MerchantCircle.comPoor telephone marketing strategy

S
This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer

This company, www.merchantcircle.com , is a directory for businesses in all areas. I thin they get their listings from a phone book and an old one at that. They then let you sign up for free, or better yet, sell you a subscription to promote your business.

We received 3 telephone calls last Friday at 3 different telephone numbers in our Salon. The message was the same each time. You have a negative review at merchantscircle.com.

When we checked it out there are no reviews for any of the those particular stylists. Just address info.

When I googled merchantcircle.com I found quite a few blogs are reporting the same thing. It seems to be a marketing ploy to get business owners to go to their site and look for the bad review, maybe thinking they should sign up.

Since I know of no one who has ever heard of merchantcircle.com I would guess that is their POOR strategy.

Responses

  • enigma-1 Dec 05, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    "they are now hosting with Internap"
    Internap..major source of spam, they have other clients like telepacific.net they never respond to emails the only thing they understand is when their IPs are blacklisted.

    0 Votes
  • Ju
    Julia2 Oct 01, 2009

    I can't find free advertising on their website.

    0 Votes
  • Je
    Jennifer Roberts Apr 02, 2009

    As a fast-growing startup with just 17 employees, we are working hard to support our 720, 000 members while keeping most of our services free. For best customer support, we ask merchants to contact us via this page: http://www.merchantcircle.com/corporate/contact.html. On this page we offer free live chat, free self-service options and a “frequently asked questions” section. These free resources typically address 95% of all support questions, including all of the concerns raised in these comments. For merchants who use our free services but want priority customer support, we offer paid support options (they can also be found on the link provided) including monthly paid support and a priority support line [protected]). Customers who purchase services from MerchantCircle receive priority support as part of their paid service.

    Thanks for your patience and understanding.

    0 Votes
  • Pe
    people Mar 04, 2009

    I have a business but never signed up with them and got a phone call??? I went to their www. and almost signed up but then checked google and found so many people saying they lost money and how badly they operate>>> they even conned yahoo.com to work with them. yahoo should know from us the people how horrible this merchantcirlce company is and that will be a good sting in their pocketbook... maybe even enough of a storm and we can put them out of business...

    0 Votes
  • Go
    GOSTRAT Feb 15, 2009

    Here is a correction for you.

    svcolo.com has booted Merchant Circle and they are now hosting with Internap. Please make it a point to call them and complain. Their contact information is:

    http://www.internap.com

    404.302.9700
    [email protected]

    877.554.4412 or 617.225.0072
    [email protected]

    800.769.5574 or 312.207.0578
    [email protected]

    972.661.1960
    [email protected]

    303.524.1130
    [email protected]

    713.495.2000
    [email protected]

    213.533.4111
    [email protected]

    954.315.3857
    [email protected]

    212.809.3522
    [email protected]

    215.789.3380
    [email protected]

    415.296.8522
    [email protected]

    408.452.8190
    [email protected]

    206.269.4388
    [email protected]

    703.903.9492
    [email protected]

    Lets deluge them with calls and emails and let them know that we have had enough of predatory Marketing practices

    GOSTRATH

    0 Votes
  • Za
    Zak Oct 10, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I received a automated call from MerchantCircle as well. My information was wrong-- and in fact this is not the first online directory my information has been wrong. After a little surfing on their site, I found the removal link in their FAQs--- here is the link to have your phone number removed: http://www.merchantcircle.com/optout/remove/. Also, in the same FAQ is a link to have your phone number placed on their Do-Not-Call: http://www.merchantcircle.com/optout/remove?reason=optout/

    0 Votes
  • Jo
    JOE Oct 03, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have to tell you, that I am very dissapointed to read all of the negative feedback on merchant circle...

    But sad to say I agree with the rest of you this, has also happend to me, merchants circle sent me 3 emails telling me that merchants have been emailing them telling them my bussiness is not verified, and that I must verify my bussiness by signing up!

    I currently " THANK GOD " only have a free account !
    after receiving the email I did think about signing up but held off as I pay enough money for advertising!

    Now I am glad I came on to read all of this negativity!!

    A LITTLE FYI FOR MECHANTS CIRCLE:
    You better remove this bogus web site before you face SERIOUS CHARGES BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

    There are more than 15 negative compalints about a scam unfolding here!!!GOOGLE MERCHANTS CIRCLE

    THIS IS ILLEGAL BUSINESS

    0 Votes
  • Ni
    Nikki Oct 02, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    There are various pricing package that offer different options, including email newsletters and ads appearing on Google and Yahoo! (at $99 per month). Smith told me when I spoke with him that they had tested various customer acquisition methodologies over time and had achieved a “virtual zero-cost” strategy. This was a response to the now-perfunctory question about the capacity of sites to “pull” local businesses online without a YP-like local sales force.

    Even though consumers will discover MerchantCircle’s business listings on search engines (and so will local business owners searching for themselves), the site is not intended to be a consumer destination (you can’t do category lookups for example). If it succeeds, over time it could become one by default however. Putting that aside, the idea here is to offer a rich, structured landing page that substitutes for a website and additional marketing tools, including blogging.

    Many local businesses don’t want to build sites (even with the aid of templates, which often look to them to be too “generic, ” as the owner of my gym recently told me). Rather a structured, professional looking landing page is all that some businesses require. So what’s the difference between a templated, “generic” website vs. a standardized landing page? The difference is the SME’s expectation. If they’re paying for the site they want something more customized. But if the landing page is free or very inexpensive the expectations are different.

    Here’s MerchantCircle’s “showcase” of businesses that have adopted the site and related testimonials. Smith said that they were having considerable success in non-Silicon Valley secondary markets, which suggests that they’re doing something right. For example, here’s a listing/site for one of the featured businesses, Blonde Bear Bed and Breakfast, which is located in Alaska. In this case, the B&B’s own site is number one on Google, but MerchantCircle’s page is the third listing.

    SEO-friendly design is part of MerchantCircle’s strategy, both to drive traffic and to acquire merchants. Local businesses are using search engines to see where they show up online (a variation on the behavior of looking up one’s YP ad in the print book). And finding the MerchantCircle listing will drive some number of customer sign-ups, especially given that the most expensive option is essentially $100 per month – not much of a risk. The basic listing is about $30 per month, the cost of a local phone line.

    What’s different about MerchantCircle is the composite dimension of the offering – web presence + search marketing + CRM tools (newsletter, blog). Another interesting aspect of the offering is the “request a deal” feature. Consumers can essentially ask for a deal/discount, which makes it like a coupon. Businesses can be ethical or unethical about this (pretend retail or regular price is the deal), but this feature also aids in “tracking” where leads came from.

    I believe that getting small businesses’ attention is the hardest part of the sale. Getting that attention and the marginal support that’s offered by an in-person sales rep. is the value that the local sales force brings. But I also believe that once the culture changes to the point where everyone must have an online presence – and we’re only about three years away from this – merchants will be more actively seeking out options.

    With each new small business offering, some friction seems to go away. And local businesses are by the day becoming more interested and more sophisticated about the Internet. That doesn’t change the fragmented nature of the market and the patchwork of strategies required to bring more of these merchants online.

    As someone who is having a small business website built, I can tell you it’s a complicated and far too painful process. To the extent that MerchantCircle has found a simple way to bring local merchants online – it says it has 5, 000 already – and to cost-effectively market them through search the company will find eager adopters.

    MerchantCircle and others represent a challenge to yellow pages in several ways, but most immediately in terms of price. Yellow pages are selling print and Internet and search marketing. And while those products may be quite effective, especially in reaching a more and more fragmented consumer market, they can’t compete on price with an offering like this.

    Yellow pages may argue that the local businesses that would adopt a MerchantCircle aren’t going to put pressure on them because they would represent a “bold listing” at best. However if content falls out of the print book, in favor of a MerchantCircle, that will accelerate consumer abandonment of the print directory. And usage is where the yellow pages is most vulnerable right now. We’ll see.

    _________

    Here’s more from

    SiliconBeat and Peter Krasilovsky’s LocalOnliner. I’m corrected that the db provider is Amacai rather than InfoUSA.

    0 Votes
  • Po
    poohbear6301 Oct 01, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I think it is businesses like this that make it difficult for others to try and network to new contacts. I can't believe (okay, so I'm a bit too trusting) that they would actually have the brass b***s to send out soliciting letters in your name when the "ink" wasn't even "dry" on your own application.

    0 Votes
  • Ka
    katy Oct 01, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I got a recorded message sayingthat someone googled and business and wanted to know if it was real. well we are real that's why we have a tax id duh!! i wasted alot of my time researching merchantcircle.com. i don't think highly of their company and am pretty mad that i wasted alot my time, by figuring out who is merchantcircle.com

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    CSH Sep 30, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have had an account with Merchant Circle for several months Today, I received a phone call and email informing me that our account needed to be “Verified”. I naively provided five business contacts for verification purposes.

    I was appalled to find out that within minutes, Merchant Circle used my email address to send a fictitious letter ostensibly FROM ME - with my signature - to my business suppliers recommending MerchantCircle.

    I am extremely disappointed in this company, and have no intention of keeping an account with them. This is beyond deceptive. I am currently exploring my options for recourse.

    0 Votes
  • Go
    GOSTRAT Sep 23, 2008

    I have some information. Merchantcircle is hiding their information, hosting contacts and the like. I did a little research and found that they are hosting with the following firm:

    Silicon Valley Colocation, Inc.
    PO Box 390804
    Mountain View, CA 94039
    Phone [protected]
    Phone [protected]
    email: [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    These people knew nothing of the trouble and asked that people contact them with complaints. Lets make a difference and shut down a bad company.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    Jamie Volner Sep 01, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Made a typo in my last comment "If MC is the one actually making these marketing ploys I do agree it SHOULD (not should not...sorry for the typo) be handled in a more professional manner.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    Jamie Volner Sep 01, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am a vendor who advertises on Merchant Circle and I am so shocked to hear this. I myself have only experienced postive responses with them and my visitor visits to our store has been doubled. Now, what I am wondering is as is with so many connections (sad to say the least) these phone calls that are being received could possibly be "outsiders" trying to pull a scam. This unfortunately causes companies bad reputations. I myself have experienced this in past dealings with other advertising firms. I know way to many vedors who use this service that are legitimate. This could be another problem, there may be people "signing up" that are not and using a good service to promote their bad business conduct. This makes it truly difficult for those of us who are legitimate. If MC is the one actually making these marketing ploys I do agree it should not be handled in a more professional manner. Be wary it is your right, go to MC itself and contact them that way verses whatever info is left on your voicemails, check with the BBB, investigate. Your business is of great value and protecting it is a must.
    My Best To All
    I am not leaving my business information only because I do not want anyone to feel I am soliciting just wanting to help.

    0 Votes
  • Ke
    KEVIN WALL Aug 23, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I GOT THE SAME PHONE CALLS AS EVERYONE ELSE LISTED ABOVE. I BELIEVE THIS COMPANY IS FRAUDULANT. THERE ARE NEGATIVE COMMENTS ON THIS SITE WITH PRICES THAT ARE NOT WITHIN OUR PRICING. ALL LIES FOR WHAT EVER REASON. LIEING IS NOT A GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? MR. ATTORNY GENERAL PLEASE HELP US.

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    Charmaine Harper Aug 21, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I got the phone call myself about the company I work for only with me it was a call saying we got a "good" review. I guess this is the new ploy to get someone's attention. Well, sadly enough for them, my company didn't join...poor marketing for sure.

    0 Votes
  • To
    Tom Lord Aug 16, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    If the " telephone marketing ratings are a ploy to get more Biz. why do you post the poor ratingsw as the first thing someone
    going to our website sees?
    I beg you to remove tis negative rating until I xcan varify just
    what it is I'm supposed oto be doing differently.
    Tom Lord
    pointthewaytl.com

    0 Votes
  • To
    Tom Lord Jul 25, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    If the customer ordered throgh my weebsite pointthewaytl.com and did not reeive his order, I need to know about it. My
    computer crashed a short time ago, and my files and programs
    may not hav transferred properly to the new computer.

    0 Votes
  • To
    Tom Lord Jul 25, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Confirm my status as legitmate.

    New company marketiug Safety, Security & Surveillance items
    pointthewaytl.com pointthewayenterprises.com

    Also new Website geewhizmorewebbiz.com

    Wicked good deal. check it out
    Tom Lord

    0 Votes
  • Ma
    mary mannes Jul 16, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Phone call with negative feedback... no order were received from the company, so how can there be a complaint. This is a scare tactic to generate more subscribers to their service. Very disappointing. If this were a legitimate group they would contact me, and I would act on it immediately. Scam.

    0 Votes
  • An
    Anne Ainsworth Jul 06, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Yes, I have had the same experiences as the people listed above. It appears to be a real scam, based on fear.

    0 Votes
  • Ma
    Mary Pat Jul 04, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I too have felt the negative impact of this horrible directory, MerchantCircle. They list my business information incorrectly costing me dearly. I want them to cease advertising my business. I want my business aligned with reputable directories only!

    0 Votes
  • Fr
    Fran Jun 12, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    This is a terrible way to do business. Please shut this company down. They have no right to try and rate a business they have never spoke with or researched.
    Fran

    0 Votes
  • Ry
    Ryan Jun 03, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Someone who has time, please lead a crusade and tell us what we can do to legally shut these punks down, I hate being called by a recording that spits out their message but hangs up before I can share mine with them.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    James May 30, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Same thing happened to us. Got the automated call, went to their site and found nothing. This has happened 10-12 times to each of our 3 different business phone numbers. It's a scam and they commit fraud by lying about nonexistant reviews. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. MerchantCircle.com is ### and I would never do business with a company that has so little respect for my time.

    http://www.bbb.org

    0 Votes
  • Lw
    LWS May 22, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have had to call merchant circle several times now in regards to existing customers finding our address listed incorrectly yet this company is using our business phone number. I was assured that our correct address would be updated immediately 8months ago. To-date no information has been updated and some other company using our legal name and phone number is still listed and being questioned by the general public. If this is not corrected I will most certainly be addressing the ATTORNEY GENERAL myself. Why is there no contact number listed for this company anymore??? DON'T LET THEM DO TO YOUR COMPANY AS THEY HAVE DONE TO MINE!!!

    0 Votes
  • Ka
    Kathy May 21, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I received a call from them also saying the same thing. I am writing to express my views on this illegal way that this company calls. I find it very rude to use an auto dialer. It doesn't allow us a chance to find out more about their call. How do I go about filing a complaint?

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    james May 19, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    where do you file a complaint?

    0 Votes
  • P0
    P'o'ed May 14, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    They use an automatic dialer to call you...I have had 2 calls in the last 4 weeks...teling to go to thie website and register as someone has inquired re our biziness...

    Auto dialers with no real live person calling are illegal ...pure and simple. The FCC and FTC are the overseeing federal agencies...file a comlaint...enough complaints and they WILL act.

    0 Votes
  • Mi
    Michael Georges Apr 25, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I received a call from Merchant Circle this morning with the exact same message.

    Go to the site, and there is absolutely nothing there about my business. This is a real stupid way to drive people to your site. I now have a very negative impression about Merchant Circle and will NOT ever do business with them.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid...

    0 Votes
  • El
    Elondra Broadnax Jan 28, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I too recieved a call at my business and did not find any negative rating. This ploy is very annoying and will not boost business for them. I will look on there website and find a number for them and have them come and read their review

    0 Votes
  • Jp
    J Putnam Jan 25, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I too, have been called by this company with a recording saying that my business had been rated. I have received 3 phone calls from this company and there are no information. I think this is a scam. There is also another salon by thse same name as mine, a customer called me last week and said there was a $600.00 charge on there credit card, I informed her that it wasn't my salon because I don't take credit cards

    0 Votes
  • Mm
    m Milt Oct 14, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    That is on the mark. this is a very poor marketing tool and should be reported to the attorney general's office.

    0 Votes

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