Mountain View, CA (PRESS RELEASE – May 15, 2010) – MerchantCircle, the largest social network of local business owners in America, today announced that it has expanded its online marketing platform across borders and overseas with beta versions now available in Canada (www.merchantcircle.ca), the United Kingdom (http://uk.merchantcircle.com) and Australia (www.merchantcircle.com.au).
Expanding the MerchantCircle footprint internationally will build upon a two year growth spree that has seen the company add 1 million local business members in just the last two years. MerchantCircle has been successfully providing small business owners across the country with a free online toolkit to market and expose their business information and promote to consumers through newsletters, blogs and by sharing their expert advice since 2006.
“Our long term vision is to provide as many small businesses as possible worldwide, the same tools that millions of U.S. based merchants have been able to leverage,” said Ben Smith, chairman and co-founder of MerchantCircle. “Mom and pop businesses in other countries struggle with online marketing and its associated costs the same way American small business owners do. We have received a number of requests to expand MerchantCircle’s offering internationally, and we see significant potential to form partnerships in each country.”
“There are many millions of small businesses outside the US that equally need help making the transition online,” said Greg Sterling, analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence and Opus Research. “It should be thus possible for MerchantCircle to duplicate its impressive success in this country in markets abroad.”
A significant small business audience is present in each of MerchantCircle’s new markets; the vast majority of 9 million businesses in the UK, Canada and Australia are classified as small businesses. This compares to roughly 15 million small businesses in the U.S. According to the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills, 99.3 percent of the nearly 5 million registered businesses are small (0 to 49 employees). In Australia, 96 percent of the 2 million businesses in the country have less that 20 people, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In Canada, 57 percent of businesses have only 1 to 4 employees based on reports from the Business Register of Statistics Canada.
“Fantastic! MerchantCircle in Oz! This is the very best news for small business owners in Australia,” remarked Lindy Asimus, owner of Design Business Engineering in Newcastle, an early adopter of MerchantCircle Australia. “The tools that MerchantCircle provides are like nothing else available in this countryfor small business. Now there is absolutely no excuse for businesses not to be online.”
Founded in 2005, MerchantCircle is the largest social network of local business owners in the nation, combining social networking features with customizable web listings that allow local merchants to attract new customers. More than 20 million MerchantCircle business listings across the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Australia are easily accessed on major search engines. Currently, 1.3 million merchants actively use the MerchantCircle network to upload pictures, blog, create coupons and newsletters and connect with other merchants. In addition to free services, MerchantCircle offers a portfolio of premium online advertising solutions including search engine marketing and instant website development.
Recognized by JMP Securities as one of the “100 Best Privately Held Internet Companies”, MerchantCircle is based in Mountain View, Calif., and funded by Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Steamboat Ventures and IAC. Learn more at www.merchantcircle.com.