There’s a great discussion going on over on Mike Blumenthal’s What Is Merchant Circle Up To Now? post. Mike had heard about Merchant Circle owning a lot of small business domains, did some research and suggested that MC could be squatting on a large number of SMB-branded domains and that many of these SMBs would be ignorant of this fact.
As readers of this blog know Merchant Circle is a hot topic for local online marketers and a number of these guys started to speculate in the comments section about sneaky things Merchant Circle may or may not be up to. This is where it gets interesting:
Darren Waddel, VP of Marketing for Merchant Circle, waded into the conversation to explain that Mike’s discovery was merely a by-product of their Instant Website service and there’s nothing strange or sneaky about it. Based on the comments I have read thus far there still seems to be a fair amount of skepticism or at least lack of clarity about MC’s program, but I am also seeing some of MC’s critics responding well to MC’s entrance into the conversation. For Darren’s part he seems to be going out of his way to include words like “respectfully”, even when responding to some commenters who are not buying what he’s selling.
In the past I think MC limited itself to more self-promotional, kind of spammy methods of getting their messages into blogs where their customers might be. I think this conversation represents an evolution for them in how they can interact with the industry in a transparent and mutually beneficial way. It ain’t the cure for cancer, but in this economy I’ll take any positive signs of evolution I can get.
If you are looking for advice on corporate reputation management you would do well to check out Mike’s post.
and (shameless plug) check this site out for Chicago flooring