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.

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4 Response Comments

  • Mike Blumenthal  April 21, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Ah, a more mature industry would be no fun at all.

  • laura  April 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I wanted to respond becuase I had a $348 charge on my debit card. I tried to contact MC many times with great difficulty and did receive a call back from a David . The charges to my account were explained to me because I paid for a website for a company called Bit Market. MC had my credit information and also my home address linked to the creation of this web page called New Zealand Authentics. Long and short of the story they did not have my email address which is needed to sign into the account nor did they have my authority. They are fully aware that my credit card was misused. They explained to me that the company that is listed can’t even be contacted because it is a bogus phone number listed on MC and goes to a fax machine. The so called Bit Market is in Kenosha,WI. Anyhow MC representative David was empathetic to my story and is in full awarement that my debit card was misused by this so called company selling electronics. They got my card information because my son tried to by an Apple Touch off a company called GigaDrive which unbelievably is no longer searchable on the web. Hum how interesting. What I don’t understand is why MC would continue to carry the listing for Bit Market if they know it is bogus and maybe they could be a bit more helpful by sending me a letter to turn into my debit card company so maybe I can recoupe the money when I contest the charges with the card company. And Darren I know you have responded to this site and I will cut and past this onto the other address you listed. Maybe you can talk to David and get my number he has both my home and work and we can get this taken care of. Sadly enough this isn’t money I worked for but was my son’s child support money. If you don’t believe me look up Pennsylvania Eppicard. Thanks so much and Darren hope to verbally hear from you soon.

  • laura  May 4, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    MC has agreed to refund my money and they did remove that bogus post for that company I will update on the status of the refund. And the MC staff was helpful

  • Richard Myhers  January 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I spent $100 for 12 leads months ago and have received none. I paid $100 to be listed on search engines and only have CitySearch (Minneapolis) and not Google or Yahoo. I asked why and David Gwyne (proprietor) said it was only 7 weeks ago I did this and it takes time.Dahhhh! I wonder why I have received no leads. I am going to ask for a refund.
    Rich Myhers
    Energy Era Companies, LLC