can be hard to come by, and profits have not completely bounced back. On top of that, many customers are taking longer than ever to pay their bills. (Read more)

Small businesses look across borders to add markets
(USA Today)

Commerce, along with the Small Business Administration and the Export-Import Bank, are making a big push to help small and midsize firms dramatically increase exports. (Read more)

8.8 million tablets in use at SMBs (InformationWeek)

There are nearly 9 million tablets in use at small and midsize businesses in the U.S., roughly half of which were purchased by employees as consumers and later brought into the office environment, according to new research conducted by Techaisle. (Read more)

Turn your house into a billboard, get free mortgage

Startup advertising firm Adzookie has latched on to a high-profile way to publicize itself: by turning homes into massive billboards. (Read more)

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

MerchantCircle Gets Serious about Improving Local Search and Site Quality

Chalk it up to the sweet smell of the Spring… Or maybe it's our excessive passion for building the very best tools for local business owners- either way, the MerchantCircle team is excited to share the details of our seasonal clean up.

As a free platform offering User Generated Content (UGC) opportunities, we know that we're sometimes subject to users posting low-quality content. In an effort to strengthen the network and provide the best experience for both our merchants and our consumer audiences, the MerchantCircle team has taken some serious strides to improve local search quality, and better connect local merchants with local customers.

Our community of over 1.6 million (really awesome) merchants provides the cornerstone for ensuring quality content. These guys know their stuff so they're now empowered to flag profiles and material that doesn't meet MerchantCircle expectations. 

Vice President of Product and Marketing, Darren Waddell remarked, "We recognize the asset we have in a community of intelligent, vocal, and passionate business owners. We wanted to give them input on what they see during their daily MerchantCircle engagements."


We've also recently rolled out a new Merchant Quality Score (MQS) program that will aid us in identifying low-quality content throughout the site. The system is comprised of multiple touch points in conjunction with scores to give an overall index to all User Generated Content generated on MerchantCircle. This proprietary algorithmic approach also ensures that spam or adult content can't make its way to MerchantCircle.

"The new algorithm is easily adaptable to catch both existing and new low-quality content, through a combination of intelligent filters and specific triggers that we have implemented throughout the site," said Director of Product Management, Dennis Hu. "We'll continue to roll out more protective features throughout MerchantCircle to leverage our user base and have our community help us ensure quality content creation." 

Today we also announced our partnership with search- quality leader Blekko, who will help us improve quality by providing a broad, third party perspective that only a search engine could deliver.

Additionally, MerchantCircle members will help curate Blekko's new "/small business" slashtag- offering helpful resources and top-notch sites that will add a needed merchant perspective to searches of this type.

The slashtag search for local businesses is now available in the MerchantCircle dashboard, alongside the new Bloglines RSS reader.  Both additions help local businesses find high quality local and business information

We're dedicated to creating the very best user experience and we're excited about these latest improvements. Thanks for being a part of the MerchantCircle family and for all the feedback that has helped us make MerchantCircle the largest online network of local business owners.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Another Review of Last Week's Small Business News

Baseball has started, March Madness has ended and spring has sprung here in MerchantCircle's hometown of Mountain View, California.  In case you were a bit distracted by ballgames and brilliant weather, here are a few interesting articles you might have missed...


Stuck in Smallsville (

American women are launching new companies at 1.5 times the national rate, but most of these queen bees are not growing their companies beyond 100 employees or $1 million in revenues, a new survey from American Express finds.  (Read More)

Why You Need to Start Branding ASAP (Fox Business)

When starting a new business, brand establishment tends to take a back seat to hiring the right people, attracting customers and generating sales, but maybe it shouldn’t. (Read More)

Getting Money Into the Hands of Small Businesses (WSJ)

The recession's grip on small-business owners has loosened, but unemployment remains stubbornly high and access to credit is still tight. (Read More)

Fast-changing pace of local advertising
(Media Life Magazine)

Online local advertising has resumed its hot pace after a short blip during the recession. In fact, according to a report from Borrell Associates, the local ad tracking firm, the internet is on pace to surpass newspapers as the No. 1 source of local advertising revenue by 2015. This is a landmark prediction, as newspapers have always been No. 1. (Read More)

APRIL FOOL'S: 10 Favorite Fake-Outs
(Business Insider)

Scanning news feeds on April Fool's Day is a bit like traveling down Alice's rabbit hole.

It's hard to tell reality from wishful thinking, spiteful revenge, and random hallucinations of people who spend too much time looking at their computers. That said, once you sort the fact from the fancy, it's fun to look back at the best pranks of the day. (Read More)