Earlier today an odd thing started to happen – new comments started pouring in on a months old post I wrote on MerchantCircle, a local business search play. Apparently today the company started automatically calling merchants in its listings database, and what MerchantCircle had to say really upset any number of business owners. Apparently in the call MerchantCircle informed the business owners of their relative rankings and reputation in the system, regardless of whether or not the news was good. As one might expect, if your entire livelihood is in your small business, and an automated system leaves you a voicemail telling you that there is an “unfavorable review” of your livelihood, why, you take that personally.
So what do you do? Well, you fire up Google and do a search for “Merchantcircle,” of course. After all, you want to know what is up with this company, which you’ve never heard of, and Google is always your first stop. And who has the third link on Google, and the first non MerchantCircle related link? Yup, Searchblog. You read my (not very deep) thoughts on the company, and then notice there is a comments section. AHA! A chance to take action is born, and action is taken.
As more and more comments pile on, the site author (that’d be me) takes notice, and I sent an email to Ben Smith, the CEO, alerting him to the issue. Ben has responded that he’s on it.
What I love about this story is how search becomes the connective tissue between cause and action, conversational stitching in real time. Magic.