8/11/09

MerchantCircle Partners with Demand Media to Enhance Its Consumer Search Experience and Expand Local Business Offerings

Katie Evans , Managing Editor, International Research

Deal Provides Distribution for Demand Media’s Industry-Specific Content and Leverages MerchantCircle’s 20 Million Monthly Unique Visitors

Los Altos, CA August 10, 2009- MerchantCircle, the nation’s largest social network of local business owners, today announced a comprehensive relationship with Demand Media, the leader in distributed social media, to deliver professional, industry-specific content and domain name services to 800,000 MerchantCircle customers. Demand Media’s proprietary content, creation, and social syndication platform and its leading domain name registrar will complement MerchantCircle’s rich, merchant-created content to enhance the consumer experience.

“We believe that MerchantCircle is an ideal web destination for our curated content, which is written by category specialists for consumers,” said Chris Sheridan, registrar vice president at Demand Media. “MerchantCircle also understands the value of personalization, and the domain tools will help expand the breadth of MerchantCircle’s offerings to local business owners.”

MerchantCircle currently has 800,000 local business-owner members and more than 20 million monthly unique local visitors. The company builds and manages a free social network for merchants where they can promote their businesses online by uploading pictures, writing blogs, publicizing events, creating coupons and newsletters, and connecting with other merchants. Currently, more than 40,000 coupons and deals are created a month on the network and consumers have written nearly 750,000 business reviews.

“Consumers come to MerchantCircle looking for local experts to help solve important problems. From home repair issues to legal counsel, we want to enable our merchants to showcase their industry expertise and reach the local consumers who are seeking their services,” said Ben T. Smith, IV, chairman and cofounder of MerchantCircle. “We’re looking forward to a fruitful partnership with Demand Media, which expands our service offering by enriching the expert content our merchants are already creating, drawing in more local consumers, and giving merchants more free tools to market their businesses online.”

Demand Media powers over three billion online conversations every month. eNom, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Demand Media, is the largest wholesale domain registrar in the world, and its services enable MerchantCircle to offer the tools to its customers to set up personalized web sites. Demand Studios engages a community of topical experts and qualified content creators who have produced more than 500,000 articles and videos. The professional, expert-driven content will complement MerchantCircle’s merchant-created content to enhance the experience for these consumer visitors. In addition to the content, related posts from nearly six thousand leading blogs syndicated by Demand Media will help MerchantCircle answer consumer and business owner needs. Demand Media’s own Pluck social media platform will power the delivery of the studio content and blogs to MerchantCircle customers.

About MerchantCircle

Founded in 2005, MerchantCircle is the largest social network of local business owners in the nation, combining social networking features with a customizable web listing that allows local merchants to attract new customers. More than 15 million MerchantCircle business listings across the country are easily accessed on major search engines.

Currently, over 770,000 merchants on the MerchantCircle network upload pictures, blog, create coupons and newsletters, and connect with other merchants. In addition to its free services, MerchantCircle offers a portfolio of online advertising services including Search Engine Marketing, Website Directory Submission, Web Content Creation, Instant Website Development and Business Verification Services.

MerchantCircle was co-founded by Ben T. Smith, IV, co-founder of Spoke and current Chief Executive Officer of MerchantCircle. The company is located on Main St. in downtown Los Altos, Calif., and is funded by Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Disney’s Steamboat Ventures, and IAC. Learn more at www.merchantcircle.com.

Topics:

Communication, Domain registrars, Internet, marketing, Technology Internet

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