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Consumers Can Now “Follow” Their Local Merchants and Get Expert Answers to Important Questions





Los Altos, California (PRESS RELEASE – September 18, 2009) – MerchantCircle (www.merchantcircle.com), the nation’s largest network of local businesses, today announced the launch of its first two products designed to save consumers time and money: MerchantCircle “Neighbors” (www.merchantcircle.com/signup/neighbor) and MerchantCircle “Answers” (www.merchantcircle.com/answers). Both products are powered by MerchantCircle’s nearly 1 million local business members to provide insights to consumers’ questions, provide real time deals and coupons and to create conversations between consumers and their local merchants.

“Our vision is to create online relationships between consumers and local businesses that save shoppers time and money and to help merchants grow revenue,” said Darren Waddell, vice president of MerchantCircle. “As consumers increasingly rely on the internet to make local shopping decisions, traditional channels like the yellow pages and newspaper circulars are dying.

We help local businesses compete in this new business environment, and we help shoppers find the information they need to purchase locally. Our Neighbors and Answers products are the logical extension of MerchantCircle’s mission to better connect local businesses with potential customers.”

Save Time With Merchant Circle Answers

Answers gives consumers the opportunity to tap into MerchantCircle’s 910,000 local businesses for expert advice on virtually any topic, all for free. Real business owner experts are glad to give consumers free advice on important questions in order to win their business. MerchantCircle doesn’t moderate the conversation; it just connects consumers to real experts who have the answers. Need to know what kind of oil to put in your truck or how to keep a dog from escaping the backyard? Car mechanics, veterinarians and professionals in every industry will quickly respond, saving you time and often money.

Save Money With Merchant Circle Neighbors

Neighbors enables consumers to “follow” local businesses for the latest promotions, coupons and announcements. Business owners can use the Neighbors “feed” as an easy way to communicate directly with their customer base and share information on new products, events or anything of importance to their customers. Want to receive alerts for deals on things like shoe repair services, landscaping, tax preparation or virtually any service in any industry? MerchantCircle connects you to the deals you are interested in, in your local area.

“MerchantCircle has built up a foundation of business listings, and it is now trying to add stickiness to those listings with its Neighbors and Answers programs,” said Peter Krasilovsky, vice president and program director, The Kelsey Group. “We’ve seen really strong results from some vertical players that have done similar things. To my eyes, it is a brave effort that is well done. If it succeeds, it will add real value for consumers and better position the company.”

Currently, more than 20 million consumers visit MerchantCircle each month looking for
information on local businesses. They can now quickly create a profile, which enables them to connect directly with local business owners, track and clip deals, and ask questions on a broad range of topics. During the Neighbors beta period, more than 55,000 consumers tracked deals from their local businesses.

“MerchantCircle Neighbors provides money saving opportunities from businesses of various
sizes,” said Diane Hartman, Neighbors member. “They also have helped me locate stores in my area that I didn’t realize existed. Finding deals through Neighbors is convenient, hassle-free and the savings quickly add up. This can be essential for survival in this brutal economic state.”

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Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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