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MerchantCircle

By - June 08, 2006

MerchantcircleThe week’s buzz is rising on MerchantCircle, a local search play with a twist. I spoke to CEO Ben Smith this week, and he got me smart on the idea behind it. In short, MerchantCircle is trying to get local merchants to play the search game on their own terms, and I like that idea.

SiliconBeat has some good thoughts on it:



…MerchantCircle has pre-populated its database with generic business listings. Business owners can then sign in to claim their profile pages.

…Smith doesn’t view MerchantCircle as a destination site for users. Most people won’t go here looking for a local bike shop, although you could. Instead, they’ll find MerchantCircle profiles when they’re Googling for Palo Alto bike shops, for example.

The “circle” in the company’s name comes from the idea that merchants will create networks of affiliated businesses by adding their names to their profile pages and swapping ads with each other. The idea is to give merchants an incentive to invite other merchants into MerchantCircle. Indeed, Smith is relying on this type of viral marketing to build his business because he doesn’t have a cadre of salespeople to recruit business owners.

Garrett French has more on MerchantCircle here, as does Greg Sterling.

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  • http://www.clickz.com Kate Kaye

    I wrote a piece for ClickZ about MerchantCircle earlier this week that may shed more light on the subject. They’re working with Jingle Networks (the free 411 guys) and talking to newspaper firms to help distribute merchants’ ads…

  • http://jonathanmendez.typepad.com/ Jonathan Mendez

    I take you back to November 2003, when many online businesses that were built by SEO (including link building) and living the good life of high natural rankings and free traffic were wiped out of business in one fell swoop called the Google Florida Update.

  • B

    These guys just phone spammed my company (a web startup with no customers) telling me someone posted a favorable review of us on merchantcircle.com, and that we should log on and update our profile. Jerk spammers.

  • Tony Page

    We have just been “jerk spammed”…and on the same day as B!
    Checked out our “favorable review”. It wasn’t even our company!! Esi is the company that was reviewed…and our phone # was listed as theirs!!! Ha-ha
    Their customers are going to call us. Lovely…

  • http://easterfenceinc.com Jim Miller

    We recieved the same phone spam as B and Tony. When I logged on our company could not be found. Imagine that. Just another scam?

  • Kathryn Fleming

    We recieved the same phone spam as B and Tony and Jim… Way to alienate potential business, eh?!

  • http://www.coloramic.com Don Pikovnik

    Wow, you guys got a “favorable review”, Coloramic got an “unfavorable review”. And I was too stupid to realize it was a scam!!!

  • R. Terry

    I also received a prerecorded message today regarding an “unfavorable rating.” But rather than log on to their website and give them another hit, I googled them and found this blog. They obviously have no ethics and I will never do business with them.

  • Jim Kerr

    Similar story to R. Terry – prerecorded message about an unfavorable rating from “one of your customers”. I imagine somebody figured that fear of a negative rating would cause a reflexive hit on their website to find out what it was.

    These things are durn near always…is there a good description? phone spam, junk calls, telephishing? And they’ve stopped giving you an opt-out option to request to be removed from their calling list.

  • TC

    Same story as Don Pikovnik, R. Terry and Jim Kerr: an “unfavorable rating” by one of my “customers”.

    I can’t help but still be disappointed that there wasn’t actually a rating there…

  • Kathryn Fleming

    I have no idea nor do I care to invite, fantasize, write about why you are under my Googled database but recently I noticed an inaccurate post about me. This “search” finding was truly inaccurate from where I went to school, what the name of a song was that I wrote on which CD. etc. All I know that it’s difficult enough to write clefs and treble clefs(will I ever write them standardized?)to repairing, repairing, preparing for climate change indigenously…here where I live. I don’t get paid very much in royalty checks(there’s hope!) but I sent 2 collections of music in form PA to the Copyright Office this yr. and there will be 2 re-recordings of 2 songs that I wrote in 2002 plus a new Christmas Song,(3 Christmas Songs Out This Year!!) “Santa’s Sleigh Froze In Mid-Air!”written in early Aug. by me on blank manuscript paper(writing everything from clefs/treble clefs to accentuation & tempo(timing is real important people!) in the Key of E with B flat and E flat. I’m writing a new collection of non-lyicaled music…some rhapsodies…melodies… I am not an artist…I am not looking for the big spotlight. I know what I have to do…OK? Now…who are you?
    K.F. M.A.

  • waz stevens

    The CEO of MerchantCircle.com, Ben Smith, is an ASS for aproving a phone spam scam like this.
    I too got a call saying someone had searched on google for my company and left a unfavoralble review of my company on MechantCircle.com. They said we should log on and update our profile. I went there and there are no reviews for my business. These guys are just phone spammers.

    Merchantcircle.com is going to go out of business with no one wanting anything to do with them. Jerk phone spammers.

  • Jeff

    My company received a similar spam call stating that one of our health care providers was slammed on MerchantCircle and that we needed to check it out and respond to it. After checking it out, we found that, like the other responses above, it was all bogus. It’s companies like MerchantCircle and their crap like this that keeps the Internet from achieving its inherent potential. It is too bad that companies and people like this get away with the nonsense they do and have no accountability.

  • Jay

    Consider writing to your state’s Attorney General and/or Public Utility Commission, to complain about the phone spamming.

  • Marianne

    Was contacted today. I was told that I was given an unfavorable rating. Name did not match business information either.

  • Carolyn

    I also got this scare-tactic phone message claiming that someone posted a negative comment about my business on Merchant Circle. Of course, there was nothing there. But, I had to sign-up in order to see that. Now, I can’t get my listing out of there. This is nothing but extortion.
    I’m calling my AG.

  • Steve

    About 10 minutes ago, I received the same call that many of you have about getting an “unfavorable review” from someone that had found our Google listing. Before going to Merchantcircle.com, I decided to Google them. After reading this blog, I’m not even going to bother going there to see if there really is an unfavorable review. Thanks for the info, folks.

  • http://richinteriors.com Rich

    Just received the same call. I supposedly received an “unfavorable” review.I was glad to find this blog and that a buzz is being created about this scam. Blows me away that start-up venture would alientate their prospects from the get-go. Anyone receive a response from merchant circle one this?

  • Dave

    Received the same call as those listed above. My ‘company’ received a negative rating. Too bad my company was placed in the wrong category, and that the mailing address was wrong as well. I guess I will have to run out and hire a PR firm to save my reputation! ;-) .

    One thing I have learned is that a tell-tail sign of a scam can be found in the WHOIS listing of the site. And this merchantcircle.com fits the mold perfectly: Anonymous registration through Network Solutions. No contact information for the Admin at all.

  • mike

    Ditto the unfavorable phone call. The people are completely unethical.

  • Seth

    Add my business to the phone-spam “unfavorable” list. Interesting how they started with “favorable” reviews, then switched to “unfavorable” when that apparently didn’t work. Pure slime.

  • Dan

    I had the same phone message with an unfavorable review, thank goodness I googled them (as most are apparently). Decent idea, bad business. I can’t wait for the inevitable copy cat sites to pop up and follow these jerks.

  • http://www.ypradio.org Lois Bent

    Got this today too, and found your blog while googling this spam/scam. Who are these guys? We are a public radio station, for goodness sake!
    Glad to have found you, at any rate.
    Lois Bent

  • Jeannie Guerrero

    Well what do ya know, I freaked out when I got the recorded message that I had a “negative” rating and right away went to their web site. I found my business and checked out my score. It was given a 3&1/2 stars. Not quite the “negative” score. I checked further at other local businesses that were listed and found a business that I know whom I think may have given away my info. to these people. I also noted a restaurant nearby that had a 5 star rating! There’s no way this restaurant could have scored a 5 star rating. I hope these people do not spam me again! I won’t be fooled again!

  • David W.

    Same story as everyone else. One of my people got a phone call saying we got an unfavorable review – phone spam. The information was marginally accurate; the ‘negative google review’ was four stars out of five.

    They also pregenerate ‘ads’ for local businesses. Ours shows a restaurant. We build motion simulators.

    Apparently they think we’re branching out.

    This is really unacceptable – spam followed by borderline extortion. If I can’t get the listing deleted, two people will receive phone calls in short order – my lawyer, and theirs.

  • john b

    Same here. Fortunately we do business with a small group of clients all of whom know us personally. This does reak though and I am going to send a note to the NJ Attorney General.

  • http://www.illuminova.com Steve in Wilmington, DE

    What a trash outfit! Phone spammed us with their pre-recorded “unfavorable” message. We googled them first, guessing they were but midden. We didn’t go to their site.

    They’re not going to win until they become a real business — and from what they’ve exhibited so far, they are going down a very wrong track.

  • http://battellemedia.com John Battelle

    Hey guys, I pinged CEO Ben Smith so he might respond…

  • mm

    Same story as the rest about the merchantcircle unethical and possibly illegal activities.

    I’ll stay away from these guys! Far away.

    I’ll also warn any small business that these guys have a bad reputation with an awful lot of small businesses.

  • kyle

    Same spam call made to my business……these guys have some balls…….I called the 1-866-849-3243 number from which the call was made and they have the guts to actually ask you to opt out of further calls…..

    Give venture cap firm Rustic Caynon Partners a call @ 1-650-654-8500 and complain about the sad state of their investment

  • At Smaih

    Same call, Merchantcircle is a scam and I plan to call the PA Attorney General to report this phone scam. I saved the message to send PA Attorney General also am considering contacting my attorney.
    I think someone should spam the crap out of their business, fry thier servers. One could only hope….

  • http://www.merchantcircle.com/corporate/blog/2006/09/challenges-of-growth_27.html Ben

    Hi John:

    We address the issues in some of the comments on your blog below. What’s more interesting than our little company’s issue is what you point out about search in your post. The pile on effect is really interesting. It is also interesting how were able to get an enormous amount of feedback from people so quickly because of the open communication on the web.

    We are looking to help merchants and search allowed us to know we had an issue quickly so we could work it. It really does provide a lot of value to a small company like us. Of course, some of it as has been pointed out by others might be the classic web echo, but regardless it is interesting. The content below can be found on our site with links at the URL above.

    MerchantCircle is focused on delivering services to enable local businesses to find more clients. As part of this service, we provide a web page for each merchant as well as tools that merchants can use to get the word out about their business (blogs, coupons, newsletters). The free MerchantCircle service is (as the name indicates) free and is being used by over 50,000 merchants currently.

    Merchants can receive ratings and/or reviews on their MerchantCircle listing. In the past, some merchants have raised concerns about not finding out their listing was available and more importantly that a consumer had posted information on that listing. We have been experimenting with many different methods of informing merchants when their listing changes. For example, when a listing is claimed, we notify the merchant via multiple methods to confirm identity. Some of these methods involve pro-actively contacting merchants who may not visit the site regularly or are unaware of the listing. These efforts have been made to try and manage a merchant concern.

    As you can imagine, this required some investment and some effort. In fact, for a while the entire team of 9 personally contacted local merchants. Anyone who was worked with lots of users can probably guess that this approach does not work when rapid growth occurs. Some of the experiments seem to be having unintended consequences and had some execution issues. We are working to address those issues while continuing to deliver value to merchants.

    In addition to our efforts to keep you informed, our system allows users to invite local merchants to join their network, or MerchantCircle. The growth in merchants has resulted in a large number of invites on the system over the past few weeks as merchants figure out that adding to their network will increase the ability of local customers to find their listing. We have received some concerns about this and are working to improve the situation.

    Merchants have complete control over their information on MerchantCircle. If anyone would like their listing to be removed from MerchantCircle please email remove@merchantcircle.com and include your business name and phone # and we will remove your listing from the site and your contact information from our system within the day.

    If you would like to use MerchantCircle to help grow your business, we look forward to working with you to continue to improve our ability to bring you local customers.

    Ben

  • Harry

    I also was suckered into going to Merchant Circle site by their “negative rating” phone spam today. I knew the rating couldn’t be true because I’ve been in biz 25 yrs, have a small base of clients, all personally known to me, and they are highly satisfied. Still, I worried that the crazy Web world would hurt my biz after hearing that phone spam msg today. I wish I had first searched for your site and not even logged on to them. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your spotlighting them. I will ignore them, except for calling the CA Atty Genl and warning friends. And ditto for them having my name misspelled AND for listing my street address (which I have NEVER listed in any public directory). It gave some clarity to learn they’re hooked up with 411.com, which seems a low-quality directory site. After 25 yrs of never listing my street address, SBC (now AT&T) erred and gave 411 my street address last yr; and at the same time, they also listed my unlisted # in directory. It was a real hassle to get them to correct these two errors, but talking with SBC Exec Office, I finally got cooperation and a small credit on my bill for the hassle. Thought 411 corrected their records at same time. Apparently the fall-out is still happening though, since now the private info leaked out from 411 to Merchant Circle, etc. How can you stop these people without getting hooked in to their system even deeper?????

  • http://www.merchantcircle.com MerchantCircle

    Send an email to support@merchantcircle.com and the listing is down automatically within one day.

  • Ben

    Spammed by Merchant Circle today too. As for the above post by Dave today re: Who Is info, I disagree. Having what he refers to as an “anonymous” (actually private) listing with Network Solutions isn’t always a red flag. I choose to keep my registration private, to avoid spam and inadvertent sharing of my street address, etc. However, unlike MerchantCircle, at my web site I not only list my name, PO Box mailing address, and have an online form for e-mail, but I ALSO give a phone number. MC does not.

  • Harry

    Why should I feel it’s safe to send an e-mail to support@merchantcircle.com? I don’t trust the company! I would like to be able to phone them to get deleted, and I want a non-toll-free number so they won’t again have my phone # and perhaps start telemarketing me more. So Ben, how about it? Got a real, non-toll-free # where you can take my info to remove me from the web?

  • Dave

    @Ben from merchantcircle.com: Very nice speech. However, let me clarify one point. I am not a ‘merchant’. I am a security consultant with an expertise in Information Warfare and Internet related fraud and con-games. You used some harvesting method to obtain my phone number, nothing more, nothing less. When your war dialer called my telephone number today announcing that my site received a ‘negative rating’, your colors were revealed. You expected the obvious: I would panic and want to see who is giving me ‘negative ratings’. However, I don not require your assistance in adding ‘local customers’ to find my listing. I obtain clientele because I am a professional and have expertise in what I do. You, on the other hand, have attempted to employ fear tactics in order to obtain clients. A better, and much more honest approach. would have been to contact people directly and discuss your services. So please, do not use the fact that so many people responded to this Blog as a positive point about the ‘enormous amount of feedback from people so quickly because of the open communication on the web’ People are responding here because they are disgusted with your tactics.

  • DisneyJoe

    Add another unhappy business owner who was called and told my business had a negative rating on your site – yet I didn’t exist on your site….

    IF I had joined your service as a member of my own free will, and IF I was concerned about any negative ratings posted about my company, and IF I had opted to receive notifications of such ratings, and IF I had told you that it was ok to notify me by automated phone call, I wouldn’t be making this comment now.

    If you had promoted your service properly and were a good Netizen, you would have no problems.

    If I continue to receive phone calls or emails from MerchantCircle, complaints will be made to the proper authorities.

    Thank you.

    -Joe

  • kyle

    Hey Ben,

    Great sales pitch………..where is the explanation for your unethical tactics….. calling a business and telling them there is an “unfavorable rating” when there was none……..Nothing like lying and sucker punching potential customers……….reallllll smarrrrttttt

  • Farmer Concrete, Inc.

    Our family owned company also received a phone call today indicating that we had received a NEGATIVE rating. When I went in to search this, I noticed that we had a high rating…. I am glad that I found this site which lists other companies that have received the same phone scam as our company did. AND…. to think our company phone, company cell phones and our home phone is on the NO CALL LIST!!!!!!!!!
    Our company has been in business for approx. 12 years and to my knowledge we have never had an unsatisfied customer. We have subcontracted for the same builders for the past 12 years and have even added builders via “word of mouth” from concrete plants, builders, sponorships of local children sports and satisfied home owners. We have continuous repeat work requests from home owners and builders who know we do it the old fashion way – WE TAKE PRIDE IN OUR WORK AND PERFORM IT JUST LIKE WE WOULD PERFORM IT FOR OURSELVES……..(Imagine that – it would seem that “word of mouth” and taking pride in your work performance are still the way to go)……
    To this company that phone scammed us I will say, “Stop phone scamming our company and do not e-mail our company….. Our company will continue to do business the way we always have.”

    Thank you.

    The Office of Farmer Concrete, Inc.

  • http://www.bearcreeklumber.com/ HECTOR

    This is definetly a scam. Today we got the same “negative post” call. Ben’s post just confirms this is a business with no ethics. too bad this post does not come up if you google mercantcircle.com. Folks don’t build their business for free, they don’t deserve it. They have a link to remove your listing, you must email: remove@merchantcircle.com , will give you an update to see how long this takes.

  • Harry

    I searched for a phone number for Merchant Circle and their apparently affiliated 411.com directory only listed one number. It was 650-917-9972. I phoned this number as I want to get off their lists and don’t want to send them an e-mail (so they then have the ability to start sending me e-spam as well as phone-spam). I got a one-time ring through tone, then the 3-octave tones that precede a disconnect message, then a fax tone. With repeated dialing, it’s the same story although sometimes the first two are reversed before the fax tone comes on. Hmmmm . . . wonder why they don’t answer or list a different number? And wonder if Ben of Merchant Circle will post a real phone number on your site, John Battelle, so businesses can phone Merchant Circle to get off lists. Is Ben of Merchant Circle listening?

  • John

    Wow, so happy to see I’m not alone, though I suspected as much. I got the same call two days ago and, like some others, panicked at the thought that someone had negatively rated my services on a site I’d never heard of, never mind subscribed to.

    Investigative work is part of what I do. With that I was able to obtain Mr. Smith’s direct email address. I explained my story and advised him that his failure to reply with an explanation and apology would result in my notifying media outlets of his scam. If you’re interested, you might try ben@merchantcircle.com. Probably a waste of time though, I got no response. Google has served me well to see all the hype he’s managed to get out there to media outlets, will be interesting to see if it backfires on him.

    Ben, I’ve run my business successfully, with no complaints, no lawsuits, no refunds requested, for 10 years now. Looks like you won’t be able to make the same claim….ever. You owe every person whose posted here an apology. Look how much time has been taken away from these small business people (the very same you say you want to help) because of your lack of business ethics. Those of us who were foolish enough to fall for your scam spent a good deal of time and effort navigating your site to see our ‘negative review’. My daughter wanted to go pick apples. I had to tell her no because my business was ‘having a problem’. Maybe you should explain to my ten-year old what the ‘problem’ was. And look at how many people will NOT be doing business with Merchantcircle. And these are just the people that found this thread, I’m sure there are MANY others. But, rather than being contrite in your comments, you chose to try to market your business. Despicable

    As for my fellow respondents, I urge each of you to make the call to the Attorney General of your state. The more often they hear the name Ben Smith and Merchantcircle, the more they are likely to act on our complaints.

    Finally, thanks to Mr. Battelle for providing this forum.
    John Kenny
    Receivables Management
    Mohawk, NY 13407

  • Van T. Robinson

    I also received a call yesterday, September 27, 2006 concerning an “unfavorable review” of my business. I’ve been in business as a piano technician/tuner since August 1965 when I started my senior year of high school. My nineteen year old son majoring in computer science gave me the idea to search yahoo for this “MerchantCircle.com” and this blog was found. I also had the 866-849-3243 phone number on my Caller ID Module but I didn’t try calling it. I may try my Attorney General here in Missouri concerning this phone scam, though. I also wish to thank Mr. Battelle for providing this forum for our comments/discussion.
    Van T. Robinson
    Robinson Locksmith and Piano Service
    Cape Girardeau, MO 63703

  • http://www.danceasy.com Kate

    I got the “negative review” call. Another service tried this a few years ago, but I can’t remember the name. The recorded message said something about finding us on google, so I decided to google merchantcircle.com, and voila! I found you and had my suspicion confirmed.

  • http://brickandmortarorg Laura

    I sent Mr. Ben the following message:

    Don’t ever call my business again. I suspected you were a weasel spammer and now know it for sure after reading the tons of messages from other businesses that you pulled the same sleazy phone trick with – “negative business rating.”

    One thing is certain I didn’t join Merchantcircle because I smelled a rat. And you, Ben, are the CEO Rat of a company I will never do business with and will make a point of verbally trashing at every opportunity. I repeat don’t ever contact me or my company again!

    Brick & Mortar Gallery
    Tacoma, WA

  • Brandon

    Long story short, I fellow business owner got the phone message and told me about it. I went to their website to check on my business and found it with a very low rating, but no reviews. I called their office in Los Altos, which is nothing more than a front phone number with a full message box. Managed to find a contact number for their old PR agent and called her, she gave me the number for Buddy Smith and told me he would be able to help me. I called Buddy and argued back and forth with him for fifteen minuets or so about their business practices, finally I gave him my name and number so he could have someone call me right back to help me with my questions.

    Ryan called me about three minuets later. Every answer he gave me sounded like they were prepared. He did admit they still had many kinks to work out in their system. When I asked him about the phone calls they like to do, he started by saying that they are trying to be proactive with their customers. That is where I had to cut him off and tell him they are not their customers because they have no services with them and the calls are nothing more than solicitations. His answers changed almost every time I worded a question differently as well, almost as if he forgot what he previously said and had to make it up all over again. When I asked him about their front phone number for their office going directly to voicemail, telling me the box was full, and disconnecting the call, he said they were having trouble with their current service provider, while Buddy told me they were not answering the phone because all of the employees there are engineers.

    That is a very short version of it believe it or not. If you have trouble contacting their company by phone you can try calling Buddy Smith at *number redacted for privacy reasons….JB*, he is fun to argue with at the very least, although he was able to get Ryan to call me back very quickly. He is not related to Ben Smith either it seems (according to him).

    I think I will start working on filing a report against them with the BBB, as well as contacting their parent company.

  • Harry

    Thanks, Brandon, for the phone number. I just called Buddy and he said he’d remove my number immediately.

    Also want to echo John Kenny’s comments. My daughter wanted my attention too. I don’t think these MC folks ever considered the ripple effect their practices would cause. Thanks to Battelle’s site, I believe they’ll get the msg.

    I did alert my congressman and also registered a complaint with the atty genl,in conjunction with the “do not call” agency.

    Hopefully that’s the end of the subject for me. Enough time wasted responding to this scam. Thank you again, John Battelle. Your site was a great help.

  • kyle

    Don’t bother going to the media…….these smart guys would probably love it……..why???? because right now no one knows or cares who the hell merchantcircle is……..lets help them keep it that way.

    Please do call 1-650-654-8500 and complain to Mark Menell / Rustic Canyon Partners, He sits on the Board of this mickey mouse company.

  • Sara

    Imagine a hairstylist getting this phone call! A negative review? Our salon is not even listed!!!!!!!!

  • John

    A quick follow-up….This morning I got an email from Merchantcircle advising that someone had rated my company, clicked the link to see the rating, no rating, no review. I have demanded that my listing be removed and that I receive no further emails with the exception of one confirming that my listing has been removed. I have saved the recorded voicemail, the email received and those I’ve sent. I’m careful to document all of this. I will call the numbers provided above, thank you for providing them. I will call my AG again and will continue to follow this thread. Merchantcircle and Ben Smith have gotten under my skin. Anyone who knows me, knows that was the wrong thing to do……..
    John Kenny
    Receivables Management
    Mohawk, NY 13407

  • Fran

    Add me to the list: I also got the “negative rating” phone call, thought it was a scam but felt obliged to check it out. Cost me time, and therefore money, and considerable aggravation. Unbelievably shoddy business practice, and I am insulted by Ben Smith’s, um, response in his post above. I hope his “little company” finds itself in a world of trouble. He has certainly generated plenty of ill will, and needs to learn something about business ethics. I will NEVER do business with Merchantcircle and will do my best to spread the word about their slimeyness here in my state.

  • JEH

    Thanks John for this blog.
    I got a positive rating around June and did nothing because I expect that. I guess this little criminal ben decided to send me a negative rating on the Sept. 27th. I am best friends with all my customers and knew this was a scam. I read all the blogs and you are all going about it wrong. Little ben is not afraid of your calls. Benny is scared you will think like him ( a criminal ). This is what you need to do with these worms. The scam works because of the all companies that advertise on there site. They get these companies because of how many hits they get from there scam. Mr. Battelle should go on there site daily so the rest of us don’t have to ( only one hit ). Mr. Battelle then puts on his blog all the advertisers name and any info. The rest of us then check this blog when ever we can so John gets tons of hits and then we all e-mail, call, snail mail, etc the companies that support these rats. This will really work if we tell 10 people and they tell ten people. Eventually merchantcircle will not be able to pay anyone to put an ad on the that web page. Power in numbers. BOYCOTT BOYCOTT
    Thanks JEH

  • Elice

    I too got the bogus negative review message in Washington State. I’m planning to call my attorney general. Thanks for the phone numbers.

  • Pat

    I got the negative review call a couple of days ago. I was dubious, went to the site and found no reviews at all. I did find out you can “rate” yourself, so I did multiple times. Woo-hoo! I also wrote three “reviews”, one of them advising any actual searchers who found the site to ask a local service professional for a referal if they needed one, and not to rely on bunk sites like Merchantcircle. Not surprisingly, my listing is gone today.

  • iryn

    my husband recieved this voicemail too, and was worried about who could have given his small business a negative rating. I would like to follow up on this to make sure this phone harrassment is not happening. He was seriously stressed about this.

  • ken

    When i got the “unfavorable review” call a few days ago, i resolved to google this merchantcircle. On my drive home from work, i was rolodexing in my mind what client would have had reason to do such a thing. I then proceeded to forget about it entirely until I googled the name just now and found this blog. Glad i didnt make the call nor go to their site. How idiotic of them to entice people that way.

  • Harry

    As I mentioned in my 9/27 post here, Merchant Circle had posted my street address. I give out only my PO Box. Today I see that another web biz, Tyloon, has posted it too. Is Tyloon connected to Merchant Circle?

  • Mikey

    I got a FAX from 866-849-3243 for a typical pump-and-dump stock (IDGJ, or ID Global).

  • http://None Kathryn Fleming

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.!!! A joyous Thanksgiving dinner at my home and no I didn’t have time to go to Orchestra Hall and listen to “Broadway Hits.” I wanted to go..
    Go…and play the Steinway piano…but I made homemade pumpkin pies, cherry & cherries jello lemon yogurt salad, creamed onions, homemade bread stuffing, real mashed potatoes, yams with orange and marshmallows, green bean casserole, apple walnut salads, 23.75 lb. turkey, homemade rolls, accompanied(oh, the percussion!) olives, radishes, home canned pickles, spinach dip & crackers/ black bread, chocolate bon bons, appertifs and Dairy Queen chocolate chocolate mint chip blizzard birthday cake.
    So many “funny looking” paper plates went to people that now there is almost nothing left cooked from turkey.
    Back to my last music collection this 2006. It’s 1 wk. from when some of my new Christmas music will be out.
    The kitchen is for “R. Ray, Emeril, Paula Dean, Betty Cr ocker.’ They do the “Best Of The Best.”
    I have to finish my work this yr. & God Bless You All!
    Oh, please listen to my new Christmas song, “Santa’s Sleigh Froze In Mid-Air!,” ‘ ’cause it’s 2006 all the way home. 2 of my songs that I wrote in 2001 are up for awards, “Candlelight Candle Bright, and Oh Christmas Treee What Will You Be?” All good…as I do write great Christmas Songs and my sister-in-law Karen wanted the CD that I mentioned Tommy in, “Christmas Lights Up Heaven,” at Thanksgiving Dinner..which I gave her..along with new music of course….lyrics and music written for the piano…copied, stapled as songs…the songs…

    God Bless!

  • http://None Kathryn Fleming

    Thursday evening I will be listening at Orchestra Hall to “The Nutcracker.” I my own music to write but look forward to Peter’s(aka) wonderful presentation. No much more writing here as this going to be a musical Christmas!
    Enjoyed by family, friends, I have some serious writing to finish…and God help me…as with our troops abroad.
    See…a funny thing here…I’m in the same standing of help as beloved troops abroad…as written a joyous tune, “Christmas Special Delivery,” but I’m in the same standing same being same slowness same same same..
    So…I have to go.. and God Bless Us All!
    We need and pray believe in and live his teachings..
    Anyway, my new Christmas songs probably come out next wk.!
    Every ones right…i don’t get much money or even “saying’s or “We want you to play this Christmas piece at our Church…” I get nothing…
    Nothing…so I have to finish writing again at Ground Zero, nothing…’cause that’s where I’m at…the beginning…where there is nothing but ice, hole, darkness, light, blank, nil, death etc.
    So…please buy my new Christmas musical recordings. Thank you!

  • Harry

    Bummer! I see you have removed the phone number for the guy who worked for Merchant Circle and previously was able to remove my listing after I called him. Unfortunately, once again Merchant Circle has posted my street address with my business name, even though (as mentioned in my 10/16 post) I only give out my PO Box. This time Merchant Circle has misspelled my name. It coincides with the misspelled name given to me over the phone earlier this month by a person who claimed to be working for Experian, was calling from an ID # 888-929-3282; said his name was Daniel Juarez and he was in the Phillipines. He had my street address. I may have been a sucker as I believed he was actually Experian and I gave him the corrected spelling of my name–and asked him to delete the street address from records and list only the PO Box #. Does Experian actually make such calls??? (Never got one before.) And can you PLEASE post a phone number for Merchant Circle??? I don’t want to e-mail those folks and start getting spam!!

  • B Harness

    You may add us to the list of better things to do than answer the Merchant Circle recording. As if small business men (and women) don’t already have enough to keep them busy.

  • http://www.northstareconomics.com Al

    I just received the same phone call inviting me to go check out my rating after a customer supposedly Googled us and left a rating (at least it was allegedly a positive review). However, given the small and specialized nature of our client base, I would be very surprised if that was true, and since I had never heard of Merchant Circle, I Googled them and found my way directly here. At least I’m not alone!

  • NewHorizon

    Got the same jerk-phone-spam a few minutes ago here too – saying we were googled and given a positive rating. (What, no more scare tactics about the negative ratngs any more?)

    Then I sent Email to their ‘support’ address asking to be added to the MerchantCircle do-not-call list. And after that, I found this here web page and now I suspect my Email will go unanswered.

    Well, it looks like anything else I might have to say about all this has already been said… ;) Thanks, JB, for this web page.

  • L Rubin

    Just a quick note on MerchantCircle and its reason for being viral

    After receiving an email from the Governors office inquiring to my email that I had supposedly sent them, I did some checking and here’s what I found. MerchantCircle had sent an email to the Governor of Connecticut fraudulently using my name as the signatory which boasted about the MerchantCircle service and asking them to sign up. Yes, they in-fact, took my personal email after I was jerk phone spamed, high jacked my email address and sent emails out making it appear they were from me with the intent of endorsing their service.

    After days of aggravation over the issue (it’s my reputation not theirs) I officially reported the fraud to the State of Connecticut and to MerchantCircle, the State has promised to look into the fraudulent practice of Merchant Circle. MerchantCircle honored my request to cease and desist notice and removed my account. No apology, no answer on their practice – just hiding from phone and email inquires.

    Their practice is certainly viral but not a mystery anymore –Ben Smith and Wayne Yamamoto are common internet spammer and scamsters of the worst kind that give legitimate companies a bad name.

    L. Rubin

  • Julia

    We just got spammed as well. How does John Battelle end up talking to someone like this CEO and NOT know that the guy and company are not legit??

  • Adisharr

    Just received a call from these idiots about a ‘favorable review’ on my company. Just what the internet needs.. more shitheads like these guys.

  • Adisharr

    Just received a call from these idiots about a ‘favorable review’ on my company. Just what the internet needs.. more shitheads like these guys.

  • Toni Coleman

    I recommend that anyone getting scammed like this- I got a call today- go to http://www.alexa.com and put in http://www.merchantcircle.com. When it comes up, look for text that invites you to post a review and click on that. I just gave it the lowest score, stated it was a scam to drive up their rankings with all those (free)clicks, capture all visitor emails (which they probably trade and/or sell), and capture your money for suppossed access to the bogus low rankings you have- that don’t even exist. It is working. They have a high rank. Help to knock them down by spreading the word.

  • WAYNE HUDSON

    I RECEIVED THE “UNFAVORABLE REVIEW” SCAM TODAY, AND WAS VERY SUSPECIOUS,BUT HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON UNTILL FINDING THIS SITE. THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP. I WILL BE PASSING THE INFO ON TO THE MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL.

  • Tom

    Got the call in St. Louis today. “Negative” reviews from my customers. I typed in a phone number from the phone book in their site, saw that it required registry, then Googled them and got this blog.

    Thank you all. I’ve been in business for 30 years and was suspicious but your comments sealed the deal and they didn’t get anymore info from me. They will die the painful death they deserve. Curious that in my IN Box today were a Nigerian “be my partner” and a UK Lottery winner scam email. Must be my Lucky Day!

  • Gail

    We got the call today in Alaska. I found this site first because I didn’t want to give their web site any additional “hits”. Thank all of you for posting, it is a big help to sort out scams which seem to be more and more frequent now days.

  • Greg

    Well, you might get a laugh out of this. I did. I’m a cop who just got through interviewing a suspect over the phone and a few minutes later I checked my messages and got “The Message”. You know, the “Negative Rating” one. I figured he wasn’t too happy with me after I told him he would be in front of the judge soon :) I thought he did me on “Merchantcircle” but I figured the message was BS so I Googled it and got this BLOG.

    I thought it was funny, but hey maybe I am easily amused. Good day all… (BTW, this is a useful Blog) Hopefully the CA AG will shut this clown down

  • Lucas

    Yup… Negative ratings for our Iowa based business as well. Time for Merchantcircle.com to get a life. Come to think of it… Perchance we should all log on, and post negative feedback for them :) Does anyone think that their call system would let them know? What justice indeed!

  • karen

    Thanks for all your comments regarding merchantcircle.com. We received a phone call from them today suggesting a “negative rating”. As I was suspicious(knowing all our customers) I choose to google them prior to going directly to their site. What an ENORMOUS amount of information I have found regarding their unethical tactics (on this site as well as other website’s and postings). Please continue to spread to word about this as will I.

  • Jerry

    I sure hope no one has put money into a piece of garbage company like merchant circle.
    Their ethics stink, what a waste of my time, chasing a lie
    I have better things to do for good customers & contacts.
    These people have the ethics of a Fred Phelps group.

  • Mike

    Well, they’re *still* at it six months later… It’s 3/12/2007, and the first post here about the jerk-phone-spamming was 9/18/2006.

    Our business got the “unfavorable review” call, as a ploy to get us to visit their site and sign up. Clearly shady business practices.

    Do NOT support this business, or others which use these deceptive marketing techniques!!!

  • TODD BOYCE

    THIS PHONE CALL MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL. THIS COMPANY IS A LETCH . ROTTEN . WASTE OF TIME . NOT WORTH TIME TO WRITE THIS . STAY AWAY FROM . SCAM

  • Marv

    This piece of crap business, and I hesitate to say business when it is probally some fat slob sitting in front of a computer too lazy to start a real business. This place needs to go, we all don’t have time to be getting fake phone calls while we are trying to work.

  • Johnny Penguin

    trying a whois shows that merchantcircle is hiding behind a network solutions anonymous registration account. Apparently they are too afraid of listing their company details in their whois info, or they are phone spamming so much that keeping that info public is a liability. Complain to network solutions that they are providing anonymous cover to a phone spammer, and they shouldn’t be providing ANY services to a spammer of ANY kind.

    Got their “customer left negative feedback, go to our site and enter your number” phone spam today, caller id shows “unknown” and “866-849-3243″ as their calling number. Note that when you call a toll-free number, your phone number shows up in their records regardless of whether you block your number during your call or for all of your calls “all-call block”.

    That number, once again, 866-849-3243

    That number, once again, 866-849-3243

    That number, once again, 866-849-3243

    That number, once again, 866-849-3243

    That number, once again, 866-849-3243

    That number, once again, 866-849-3243

  • P DAGOSTINO

    So, today is March 13, 2007 and thanks to your site, we chose not to login to merchantcircle. We are on the do not call list, and they still spammed us, so we are reporting them. We suggest all others do the same. If your business is on the do not call list, you can go to the website to file a complaint. Thanks again for all the info! DO NOT SUPPORT THIS SITE BY BEING CURIOUS!!!!

  • Don Marsh

    I sensed that this was a scam. I went to the site, found no rating at all (after spooking me with “negative ratings” on my voice mail), and tried to contact them. No email address. No phone number. Even my cell phone’s call back feature didn’t work on them. These people suck…

  • Stan Walker

    Our business telephone line just got spammed by these “people”

    I hope there is a special place in hell for “people” like these who use deceptive practices.

    Our business is not mentioned anywhere on their site and yet their spam telephone call said customers were reporting unfavorably about our business.

    Their recorded message violates the FCC TCPA (Telephone Consumers Protection Act) prohibition on the use of recorded or computer generated messages.

    Also, they are a telemarker and did not give me a telephone number where I can call to have them remove me from their list – another violation of the TCPA.

    We are also on the Federal and state do-no-call lists.

    I will be reporting this to everyone possible.

  • Los Angeles

    Given the dates of the complaints above, it looks like merchantcircle phone-spammed customers in September and are back at it again in March. Yep, got the same message, knew instantly it was a fishing expedition scam designed to play on the fears of legit business owners who care about their reputation.

    Their email address is questions@merchantcircle.com and I’m sending a copy of these blog entries to them so they can see just how much negative buzz they’re creating for themselves on the net. I can’t believe any sort of quasi-legit company would be so dumb as to fail to apprehend the fact that in today’s world nearly everyone uses Google as truth serum. The first thing I did when I got that call was Google their name and this is what came up. Only complete morons would pay a phone-spamming company to foster ill will and bad word-of-mouth about themselves.

  • bob

    Here is a fax number listed for MerchantCircle
    Merchant Circle – Mark Hall*
    210 Main St., Suite 100 Tel:
    Los Altos Fax: 650-917-9972
    94022 merchantcircle.com

    So Start Faxing them to death!

    650-917-9972

  • Penny

    Well, they must be at it again. I can’t say it any better than the below quote. I’m wondering if they are calling the regular line or the toll-free line. I don’t think I put the toll-free lines on the no-call list.
    “So, today is March 13, 2007 and thanks to your site, we chose not to login to merchantcircle. We are on the do not call list, and they still spammed us, so we are reporting them. We suggest all others do the same. If your business is on the do not call list, you can go to the website to file a complaint. Thanks again for all the info! DO NOT SUPPORT THIS SITE BY BEING CURIOUS!!!”

  • barb

    I too fell for it, however, I am soooo glad I googled first.Never went to their site and am angry and frustrated. Thanks for all the heads up on the issue.

  • val

    This is such a scam, we are not a business but got this phone call … I did have it removed and used my junk email addy to do it. They had us listed as a company that hasn’t been in business in over 25 years.
    Get real, what a farce.

  • Sinks Canyon Consulting LLC

    Well, they must be at it again!
    This is the second time that I have received their ‘phone message’. The first time, I ordered them to remove my company from their listing. So, too, with this call.
    I am a small, private firm with a VERY exclusive client base.

  • NewHorizon

    5 months ago, I wrote (above):
    “Then I sent Email to their ‘support’ address asking to be added to the MerchantCircle do-not-call list. And after that, I found this here web page and now I suspect my Email will go unanswered.”

    Sure enough, we got their pre-recorded phone call again today. Grr.

    I just now called the 866 number which Johnny Penguin posted above, and pressed “1″ to stop further “messages” from the number I called from. If you don’t hear from me in, say, another 5-6 months, I guess maybe it worked.

    Now off to the alexa.com site that Toni Coleman mentioned …

  • Mark

    I just got the favorable review message on my phone about 20 minutes ago. Scam detector went off and low and behold what a Google search brings me. I went to their site and did find my company without signing in, but no reviews. Well, since they’re representing me without my permission I clicked on the review link and reviewed my own business. Surprise! We got a great review! I also filed a complaint since we’re on the do not call registry.

    I find Ben’s message way up this page about how they’re working out the kinks to be very amusing since here it is, 11 MONTHS later and they’re still practicing the same underhanded business practices.

  • steve miller

    They told me my company had a favorable review, but there was none there. They also has a google form indicating that
    ” There were no results for found on Google.com.”

    which is odd, since I there are pages of links to my business at listing .. someone shoudl tell google that these folks are lying and misusing google’s name.

  • John

    Just received a spam call form Merchant Circle. I filed a complaint. My business is on the do not call registry.

  • Dr J

    Same tale of spam call regarding a favorable review. I think that once you contact the company and give your phone #, that gets around the do not call list by implying that you voluntarily replied to them therefore you’re now a previously contacted client. Clever spam scam.

  • Cynthia Osburn

    I have been spammed twice by this company….Merchant Circle. Once they said I got a positive rating and another time a negative rating. I put my phone number in at their site and they say they have no record of my business. They should be put out of business by their dishonest unethical practices. I am going to report them. I have top ratings in my local area in the best magazines. They try to make you paranoid as if they have a superior rating system that people should rely upon.

    When you review this blog contact your state’s authorities about them.

  • Glenn de Gruy

    August 4, 2007. They are still at it. Got the call yesterday. Same story, positive rating though. Didn’t go to their site, as I smelled a rat,(rats stink when they are dead)Anyway, googled them and found this great site and all you cyber warriors, so thanks, “when life gives you a lemon…….” G-man

  • http://www.merchantcircle.com Brent

    These folks keep calling my home phone number. I can’t get rid of them.

  • Lisa

    Yes, they are definitely “still at it”! I just received the same phone call as everyone else on my voice mail this morning. HOWEVER, I refuse to log on to their website after reading so many of these postings. I WIL NOT give them the satisfaction of thinking that their phone call worked and got me out to their website. I WILL NOT give them another hit. It’s the only way to drive a “business” like this out of business. If you’re like the rest of us, you Googled the company and possibly landed here first. Don’t respond to their website and do your part to help make merchantcircle.com go away! Thanks!

  • Nancy

    Sunday morning they call me with the “negative review” scam. Glad I googled and found out for sure it’s a scam without going there. How have they stayed in business for this long?

  • Bev

    I, also received a call from them this afternoon. I was on their list last year and fell for it. I suggest people contact their state consumer affairs department, better business bureaus and attorney general’s office. I will do no business with anyone scuzzy enough to use an automated phone call to suck me in. Calling on Sunday is even lower. I hope they go out of business too.

  • Mary

    Still at it — received the phone call this am. Glad I googled them first. Thank you for this web site!

  • http://moorescapes.com bob

    well, I too have been bothered by this fake fradulent company. It is not as though we have enough to be worried about being a small business owner! They can Kiss my ____!

  • http://www.prescriptionrecording.com Michael Somoracki

    I own a major recording studio, and am very busy working into the wee hours of the morning recording bands writing radio jingles etc. These days especially with the net, my good reputation is more important than ever. I got the “favorable comment” call in mid August 2007. With the volatile nature of the net recently with email link phishing, websites that infect your computer etc, my bullshit detector went off and I googled merchantcircle.com first. I saw this and the only time I lost was reading these posts, for which I am gratefull. I will follow you up Mr. Smith with the law. Do Not Call list has a little $10,000.00 fine for you courtesy of me. According to what I read here it seems to me you are simply exploiting people’s natural anxiety’s because they want to do good by people, and are waisting their time. I’ll bet you are going to have to spend a lot of days at a court house with the attorney general and you won’t be making money. And “Just in case” you should know my reputation is fiercely defended by some of the best attorney’s in the country. I also used to work for a law firm as a court appointed trustee. If you are doing what they say here it really is a low down despicable trick.
    Stay away from me and my business, I want nothing to do with your company or you. Be sure you and your friends speak the truth. DO NOT CALL ME AGAIN. If you or your friends should decide to hurt my business or reputation
    it will prove even more catastrophic then the damage you have done to yourself already. It takes good will to suceed in business. I don’t see any here.

    Mike

  • Liz Trementozzi

    I called the Investors mentioned above and reported it and told them they are supporting a scam and phone spamming and to remove me from their list immediately. They said I probably got reported by a customer… I told them that was a scam and to just remove me. We’ll see, if they call again, more measures will be taken. Enough is Enough.

  • tanya

    I must be in the minority. I like Merchant Circle. They have a lot to offer for free. I think I recieved the phone call about a year ago. Recently I rediscovered them and joined. They are growing.

  • S. Thompson

    It’s November 15, 2007 and Merchantcircle is still phone spamming. Got another call this morning. I’ve used the removal page three times over the last year and our entry keeps reappearing.

    At this point all hope is lost. There’s no way to avoid this scummy company. What’s really amazing is that there are venture capital companies willing to pour money into supporting these idiots.

    Someone with time should compile all these complaints into a merchantcirclesucks.com site.

  • Nolan Collins

    check out http://www.oddbodd.com . Close to launching and has built-in moderation, great content and included services for businesses and they’ll be sending out a marketing kit to all the businesses who register with a list of where they can find reviews about them and what to do if they don’t like it. They are building the first CORRECT database where every business in the system knows they are there and has control over the content. Merchant circle still allows anyone to post anything on your listing! Support the first video based business directory that is designed to be honest, helpful for both businesses and consumers and can be free too! http://www.oddbodd.com. Oh, and they are building a team of local sales reps to help the small businesses who don’t understand all of this too.

  • Nolan Collins

    PS. I am the owner of oddbodd.com and started it from a small business owners perspective because of companies that were trying to scare people into doing business with them. My phone number is on the site so please feel free to call me if you have any questions or suggestions on how we can make it better for you.

  • W Elliot

    I, too have not been unhappy with the lack of moderation on MerchantCircle. I noticed a lot of you complaining about being on the “do not call” list too. Unfortunately business to business calls are exempt from the do not call registry. (See this website http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/alerts/alt129.shtm)

    It does not, however, give them the right to lie, and to think they just received another 10million in funding too!

  • Laura

    We received a spam phone call this morning…on a Sunday…saying we had a positive comment. So I went to the site and there aren’t any comments at all about us. Just a pop up to sign up for their service. I’d never do business that way. I also wasn’t able to find an email address on the website to complain to them.

  • Frank Lastrin

    I too got a recorded junk call on my business line claiming that MerchantCircle got a favorable post about my business. Of course, I found no such post. From reading earlier comments here, it seems that MerchantCircle’s practice is to call firms to make false statements in hopes of stimulating its own business/traffic.

    With so many posts (above) reporting bogus junk calls, it may constitute fraudulent advertising on the part of MerchantCircle.

    I think it’s about time that everyone who received such a junk call, report it to their state’s office of Attorney General. A list of all state AG’s, as well as their email and phone number is at: http://www.naag.org/

    This crap has got to be stopped!

  • Frank Lastrin

    Disclaimer: The following is not legal advise.
    Contact a licensed attorney in your state
    before taking any action.

    Concerning federal law and how it MAY apply to the type of junk calls made by MerchantCircle:

    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) states at 47 USC sec. 227
    (d) Technical and procedural standards
    (3) Artificial or prerecorded voice systems
    The [FCC] shall prescribe … standards for systems … used to transmit any … prerecorded voice message via telephone. Such standards shall require that –
    (A) all artificial or prerecorded telephone messages
    (ii) shall, during or after the message, state clearly the telephone number or address of such business, other entity, or individual…

    I’m not sure, but I don’t think the MerchantCircle junk call included a phone number or physical address during the call. The TCPA was drafted in 1991 – before the internet’s practical existance. Back then, the term ‘address’ meant ‘physical address’. So, the lack of a physical address or phone number during the pitch may make the MerchantCircle calls a violation of the TCPA.

    The TCPA does not require a state Attorney General to receive a report of 2 violative calls within in 12-month period for the AG’s office to act against a TCPA violator.

    It may be productive to report violative MerchantCircle calls to your state Attorney General. Again, you can find your state AG at: http://www.naag.org/

  • spam_tards_suck

    Just got my first recorded spam telemarketing call from MC this morning, telling me about my “positive rating”. As many of you have found they have a private whois registration and no contact phone # on their site. Real ethical huh?

    I do NOT recommend sending them any written or email requests to “remove” yourself from their spamming, as this will surely lead to even more spam from them and dissemination of your info to even more spammers.

    All my telephone numbers – including my business’ – have been on the FTC’s DO NOT CALL list for over 2 years.

    I have no prior business arrangement or dealings with them and they are not a non-profit organization or charity.

    Therefore they are breaking FTC LAW, to the tune of $11,000 per incident.

    To quote the FTC site:
    “A consumer who receives a telemarketing call despite being on the registry will be able to file a complaint with the FTC, either online or by calling a toll-free number. Violators could be fined up to $11,000 per incident.”
    (Source: https://donotcall.gov/faq/faqbusiness.aspx )

    In addition, you have the right to sue them in local small claims court personally for this infraction.

    I suggest each and everyone of you who are already on the DNC registry and who have received these illegal, unsolicited telemarketing calls to report them to the
    National DO NOT CALL registry found here:

    https://donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx

    Through this forum I discovered and called this organization myself and confirmed that this # is in fact MC. The number to report this organization is:
    570-708-8780

    Report their asses each and every time they tele-spam you and let their fines heap up.

    Spammers are scum.

  • linda

    merchantcircle.com is a scam. They call with auto messages of positive or negative of your business, with no identity to search for. Web site contact info leads to only to delete “yourself.” Some one is hiding and this is a perfect non-contact site. Scam at the best in their sights — or in reality– the worst. FCC is to on this list for stupid people.

  • D.L. Motz

    I am an EMT who works for a local ambulance in Minnesota, and I recieved “the call” about 20 minutes ago… I also work as a freelance writer, and the call sent my cow-poop sensors into overdrive. I did the logical thing and started doing a bit of research on these swine and discovered everything that has already been written on this board… I wonder how the owners of the site are going to react when a few magazines start getting articles about their crappy practices?

  • Kristy

    I just received a call from this company. I’ve had my phone number six months, and it has been on the do-not-call registry from day one.

    Best part? I’m a private, residential phone line. I am not a business, my roommate nor myself own or operate any business out of our homes. This is such low-life spammy junk – they aren’t interested at all in business relations if they’re calling homes that are in no way affiliated with businesses!

  • me

    I could just copy and paste what Kristy said.
    Jerk Spammers indeed.

  • C

    Don’t fall for the innocent, “just put your telephone number in the blue box to check out your reviews” trick. Two things happen then. They know you checked and will be hit with even more calls. But much worse is even if you are on the do not call list the minute you give your phone number to any business they can do as they please with it. Neither they or any company affiliated with them are bound by the do not call regulations.

  • John Davis

    They called me at 12 midnight, wanting me to update my business on their website! I told them to go pound sand and me a vampire bat bite them on their ass!!

  • Marcia

    What a complete load of rotting garbage this “company” is. I do not have a reviewable company, as our business is not open to the public, never has been and never will be. We do not have “customers.” Obviously a complete scam to try and get cold calls to sign up for their dubious ‘service’ whatever that is supposed to be. I’d tell you what I REALLY think about merchantcircle and their (lack of) ethics, but I’m sure there’s a word filter in place.

    Speaking directly to Merchantservice now: You suck, and you’re lame. You blow, too. Hard. Likely for shiny nickels.

  • Dan Mirchell

    Hello I ordered Merchants circles Starter plan @ 29.95 a month they Billed me $249.95 When I emailed them since there is no, customer support number, they changed the account to the 29.95 pacage and billed me again?

    A total of $279.90 Now they say they wont refund anything?

    I have contacted the BBB, and my police department but it looks like I have to wait the procedures to get it back. They said by email whether it was a mistake on there part or not they still began setting up the account so they need to be paid. It’s not my falt they messed up. I should not have to pay for their mistake.

    I realize people here have been visctoms of phone scams but they also commit money scams. I adveise everyone not to give your credit card info to this company.

    They are a ripoff company. Rumer has it they are not even linked to the companys they claim.

    What honest company does not have a customer support line especialy if they are taking $250.00 orders?

  • Carla G.

    I received a phone call from Merchant Circle yesterday. They said the business I work for had a bad review and to go to a certain site and enter your work phone number to view it. I did that to see what the negative review was and it turns out that they just wanted me to sign up my company on their website. I did not pay to upgrade and did some research. I tried to pull up this bad review on the web, but there was none. I wouldn’t trust them as a site to advertise on. Save your money for reputable websites that consumers really use.

  • Paul

    As of today I have received a half dozen or more calls from this company on my cell phone. They started saying I had received a negative review, then just “a review.” I knew it was fraud but today I looked at the site for the first time. My business is not there at all. Liars. My number is on the do not call list and they ignore that completely. They interrupt me in meetings, even when I am going to the john. The goverment should arrest these creeps and fine them for everything they have!

  • Office Manager

    Yep, they’re still at it to this day! Our “review” was “favorable” according to the automated call. However, when I use google to search their site, i don’t find any indication that our company actually has a listing with them. What a waste of my time. And Site Advisor lists them as a “green” (safe) site with no negative comments! Go to siteadvisor.com and start leaving nasty remarks for them if you’ve been spammed.

  • Stefanie

    My company just received a phone call from this company too.
    Of course, I googled them to see what came up and I saw this blog area and started reading.
    I am glad that I saw this first before even going to their site.
    The phone call that I received today sounds like they might be changing their tactics a little, though.
    It didn’t talk about a negative or positive review. It stated that a someone had recently went to this site and saw us listed their as a company and that person wanted to check to see if we were legitimate company, as they wanted to do business with us. The message then stated that we need to go to the website to verify our information so that the potential “customer” can be notified.

    Sounds like the scam in evolving.

  • gary

    They’re still spamming my personal cell phone on a regular basis. Complained to everyone. Just illegal call after illegal call.

    I’ve had this number for years, I’m on the Do-Not-Call list, and I don’t even have a business that would correlate back to the number.

    Just an update.

  • Larry

    Just one more to this long list. I also received the message, saying someone had posted “a comment” (didn’t specify negative or positive) and urging me to check it out and confirm my information. Since the first comments were posted two years ago, I’d say this outfit doesn’t mind ticking off potential customers – or that it’s working so well that we’re considered collateral damage and discounted.

  • http://www.prefabrikyapi.com prefabrik

    They are a ripoff company. Rumer has it they are not even linked to the companys they claim. thank youu mff

  • Brett

    May 12th, 2008, and they are still at it.

    The worst part is, for my company, they have two listings…one at the correct address, and one at one of our business’s Partners’ home address. He has just given me the task of getting the listing removed. Lucky me…

  • Fran

    I received a call this morning from merchant circle and they have the same message but they took out the “negative comment” part and just said that someone has left a review about your company . I tried to just look up our company name and it isn’t even in their data base for someone to leave a comment about us. Looks like they found another way to get a few looks at their site…

  • Ken

    Just got the same recorded call…”…someone posted a negative review of my company…go to merchantcircle.com…blah blah blah.” Is this not considered illegal to scam companies this way? Class Action lawsuit? Something? This company and the scum that run it are no better than spammers and should be dealt with as the law permits.

  • tracy

    My company just received the phone call saying that a potential customer wanted to check if we were a legitimate company.
    Of course, I googled them and checked out their website but it sounded fishy to me. They did have our name down but different address. Before “verifying”, I thought I’d research further….glad I found your website!!!!

  • SC

    They are at it again, after 3 years of this nonsense, I just got another phone call saying someone contacted them to get clarification that I am a legitimate business.
    Yeah, right.

    I’m always leary of scam companies that don’t give any way to contact them. They won’t give me their info, but they want all of mine?

    Someone should pull out their fingernails and stick their hand in the pickle jar…

  • SpencerG

    These guys are getting smarter about their crimes. I got neither a positive nor negative message but instead the call said they “had received a customer request that we verify that you are a legitimate business” and all I had to do to verify this was to type in your phone number into their website.

    Question: If I was a crooked business, would I have any moral qualms about typing my number in their Blue Box to have them say that I was legitimate? Of course not– which proves this is a complete scam.

    As stated above by “C” on 26 JAN 2008, do NOT put your phone number in their Blue Box as that establishes a business relationship with them and negates your Do-Not-Call list protections in most states. They can then sell your number to the world.

  • BJ

    Several times this week I’ve been getting these frickin “trying to verify you’re a legitimate business” pre-recorded calls. I’m glad I found THIS site instead of signing in to their site, which no doubt would have left me open to all kinds additional spam.

    Anyone who would choose to do business with a fraudulent company like this is an idiot. They’ve demonstrated that they are liars and cheats, so it’s a good bet they are also thieves.

  • bj

    I did as a previous poster suggested and took a few moments to write a review at Mcafee’s http://www.siteadvisor.com. I think if a few more of us weigh in on this we can maybe get them to just possibly SHUT UP!

  • pz

    Glad ya’ll are out there to inform us of scammers. This is a great way to keep each other straight and avoid bs (business scammers). I just got my first call and thankfully will not participate because of the great information on this site.

  • Chris

    How would putting a number in the blue box get rid of the do not call list “protection”? Obviously they don’t even care about the list or they wouldn’t have called me in the first place.

    I got the “verify legitimate business” call on 5/19/2008.

    I can’t believe this guy is still spamming real businesses with his drivel after 2 years of negative responses.

    Time to get a real job Ben.

  • http://notyourbusiness.com Heidi

    Now they call on my 800 line. I have to pay for the call for them to leave me a message about verifying my business? What a joke.

  • Theresa D'Alton

    I received two phone pre-recorded phone messages. One at my office and one at MY HOME a number not listed to me or my law office. Each message stated that a “customer” of Merchants Circle had seen my google ad and wanted to know if I was “a legitimate business” and to go to the merchants circle web site and enter my business telephone. I don’t advertise. I have a very small confidential client group so I know this was not true. Seems illegal to me as well as unethical and possibly a violation of interstate commerce laws.

  • Ray P.

    Another Me Too! Did what most of us did, got a call stating someone wanted to verify if my business was legit, didn’t fall for it (skeptic that I am) and instead googled it to get here. It amazes me how people can fall for this, but of course, it’s why they do it.

    I got an email last week forwarded by a customer who thought Micro$oft would pay them $238 for each person they forwarded the email to.

    What a complete waste of my friggin time…

  • Dave

    I get this call all the time at home (church parsonage) and at church…Both numbers are on the DNC list. It is from Merchan Circle. I called back the number and they have an opt out on the message. Wonder if it will really work or not. Anyway, Merchant Circle is…Administrative Contact :
    WYBS, Inc.
    v86d43fv4t2@networksolutionsprivateregis tration.com
    ATTN: MERCHANTCIRCLE.COM
    c/o Network Solutions
    P.O. Box 447
    Herndon, VA 20172-0447
    Phone: 570-708-8780
    I Just did more research. Network Solutions is the company that owns Merchant Circle.com. The domain name is based out of Herndon Va. I googled the company, and guess what…REAL PHONE NUMBERS!!! Give them a call..here they are
    (703) 668-5505, (703) 668-4600, (703) 925-6999

  • Dave

    Here is the phone number for Merchant Circle(650) 352-1335 ext. 515

    Give them a call to let them know how you feel about their illegal telemarketing scheme. When you call you will hear a recorded message. Just punch in 515 and you will get a voice mail to leave a message.

    Would love for everyone to call them, just like they call us.

  • http://jim.com Jim

    I just received the same “verify that you are a real business call”, being an IT professional, I smelled a rat right away. Never went to their site, just found this instead. I hope they, like all their kind, get what they deserve someday. Scumbags.

  • gje

    I don’t own a business and my home phone number is unlisted, but yet I’ve received three calls from these bozos at my *home* phone, which *is* listed with the FTC’s Do Not Call registry. I’ve reported them each time.

    I haven’t seen an opt out call, but have my doubts they would honor that since they don’t even bother to check the DNC registry.

  • http://www.earthenfire.com Melissa

    Wow! Thanks for all the great comments.

    We also received two calls from merchantcircle.com, stating that a customer found our web-site through google and wanted to verify that it was a legit company by entering our phone number on merchantcircle.com

    This sounded fishy to me, too — so googled merchantcircle and I’m glad I did! I’m grateful for all your suggestions.

    I think getting them on the alert level for negative sites is a great suggestion. This kind of scam needs to be stopped!

  • Lisa

    We just got the “legitimate business” call….thanks for all the comments…It helped stop me from wasting time.

  • TrC

    Ditto for me – just received a prerecording that said a customer wanted to verify that we were an actual business after finding us on google. How annoying it is to be all excited for 30 seconds just because i just listed our new website through google – just to be disappointed at yet another scam. Thanks for the heads up.

  • http://www.mdsocietyforsight.org Maryland Society for Sight

    Wow! I have only just started receiving calls from this company. I never realized I would find such a long history when I googled them. Having worked in the for-profit accounting world for a number of years I am very familiar with most phone scams (ie cheap lightbulbs and toner, copier verification etc) but this one was new to me. As a non-profit, we get calls all the time from people wanting to be sure we are “legitimate”. I’m glad I checked this out first. I use the BBB (Better Business Bureau) all the time to check out companies. The BBB has added e-companies to their list of searches. They are not perfect, but are a great help. (http://welcome.bbb.org/) Thanks for the postings from everyone. I suggest emailing this info to all your business associates so they can protect themselves too and maybe we can stop this pathetic company from existing. God bless.

  • Patrick

    Received yet another recorded message from Merchant Circle. I’ve been trying to post this comment on every blog I can find to alert others to this deceptive practice.

    I’d love to find a professional way to stop Merchant Circle from wasting all of our time and resources. As tempting as it is, I don’t want to stoop to their level.

    Any ideas?

    PJ

  • http://www.mdsocietyforsight.org Maryland Society for Sight

    Oops! I meant to include the direct link to their BBB page. Here you go: http://sanjose.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Report.aspx?site=68&bbb=1216&firm=228893

  • ALEX

    I’m getting a phone call every month.
    The recording is short rude and a pain.
    I can call the 800 number to get off the
    list, but opt to call the 650-654-8500
    number every so often till I get hold
    of a mgr or make the point.
    Scam or not, the recording telemarketing is out of control.

  • lola

    http://sanjose.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Report.aspx?site=68&bbb=1216&firm=228893

    Above is the link for the BBB conplaints! YOU ARE ALL NOT ALONE!!!

    Here is a different name and phone number that has a real persons voice on the answering machine!

    CONTACT: Kevin Leu MerchantCircle +1-858-xxx-xxx Kevin@MerchantCircle.com

    I would also call the Los
    Altos Chamber of commerce at
    (650) 948-1455
    Attorney General and/or Public Utility Commission

    Check out this link!

    http://battellemedia.com/archives/002632.php

    **editor’s note: I have taken out the phone number, as it’s a personal number, according to Kevin. **

  • lola

    http://sanjose.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Report.aspx?site=68&bbb=1216&firm=228893

    Above is the link for the BBB conplaints! YOU ARE ALL NOT ALONE!!!

    Here is a different name and phone number that has a real persons voice on the answering machine!

    CONTACT: Kevin Leu MerchantCircle +1-858-xxxxxxx Kevin@MerchantCircle.com

    I would also call the Los
    Altos Chamber of commerce at
    (650) 948-1455
    Attorney General and/or Public Utility Commission

    Check out this link!

    http://battellemedia.com/archives/002632.php

    *editor’s note: I have taken out the number as I am told it is a private number – jbat**

  • lola

    XXXXXXXXX
    THAT NUMBER doesn’t work but it is good to raz them

    *editor’s note: I have taken out the number as I am told it is a private number – jbat**

  • http://www.atlcbox.com Theresa

    I am thinking it is not MC but someone who may be trying to put them out of business or someone with too much time on their hands.
    I want to add that Merchant Circle phone call has happened to our business, A Theme Learning Center Box, LLC or http://www.atlcbox.com. I do have a free account with MC. I have found the free account to be of some help. The networking has been helpful.
    I did think of not keeping it after the scam.
    I came upon this site while I was trying to get on MC account from another computer not our own so it was not book marked
    I am thinking it is not MC but someone who may be trying to put them out of business.
    I am going to call. Thank you for a phone number!

  • http://www.emmaus-racine.org Paul

    Thanks to all the posters above. Merchantcircle has been leaving messages pestering us to confirm for some Googler that our church is a legitimate business.

  • http://blah.com Brandon

    # September 28, 2006 5:31 PM

    I made a post here on the above date.

    Not that long ago I started getting messages from these guys again…If I have to sift through hundreds of google search results, again, to find a way to personally contact one of these idiots…they will not like me when I finally do reach them.

    I’ve often wondered how far some sort of a law suite against them would get if there were enough people pissed off by them to initiate it. Can’t be that hard to start up here in good old California.

  • http://www.voyager360.com Bart Wilson

    Merchant Circle lied to me and I can see they have pissed a lot of other people off too now that I found this blog with other rants about Merchant Circle.

    There isn’t anyone looking for me on Google as the marketing messages to me implied. Scare tactics are entirely unnecessary and smacks of poor sales call planning when the company they call is already page one #1 on Google and we’ve been page one #1 for more than six years.

    SEO Exercise: Enter the Google search phrase: virtual tour cameras, or 360 virtual tours, or broker agent software, or real estate SEO (as this is where I help REALTORS with SEO specifically for them.) Page one visibility means I don’t need a Yellow Page ad, a bill board, or a display ad in the back of a USA Today newspaper and it MOST certainly means I don’t need any help from Merchant Circle, either. I have all the leads I can deal with now and we don’t have to spend a dime on outside advertising.

    Merchant Circle has no contact phone number so I can call them and tell them to get me out of their computer telemarketing calls. If you want to send a complaint, here you go. This is the VC firm that is funding them:

    Tom Unterman
    2425 Olympic Boulevard,
    Suite 6050 West
    Santa Monica, CA 90404

  • http://www.mprhodes.com Mary Pat

    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!

  • http://www.voyager360.com Bart Wilson

    I filed a complaint with the BBB and the responses I received were outrageous and not even on topic. They gave me some lame excuse about their getting information from multiple sources but did nothing to APOLOGIZE for lying to me.

    Voyager never had any issue with a customer trying to find me on Google because we have been page one #1 for the past size years. And no on was posting unsavory information about my firm on MerchantCircle either.

    I demanded that Ben Smith (CEO) send me a letter of apology. I have yet to get that in the mail, but I did get this response this morning:

    On July 07, 2008, the business provided the following information:

    Dear Mr. Wilson:

    I apologize for any inconvenience we have caused you. My team has removed your listings as you have requested, and your phone number has been placed on our ‘do not call’ list. I hope this resolves your immediate concerns regarding this complaint.

    Best Regards,

    Ben T. Smith
    MerchantCircle

  • http://www.enten.com Alice

    We just received the cold call from MerchantCircle even after registering our corporate number with ‘do not call’ registry. We do not want, need or have the time to listen to or respond to such cold calls. We want our number(s) removed immediately from your call MerchantCircle’s call list. Any suggestions?

  • A. H.

    Yes…did a google search and found info on MerchantCircle. Suspected it was a scam-related call.

    How do you suppose they get our business phone numbers ? Any ideas ?

  • A. H.
  • Dave

    Their toll free number that shows up as the call back number is 866-849-3243. If you call it you’ll get a voice recording telling you to that they’ll call you back later or that you can automatically remove a phone number from their call list by pressing the # key. I suggest everyone getting a call, call the number and press the pound key then leave the phone off the hook until they hang up the line. If everyone they called did this just once, that would solve the problem very quickly.

  • Woodstock

    I have read many blogs and researched MC extensively and I have experienced just about every complaint that everyone has shared. I actually helped promote MC over two years ago within my community and took advantage of the ad dollars they would pay out if I were to invite merchants and write endorsements. I must add that I really thought in 2006 that MC was doing a great service but now I’m sorry I encouraged my business social network to join. There are many more details concerning my specific MC drama but I have an idea that hopefully may catch on and settle the issues that we have all experienced without lawyers getting paid.
    Why don’t we all use the business social network mechanism of the MC portal and in a civil manner use it against them to notify visitors that MC….. Get the idea?

  • T

    One of my workers got a voice message on his phone regarding MerchantCircle to see the video made of our company. I decided to google it before I went to the website and glad that I did. Now they have a new approach.

  • http://www.canpazari.com satılık araba

    interesting

  • me

    got this too about the video being of our business and went to site, but fortunately checked out this site before submitting anything. the message rang alarm bells and well i’m glad i didn’t submit anything. if they can’t tell me anything about my business then most likely they are spammers because the message itself is so generic. kind of like the automated message letting me know that my automible is …..etc i google every company before submitting any information nowadays.

  • Woodstock

    Has anyone tried to delete their MC account yet?
    I’ve been trying for two years now.
    Have fun!

  • me2

    Thank Goodness for blogs like this! All I need is 20 more calls a day with people trying to sell me bogus online marketing. I just got the automated response suggesting I take a look at a negative video that was put up on MC about my company.

  • Brian

    This has to be a scam, I received a phone call about a video of our company, Well I guess someone is spying on us because we are not a visual company. Maybe they have a video of a building that doesn’t even have a sign on it. Thank god for web sites like this so people can look out for others.

  • Brad

    Merchant circle sucks donkey ballz. None of my customers would ever take the time to leave a review, let alone a video. second of all i could give a shit less if they did. i know my customer service is bueno!!!! what a stupid ass annoying company.

  • GOSTRATH

    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 4087470724
    Phone 408400-0550
    email: abuseteam@svcolo.com
    info@svcolo.com
    support@svcolo.com

    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.

  • Hollywoodstarrs

    I was looking for a company to help my business idea of helping small businesses elevate their exposure online and I came across MC and this blog. I saw that this company has merged with http://www.web.com and a contact number is also provided: (Kevin Leu)
    (redacted by editor)
    Kevin@MerchantCircle.com

    I hope this helps everyone get what they need.

    Good Luck!
    Allen

  • http://www.toyracing.com Frank

    “Merchant Circle” are scammers. They make false claims. They’ve listed my business incorrectly. They left a message that there was a video of my business on their site. Not! After many attempts to correct these people I find I cannot. They will not list the name of my business correctly. They don’t offer an e-mail, an address or phone number. It seems the only way is to register with them. Why would I want to register with a business that can’t even be bothered to list me correctly? They are damaging my business, not helping it.

  • http://www.organicfortunecookies.com kimberlyn underwood

    Nice speech from Ben…..yes…but what’s your number dude? Oh, right! If I pay $49.95 per month I can have a contact number? (sure…..) Can’t wait to sign up for that!

    Here is a partial list of damage you caused to me personally:

    1. The aggravation caused muscle tightening: Cost for series of massages to undo this tension: $700 (6 sessions)

    2. 2 new wrinkles from grimacing: Cost: $2000 for facial resurfacing.

    3. Hair loss and new gray hairs: Cost: plugs and hair color (not fully attributed to Ben) : estimate: $5000 (1/10th of total cost).

    4. Productivity loss: $2000 (more)

    5. Legal fees to fight the unautorized charge against my card to verify my business. $10,000

    6. Legal fees for my liability of having provided people in my business network that could vouch for me: $60,000.

    ….now, this is only the beginning.

    So far: $79,700

    multiply this by the number of people you are harasssing. Your vc’s should jump and you should jump out.

  • Sue

    wow. scary. I am so glad I am reading this! Bastards!

  • http://www.shepherdmtnproducts.com Daws Metcalf

    I have a new company web site, and Merchant Circle has been great getting me on search engines – Thanks.

  • Jann

    I have received numerous recorded solicitsation messages from Merchants Circle in the last several years, and usually ignore them. The most recent one from last week has a new twist, not the video one. The message stated I had “low score” and to go to the site and type my busines sphone number in the blue box. Given what I have read in various blogs, I am not making that effort and don’t particularly care what their rating of my professional services may be.

  • http://www.web.com goril

    Found here by searching google after reading a news on WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122470119981159169.html

    Looks like the scammer wants to get a bigger pot.

    I find its scheme very similar to that of spoke.com, although the latter is going after your personal info.

    Hope more innocent people are alerted.

  • RB

    I have never seen a forum with so many complete IDIOTS! You complain about this company calling your business even though you registered it on the DNC list.

    Guess what? You’re not covered! Check this out.

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt107.shtm

    Item #14 states…

    The National Do Not Call Registry is only for personal phone numbers. Business-to-business calls and faxes are not covered by the National Do Not Call Registry.

    It says the DNC is for personal numbers only. If you are using a personal line for your business, it’s a business line.

    So SHUT UP! BTW, I an listed on MC and I’m HAPPY.

  • Woodstock

    Hey RB,
    We are not idiots!
    You should not tell people to shut up!
    Why don’t you look up a local MC “anger management counselor” in your area?

    BTW, I am not listed on MC anymore and I’m happy too.

  • Scot

    passing on a quote from another article on MC:

    ” If anyone would like their listing to be removed from MerchantCircle please email support@merchantcircle.com and include your business name and phone # and we will remove your listing from the site and your contact information from our system within the day.”

  • woodstock

    Scot,
    Do you work for MC?

  • http://thepitmalibu.com Rick Metzler

    I’m a business owner and I’ve been surprised to have new students call my martial arts school and call as a result of finding out about my school on Merchant Circle’s website. One guy even wrote a really nice review and this one simple review has helped others feel good about coming in. I’ve researched some of what I’ve read here and I can see where some would be bothered.

    I’ve also noticed that there is a page where I’m given the option for removing all of my info and listing from their system.

    Are the main issues that you guys are having only when you have paid?

    Thanks,
    Rick Metzler
    Chief Instructor-The Pit

  • http://member.merchantcircle.com/ADMAX Marcus Keith

    We now sign all of our small business clients up for a MerchantCircle account, and most of them we recommend Premium.

    Our sister company, a small business financial services firm, is presently the fastest growing company in its field in Southern California thanks largely to local search in general and MerchantCircle in particular.

    Contrary to some of the negative comments above – earlier this year MerchantCircle became the cornerstone of AD|MAX’s low-end local search advertising program. The amazing marketing power of MerchantCircle was obvious to us after experimenting, trial and error, with dozens of local search engines, directories and small business Internet marketing platforms. We really found nothing else that could come close to matching it.

    MerchantCircle is the ‘Prometheus’ of local small business Internet marketing.

  • woodstock

    Marcus,
    Do you work for MC?

  • http://artpr1.com Joyce Hobby

    I just signed on to Merchant Circle. I am part of their marketing team. They have treated me like family. They have shown me their focus – to help local business network with one another and help them gain an Internet presence.

    So far I LOVE what I see. And they are helping my customers get in Google faster than I have ever seen.

  • http://www.fanmanlighting.com/ Jason / Fan Man Lighting

    I joined MC a few months ago for FREE! I have seen my search engine rankings on Google and Yahoo rise to front page status. (No Woodstock I don’t work for MC).

    Jason Stevens,Owner
    Fan Man Lighting

  • http://www.garylapuma.com Gary La Puma

    I admit I was a bit confused by your blog. The reason I recommend MerchantCircle involves my own small business. If you “Google” LaPuma, you will find a family that has doctors, attorneys, and writers! My own little site got lost in the shuffle. By using MerchantCircle, I am now proud to say I have made it to page 2 on a Google search.

    My own initial experience about MerchantCircle and those strange phone calls were similar to the complaining bloggers; however, I found out one of those calls was generated from my old customer who had used MerchantCircle to track me down. I then found out MerchantCircle was run by ex-Google employees who knew all the “hacks” to get more hits on business searches, and I was sold.

    Gary

  • woodstock

    Hacks!
    That does not make sense and if your site was optimized then you should have traffic to your Web site not an ad laden MC page.

  • http://www.rokstok.com Andy M

    I can’t see how Merchant Circle listings would have anything to do with page rank or rising the search listings. Thats a load of bull, they’re clearly spammers, hacks, and very unethical. Try and find a phone number anywhere on their site, you can’t find one. They don’t even review their reviews, I’ve seen vulgar and obscene comments left unedited and its ridiculous!

  • woodstock

    I agree with Andy!

    Why would you want an ad at MC that uses your business name and geo market or niche to diplay ads for other companies that MC gets paid for?

  • Marge Goodridge

    Does anyone out there have any written proof of what Merchant Circle is doing to businesses. They have ruined ours by posting a review from someone that was totally a lie. We are sueing so any help whatsoever would be great.

    • Barbara

      Were you successful? I became aware of a nasty, fake  review of my business. I don’t know what to do.

  • http://www.artiajans.net/astroloji/ Astroloji

    Trying to contact them is an effort in futility. They have hidden all contact information and all phone numbers lead to a fax or voicemail which is never answered. I have done some research and found out who actually hosts their site. I contacted them and they seemed genuinely surprised to hear their was an issue. This is not surprising considering the trouble I had to go through to find out the information. I related what was going on and they seemed genuinely concerned. They asked that I send a complaint to them via email and include some of what I found. I did include slanderous reviews on the site, incorrect information links to revealing photos and much more. I also informed them that I was going to place this information on the net for others to use. They said that would be fine.

  • Randy

    We have had to fight with MC over the past 2 years to keep them from posting a web site for us . 6 monthes after they remove the site after weeks of requestes , they put it back up agien. Its pathetic we have to keep monerting thir site to make sure they dont put up a page in our name . They do not respond to e-mail phone or fax

  • SVcolo Abuse Dept.

    Merchant Circle has not been a customer of Silicon Valley Colocation for many months now. You’ll need to look up their current IP address and use that to determine who their current provider is.

    If I did this for you, it would just inflict that provider after Merchant Circle has left there. You have to look it up, as it might change when they move or get booted from one provider to another.

  • http://www.treasureislandsofsantacruz.com Treasure islands Of Santa Cruz

    I guess I don’t see where MerchantCircle is somehow doing negative damage to a business reputation or name.

    If you are not paying a penny for top search result page placement, where is the damage being done?
    I have had reviews written all over the internet by past customers, most do not give me the option to delete an attack or negative review, should I be going after them with a lawsuit as well?

    Do I agree with all of MerchantCircles tactics? Absolutely not (I have some horror stories of my own).
    But because of the traffic that it is bringing me (and increased page placement on Google and Yahoo), I am in fact getting more business from a much larger area (it may be my savior through this tough economy).
    My main website is also being pulled up organically because of my MerchantCircle listing.

    Am I an employee of MC?
    No I am definitely not…
    I am just a business owner that is trying to make the best of this economy, using as many free tools to advertise my business that the internet has to offer (I can also determine when good can outweigh bad). Look at my MC page
    http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/Treasure.Islands.Of.Santa.Cruz.831-465-8509 I am getting an average of 8000 page vews a month, and 300-400 Yahoo and Google Crawlers.
    Where is the negative in those statistics?

  • woodstock

    There isn’t anything for free!
    If you are getting that much traffic I wonder how many visitors left your FREE MC page to go to one of the PPC ads MC is running on your FREE MC page.

  • KoKoMom

    Has anyone tried to get out of the Merchant Circle web? We’re not getting any increase in customers and finally decided to drop the City Search. It’s incredibly frustrating trying to find any contact info. We finally resorted to changing our financial account number so they could no longer access it for auto-payments. We were finally able to talk to 2 representatives who both left the company immediately afterwards, apparently. Now we are getting dunned for ever-increasing fees. It’s been Dante-esque and also is beginning to very much seem like a Bernie Madoff scam to me.
    I WOULD NEVER USE CITY SEARCH AGAIN

  • Bald Eagle Construction, Inc

    I am happy with my results on Merchant Circle. I have never felt any pressure to upgrade from my free listing, and the other merchants are a great help if you have any questions about how the service works. Any small business has nothing to lose by signing up for free.

    • Cadillacfrank

      Is bald eagle const. a MC insider ?

  • http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/The.Glass.Guy.Hastings.MN.651-491-7626 Ken

    MerchantCircle is by far the best advertising venue hands down. I’m amazed at the results I get with my MerchantCircle listing. I can be found 1st page (and in many instances #1 position on 1st page using many different search terms related to Glass all over the Twin Cities area. Thanks to MerchantCircle my phone doesn’t quit ringing. I am a very active member and volunteer countless hours trying to help and mentor other merchants to find the success I have using this High powered business directory. I also volunteer, (Not an Employee) my time as a Forum Moderator. As far as I know, nobody has ever been forced to join and nobody has ever been pressured to pay a dime to this company. I respect everyone’s opinions positive or negative, and wish everyone the best.

  • Jessica

    MERCHANT CIRCLE SUCKS!! Here’s my story. I was sitting in my home office working. A good customer calls and says,“Have you seen the comment written about you in merchantcircle.com ?”“What’s a Merchant Circle” I say?(I found out you have to join merchantcircle.com “website” before Merchant Circle will contact you about good/bad comments made about your business). The long story short, there was a SCATHINGLY, NASTY, UNTRUE comment written about my company calling me every kind of unethical thief and criminal you can imagine for the ENTIRE WORLD to see!! The “person” who wrote is someone I met briefly and who doesn’t know me or my company very well AT ALL yet he can go to Merchant Circle’s site, and many other sites like it, and try to ruin my good name and reputation to the world just because!! This “person” continued to write NASTY COMMENTS about us for months! I let it go on so I could find out what his problem was, and still is! This person also has a pretty powerful means to continue to defame us locally but GUESS WHAT? He and this other entity are about to be slapped with a complaint leading to a lawsuit! Defamation of character is VERY hard to prove and that we cannot prove so far!! Thank you VERY, VERY much Merchant Circle for costing us 3 attorneys and 2 private investigator to find out WHY this “person” was/is trying to ruin us!!Would you like to pay my lost time and money because of your site??
    Signing up is about the only thing that is free wih Merchant Circle!! That site has cost me lots of money, precious business time, and emotional stress and if I knew how to put their company in the same stranglehold I would do it in a heartbeat!! MC is impossible to get hold of and you have to pay JUST TO TALK TO THEM!! It’s a 900 number call at a hefty $30!! MC’s system hurts small businesses! Do I sound angry?? YOU BET YOUR BUTTONS I AM!! MC and others like them, need to be thoroughly investigated!!
    Now, everybody reading this, go eagerly and sign up with merchantcircle and watch all the psychopaths in the world try to ruin everything you’ve worked so many long, hard years to build!! MERCHANT CIRCLE SUCKS!! I can’t say it enough!!! The bad thing about it is, I can’t touch Merchant Circle, or, if I can I haven’t found the way YET!! Free and easy has a price that goes with it! Beware of Merchant Circle!! I would rather not know what other businesses think of me or mine!! They just shouldn’t do business with me if they don’t like how I do it!! If I do something unethical then sue me!! They should NOT go around spreading lies about my business on the internet!! Shame on you Merchant Circle and all businesses like yours!!

  • alistair

    I have mixed feelings about MC. Please conduct this experiment and see what happens. Do a search on google for your type of business from the same computer and browser you use to edit your MC site. Now do the same search from another computer at a different local, “so the IP address is different”, do you get the same results? I don’t. I am always listed on the first page in google from my computer but may or may not show up if I use a friends etc.

  • Jeff

    For all those folks who have been burned by Merchant Circle let me assure you that the fun continues. Found seriously negative and patently false review from someone who had not had contact with my business. When I tried to find out who to contact I ran into the same problem of online contact that consisted solely of them telling me to write or call the $30 toll number. Worse yet, I didn’t have the option of “claiming” the site for free to get rid of the negatives because someone (probably the harassing poster) has already claims it. Obviously MC did little or nothing to verify the identity of the person purporting to be from my company. In accordance with Ben Smith’s entry earlier in the chain I have emailed them to remove my listing. We shall see whether his promise of one-day removal is worth anything. Have filed BBB complaint and am readying complaint to Virginia AG. Thankfully I am an attorney by training so if this is not resolved very quickly I can handle most of the legal work myself.

  • Pissed Off about Merchant Circle scammers!

    For more information about CLASS ACTION lawsuits against SCAMMER Merchant Circle, see:

    http://www.trustlink.org/Reviews/MerchantCircle-206051062

  • Ronnie

    I never signed up for this service and was getting regular BS emails from them with no unsubscribe option and no “reply to” option. This is a real unethical company. I can’t stand these kinds of SCAMS! Reading this forum makes me realize that if I complain, they’ll just write a negative review of my business to spite me. This is bullshit through and through. No ethical company signs you up for an account without your approval and then spams you. STAY AWAY FROM MERCHANTCIRCLE.

  • Alden S

    What turned me off of Merchant Circle in the beginning (not sure if they stopped this shady tactic or not but) they sent me an email that stated: “One of your customers is looking for you to answer this question” which was a common question I get for my industry. I typed out a thoughtful reply taking my time to make sure I put my best foot forward for my potential client and sent it off. Later, I got another inquiry but since I didn’t get a response after the first, I took a closer look at the message. The beginning was identical/verbatim with only the main point of the question different so it was structured the same however asking something else entirely.

    I searched Google for the beginning and I found thousands of questions pre-populated waiting for answers from Merchant Circle businesses.

    I was fuming! I wasted so much time answering a question in good faith when it was Merchant Circle’s deceptive ploy to generate content on the backs of their experts. What value did I get? Nothing. I wasted 2 hours typing one of my most thoughtful replies only to find out it was a ‘bot’ behind the question and not a real person/prospect.

    Before that I had advised my clients to participate in Merchant Circle now I advise them to avoid it like the plague. I’m an I.T. consultant in St. Petersburg, FL.

  • Janet

    I have a negative review on this site.  I never knew anything ab out this place! A person who purchased a puppy from me posted a negative review which was proven to be unfounded.  This person signed me up and proceeded to defame me on there.  I cannot remove it as I never signed up on that site!!! That seems illegal!

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