Merchant Circle causes revolution amongst SMB’s

MarketWatch noted that MerchantCircle Revolutionizes ‘Feet on the Street’ Sales Force by Tapping Current Business Members.  The subhead read: Local Business Owners Rewarded for Signing Up Business Neighbors to Network. I also read with interest Greg Sterling’s related announcement: MerchantCircle Turns SMBs into Sellers where he noted:

In a clever twist, MerchantCircle is seeking to turn its thousands of SMB “members” (it now claims 630K) into a sales channel that will sell its services to other small businesses.

 I could imagine a headline that said instead: Merchant Circle implements new plan to turn neighbor against neighbor.

I can already see Matt McGee, moaning loudly, when he receives his first automated phone call from his local Plumber (Joe?) who mentions in the prerecorded call, that his daughter saw a bad review about Matt’s SEM services, and that Matt better scurry on line to MC for some reputation management and to verify his business.

While I think that the plan is brilliant, the “devil” as they say is in the details and I am sure that Merchant Circle will bring their very special view of marketing to the equation. Any local merchant would be well advised to not be the first one on the block to take up the offer until the details of their marketing strategy become clearer.

You wouldn’t want to be the first merchant to project Merchant Circle’s brand of marketing into your local neighborhood. It may be too clever by half as neighbors have long memories and the revolution of which MarketWatch speaks may not be the one that they envisioned.

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3 thoughts on “Merchant Circle causes revolution amongst SMB’s”

  1. Man…

    In my opinion, getting your neighbors hooked into the Merchant Circle cycle is doing them no favors. The marketing tactics that have been used by these guys belong in the Prohibition era, accompanied by dark alleyways and pinstriped suits. “Hey buddy, someone’s been saying bad things abouchu…”

    Frankly, Mike the first thing I thought of when I read about this was Amway, and then I went to Greg’s post and saw Steve Espinoza make that exact comment.

    And, yet, I am without a doubt that many small business owners will sign up for this. Goodness knows where that will lead.

    Miriam

    *Mike…looks like your first link in this post is broken.

  2. Doesn’t Amway stand for the American Way, after all? MC is just elevating “this opportunity” to a new level. :)

    Mike

  3. As if they didn’t already do enough to wriggle into SERP rankings for Local Business’s names, then sign the “customer” up so they can use the revenue paid by that customer to become a bigger competitor to that customer…

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