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"Merchant Circle" ratings???

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Val, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    I just got a phone call, a recorded voice says "This is Google. A customer has gone online to Merchant Circle and given your business a negative rating. To review your rating, go online to merchantcircle.com and enter your business phone number. That's merchantcircle.com...click"

    I looked it up and it's like an online yellow pages deal. Enter your business phone number to sign up for it!!!

    Anyone ever hear of this?? It peaked my curiosity with the "negative ratings" hook, I did not go any further and DID NOT enter my number!. and now I'm just plain mad. :fire: For a minute. Now I'm over it.

    A customer just came in and she said her business (A pregnancy counseling center!!) got the same message last weelk

    Just another scam.....BEWARE!!
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  2. Doug Gemmell

    Doug Gemmell SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    My message from Merchant Circle just said that our business had gotten a review and to log on to find out what it said. I ignored it.

    Sounds like fraud or deceptive business practices or something.

    Eventually, they will find a way to bill you for just logging on!
  3. Chuck T

    Chuck T Grumbler

    We got the same call today. It said we had a negative comment about our store. When we looked at the sight, we found nothing. I would say that this is a scam also.
  4. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Same kinda thing last week. Said we received a 'positive rating', gave a site address and also requested we enter our business phone #. I did not. I have sence looked up the address and looked over the site, I figured they were selling 'online directory' or 'website's'. Wierd huh...
  5. LeighAnn

    LeighAnn CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I got the same message and today I got an email followup. It said it was from another business in town.

    This is the first few words of the email...

    "My name is and I own ...."

    I'm sorry, what is your name? Plus it was using our old store name, we changed about a year ago.

    I am getting soooo tired of these types of phone calls and emails.
  6. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    I got the same recording with the "positive rating" twist myself.

    I guess the folks in India are getting tired of me hanging up on them and have opted for recorded cold calls.
  7. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Same thing here yesterday with a positive rating.

    You can choose from 3 different levels of membership, fre and the other are pay.

    I got a couple emails from them as well.
  8. Creative Chicks

    Creative Chicks SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks for the heads up Val. Those guys keep getting sneakier by the minute. I actually had to get "nasty" with one company the other day and threaten to call the FCC to get them to stop calling me.

  9. Elaine

    Elaine SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    What have you got to lose??

    I also received one, all it said was a customer comment. Did not see one, as I perused the site. But, my thoughts, do not reflect yours... What have you got to lose if you try the freebie??? It's affiliated with Google. Do you know how hard it is to even come up on google within a couple of pages without paying for it?? Do you know how many people rely on google for searches, etc.???

    I think it warrants a good look at and not discounted as another scam, but as possibly another tool to market your business.

    my 2 cents, and really tired of the negativity that abounds no matter which way you turn your head!

  10. RRAF

    RRAF True Grumbler

    We got the call too!

    I'm so sick of these sleazy calls that I turned them in. They have no right calling a "do not call" number and their tactic is fraudulent at best.
    I hope more will do the same.:smileyshot22:
  11. Doug Gemmell

    Doug Gemmell SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Go for it!

    So Elaine, how about signing up and letting us know how it worked out for you.

    Maybe it is a good thing but I think their marketing tactics are what bothers folks.
  12. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I took Doug's challenge and did it.

    I saw others in my immediate neighborhood that signed up as well.

    The one anoying thing is when I clicked a link to advertise for free I found out it automatically sent out an email from me saying hi and to come to my shop.

    Other than that I clicked the free link and never gave any credit or personal info.

    It was painless but I do agree their marketing does leave something to be desired.
  13. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    What did you turn them into?

    Sorry...I mean...to whom do you turn them in?

    I mean...who do you turn them into?

    I mean....I'd turn them in too, if I knew who to call!
    (Who do you call?) (Or is it "Whom do you call?"):nuts:
  14. Doug Gemmell

    Doug Gemmell SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Allright Jb! Let us know if anything comes of it. Were there any comments about your shop on it? It's hard to believe that there are comments about all of us that were contacted.

    Is this like Angie's List? I thought about signing up for that out of curiosity but it is a few bucks a month and I'm not THAT curious.

    Wonder if there are any frame shops on it.
  15. stshof

    stshof SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I was feeling left out and the phone just rang and guess who was calling! And they have a negative comment about me, too! All right! I feel like a member of an exclusive club! Great framers doing great work! Yes!!!
    :p ;)
  16. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Are you a buisness?

    There is no "Do Not Call" registry for business listings....
  17. RRAF

    RRAF True Grumbler

    I dunno, but I registered all of our business numbers at donotcall.gov about a year ago and l got a confirmation back. The interesting this is that when we get these unsolicited calls (very few now) we say "you're calling a do-not-call number" and .....click.....they hang up immediately and don't seem to call again.

    I registered a complaint at donotcall.gov

    Whether or not this "business" is worth taking a look at is beside the point. Any business that has to use deception by preying upon the business owner's reputation to hook a customer is, in my opinion, not worth taking a look at.

    Again, just my opinion.
  18. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    Elaine, I've been burned by the Freebies-in-disguise this year, they may be free at the onset, but all of a sudden you start getting invoices, threatening phone calls, etc. And the fact that they begin the call with a recorded message and hang up, makes me not trust it. Call me paranoid, and I'm normally a very optimistic and positive-minded person, but I get calls like this several times a day now, and I'm just flat tired of it! I have work to do.

    I'm totally for a positive marketing approach, but until I get one that doesn't have to resort to trickery to get me to join...not gonna do it there.
  19. Elaine

    Elaine SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I did sign up for the FREE

    I did sign up for the FREE part, checked out the site a little bit, seems pretty harmless. There were a couple of other local businesses already on there and I could click through to them if I wanted to. There were also other local businesses that were advertising with google adwords and you could click through to them (adwords is paid advertising on google). You can sign up for a blog, change your information, add search words, etc. My advertising friends says that if you can get your business online with blogs, clickthroughs, etc., you will start to rate higher on search listings.

    There is more that I haven't checked out, but will when I get some more time. My call did not say I had a negative comment, but I probably would have still checked it out, out of curiosity! So far, I have not seen nor read anything negative and I did read the fine print before I signed up for the FREE part. Fine print was the basic disclaimers on website stuff.

    I'll let you know what else I find when I get a minute.

    I also get sick of the hangup calls I get everyday; every morning I have about 6 on my answering machine - atleast this was not one of those!

    I think it's worth checking out.

    my 2 cents!

  20. D_Derbonne

    D_Derbonne PFG, Picture Framing God

    I also signed up for the free listing and updated my business info.
    Not sure about the rating system though since it appears that you can just click and rate a business whether you know anything about them or not.

    There doesn't appear to be any way to access any comments made about your own business so that isn't really helpful for the consumer or the business.

    Also would like to know how the average consumer would know about the service?
  21. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    I just signed up for the freebie. I didn't want Jb to be the only one. Now I see Deb and Elaine has also.

    Seems harmless enough. I'll let everyone know if any thing bad happens.

    One thing I did notice...

    I have no comments made. Good or bad. I guess the recording lied.

    Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  22. Steph

    Steph SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Just came across this post, I haven't been on the G much. I got the call to, they said I had a positive, of course their was nothing. So I signed up for the free listing, figured it can't hurt. I definitely won't pay or givce any pertinent info to things of this nature. But hey, whatever happens ..happens. I'll take any kind of listing for free...I have no pride lol
  23. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    Nowhere on the site does it say it is affiliated with Google or anyone else. It is a sleezy company trying to get your info thru whatever means that works.

    I can't imagine why you would actually get a call as you did, and then figure... what the heck, I'll give them my information just to see what happens. Do you all buy viagra from the email spams as well??

    It isn't about being all negative and such. It's about not being so gullible as to fall for these scams saying that it couldn't hurt cause it's free or that it'll help me get noticed on Google.
    Sites such as these aren't going to get you noticed by Google. Having a website that has the catch words that Googles spiders search for is how you want to get noticed.

    It's like advertising in those other telephone books. You figure it can't hurt to have it in another book. Only problem is that the vast majority of those other phone books are thrown out. Waste of money. Waste of time.

  24. stshof

    stshof SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    OK, I joked about feeling left out until I, too, received a call. :D

    But I've got to agree with Framar and several others. I'd like to know how they found me(I don't have a web site and this is the only group I post on). I don't believe they have anything negative or positive about us(it's just a "hook"). I don't believe they're affiliated with Google, either.

    If I share any info with anyone, it will be because I researched them and I called them. Call me paranoid but why risk identity theft or worse? I don't have the money to hire a lawyer and fight a bill for $99.95 a month that I didn't authorize and I don't have the time or money to reestablish my identity, do you?
    :shrug: :faintthud:
  25. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    They lied...??

    The first one I fell for called and said they were the "Yellow Pages", so I confirmed the information they were calling about, said "yes" and immediately started getting a bill, then threatening phone calls, (that I'm still getting!) to collect, for $375!!, and they weren't even real, but a so-called internet listing that I wasn't even on. Now I know better, it's a "hook", like telling us "This is Google calling". I've read so many warnings about scams that warns if they say Google is calling, it isn't Google, because Google doesn't call to solicit! The "real" Yellow Pages doesn't either.

    I'm not being negative, just trying to protect my naive little business self.

    Jerry said "I have no comments made. Good or bad. I guess the recording lied" That's a good enough clue for me that I don't even want to check it out.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2006
  26. ERIC

    ERIC SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    a few things:

    I pulled up gift shops in my area and MORE THAN HALF OF THE SHOPS LISTED ARE CLOSED! They must be using an old database that they got for free. Real nice.

    So that leads me to believe that ALL OF the other businesses in your town that you THINK signed up - DID NOT SIGN UP! Did you call them and ask? or did you assume that just because they are listed, they EVEN KNOW ABOUT IT??

    Then, I pulled up another framer - made a totally fake rating. Fake name and email, and a nice review. It took it. This is going to get the attention of some bored kids and they are going to FLAME everyone listed. REAL NICE!
  27. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    I am with Framah on this: I cannot believe you guys are signing up to this scam!

    Somebody lies to you about a rating (what rating, who is collecting the rating data and who gave them the rating data?) and you run and surrendered your business info to them??

    And it's free? How many things in life are free? And if it's free, how are they making money to list you?

    I wouldn't be surprised if you start getting more SPAM, phone calls and invoices.
  28. D_Derbonne

    D_Derbonne PFG, Picture Framing God

    First of all I didn't get a call.
    I think they want you to purchase the upgraded listing...probably will email all kind of offers but since I used a special email address for them that doesn't bother me.

    They also want you to invite other area businesses to join.

    I didn't give them any information they didn't already have but I do agree the ratings seem to be totally bogus and there are businesses liisted that have been closed for some time in my area too.

    I agree that it is probably a waste of time.

    Oh, I got a call today about my internet yellow page listing. I said, "I don't have one," and they hung up.
  29. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Framah they didn't ask for any info. Next time read the details before you assume some of us are gullible. I have more info posted in my bio on this site than they have on their site.

    They already had my phone number and business name. That is it.

    I didn't give my name or ANY other info so what could they do with a name and phone number they already had?

    I think everything is a scam but this never asked for any info, I just skipped over those fields and that was it.

    If I get a bill or invoice in a few weeks (doubtful but possible) so what? I did not agree to any payment or any service for any fee. I read the terms and conditions and there was nothing there to raise suspicion.

    The other stores in my town listed are operating stores in my immediate area.

    If you don't want to do it don't, no big deal.
  30. Matoaka

    Matoaka MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Got a call just today from "yellow pages online".... wanted to confirm our business information. Same company? Maybe. I just said thanks, but no thanks, and hung up. I'm not real polite with these guys any more. Next time I'll refer them to my state's attorney general office.
  31. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I also "got the call" a couple of days ago.

    On the caning forum someone mentioned scams, and I mentioned this call (whether or not it is a scam is still to be determined.)

    Anyway, 3 or 4 caners have also gotten this call. Plus one caner whose husband has a frame shop.

    (Bet you thought there wasn't another combo like this anywhere! I happen to know of 2 more besides mine. One of them being the mfr of closed corner frames, Rhonda... Rhonda... oh, I can't think of her last name, but you know who I'm talking about. Her husband owns one of the major basketry and caning suppliers in the country! How's that for trivia? ;) )
  32. Framing Goddess

    Framing Goddess SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  33. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thank you Edie. All I could think of was Fineman, and I knew that wasn't right.
  34. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Google Merchant Circle and you get some pros and cons. The general feeling is that their marketing phonecalls are less than desirable. (I agree) Overall thought seemed to be that they are trying to do something for local business. They make their money from clients that upgrade to the pay service.

    Take it for what it's worth.
  35. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    So, jbNormamdog... You don't want the Viagra then?? (pretend there is a smiley icon here) I can't find the icons anywhere!!
  36. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    Calling a business to say it has had a negative report when, in fact, one has had no report at all, doesn't seem to be a very good carrot to dangle. All it does is make one doubtful of oneself and irritated at the marketing effort. First impressions, and all that.

    Pssst...Framah...click on "Go Advanced" to find your smilies
  37. Elaine

    Elaine SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Not gullible, Not Jaded, just a little more optimistic and I read the fine print

    Maybe their first tact of phoning/messaging, wasn't the best, but I think they may have a valid idea. The info they have is out there for the taking. If you don't want the info out there, start changing your name, address, go unlisted on the phone, etc. See how much business you get then - Nada, cause no one will be able to find you, and then where will you be???

    Some info for those who haven't checked it out...

    About MerchantCircle
    We are a privately-funded business based in Silicon Valley, dedicated to helping local businesses get more customers quickly, easily and cost effectively. We know you've got a business to run, and you can't spare millions of dollars and extra employees to manage your advertising and marketing efforts. We don't think you should have to. Instead, let us help you.

    As the Internet has matured, more information is available locally, and consumers are searching for it. Technological advances have transformed the World Wide Web from an impersonal galaxy into the Local Internet, a resource for information pertinent to your life and a vehicle for communicating and collaborating with your neighbors and friends. This evolution of the web into the Local Internet makes it possible for you to target and advertise directly to potential local customers. MerchantCircle helps you tap into the power of the Local Internet to reach these potential local customers, who are online right now, searching for deals, recommendations and information in your community. We created simple tools to help you to promote your products and services, and designed our site to get your business listed higher in search engine results on engines such as Google and Yahoo.

    Many local businesses have been stumped when deciding where and how to advertise, and end up sinking their budget into placing ads in the yellow pages. We think the yellow pages are feeble relics of the rotary phone era, ineffective and unworthy of their outrageous prices. Consumers in the information age are much more likely to search for you on the web, and want more information about your offering than you can cram into one little static phone ad. We know you deserve better, so we developed free tools that help you develop a dynamic business listing and raise your visibility in search results. Moreover, we offer additional affordable service packages that leave phone book ads in the dust for a fraction of your budget.

    As consumers ourselves, we prefer supporting local businesses over the impersonal big box stores. We trust the pros behind our local businesses for their opinions and expertise. The guys at Rancho Hardware know their tools and who's the best contractor in town. Debra at Panache Bridal has gorgeous dresses and tips on the best invitations, caterer and florist around. The team at Cooks Junction can direct us to the primo farmers' markets and help jazz up any kitchen. We've enabled local businesses to take some of this valuable customer interaction online, publishing advice through blogs and newsletters and creating a network by inviting and endorsing other businesses on MerchantCircle. Sharing advice and building a trusted network will bring you and your affiliates more customers through referrals.

    We've focused on creating a robust yet easy-to-use suite of tools specific to your needs. We know that there are already many complex and expensive services available online to help local business owners master different aspects of marketing and advertising. We've tested what works and incorporated the most effective tactics and strategies into a one-stop shop to help you harness the power of the Local Internet, delivering you more customers while saving you wasted effort and money.

    MerchantCircle is led by an experienced team and funded by investors who share our vision and believe in the power of local businesses. Our backers include Rustic Canyon Partners, Bank of America Ventures and Disney's Steamboat Ventures, who each bring their specialized expertise to help us develop and improve your MerchantCircle experience.

    Rustic Canyon has a deep understanding of small business advertising, earned in part through their experiences with the LA Times and City Search. Rustic Canyon was established in September 1999 to invest a portion of the funds created by a recapitalization of The Times Mirror Company (since acquired by the Tribune Company). Their Managing Partner, Tom Unterman, previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Times Mirror, where he supervised its investments, including an active venture capital investment program that included companies such as Netscape, City Search, and WebTV.

    BA Venture Partners know the value of developing communities and forging a connection between small businesses and consumers. BA Venture Partners is the venture arm of Bank of America, who services 3.1MM small businesses and is the largest small business bank in the country, the # 1 small business bank in their territories and the #1 Small Business Administration Lender. BA Venture Partners has carefully built a strong portfolio of investments, including Placeware, a whole new way to communicate, eGroups, (bought by Yahoo!) an early leader in the web community space, and Glu Mobile, creator of great games and consumer marketing.

    Disney's Steamboat Ventures helps companies succeed in emerging media and entertainment markets, and has extensive experience in advertising and developing truly local experiences. Disney owns an interest in 72 ABC radio stations, 10 television stations and many theme parks. In addition, Steamboat Ventures has an extensive investment portfolio, including advertising companies Quigo, who helps advertisers reach millions of targeted customers, and FastClick, (now ValueClick Media,) one of the first online advertising networks.

    We think local businesses are the cornerstone of our communities. We built MerchantCircle to help you thrive in an increasingly competitive environment. We welcome your feedback to help shape the future of MerchantCircle and your local business community. Welcome to MerchantCircle!

    Read more about the MerchantCircle team in our Biographies page.

    Tired of all the negative... from everywhere

  38. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thank you for that, Elaine. Now I feel better about investigating it.

    I get so many calls a day that interrupt me and are just bogus, and if I took the time to invstigate every one, I'd never get anything done. My reaction was exactly the same with Merchant Circle, after being hung up on that way. Sorry to be negative, but, I've about had it with the vultures.

    Thanks again for taking the time to do the research for us. It was helpful, and their message is certainly positive.
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