MerchantCircle 1.6 Million Members to Curate Blekko Small Business Search

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MerchantCircle Community To Create, Edit "/smallbusiness" Vertical Search To Weed Out Spam

Blekko, the new search engine that is using human curation to eliminate spam from search results, and MerchantCircle, the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, today announced a partnership that will weed out spam for users searching for small business resources. MerchantCircle’s community of 1.6 million members will help improve small business search results by curating the new slashtag “/smallbusiness” so that it returns results from trusted resources that are free of spam.

“The MerchantCircle community can help ensure that small business searches on blekko deliver the best of what’s available on the web, no small feat today given the explosion of spam across almost every search category,” said Rich Skrenta, CEO of blekko. “This collaboration allows blekko to tap into the knowledge of small business owners, who are forced to compete in search with professional SEO wizards who want to get in the way of good information.”

Blekko launched in November promising to create a new kind of search experience that would enlist human editors in its effort to eliminate spam. Since then, the company has taken dramatic steps to clean up the swampy web, banning 1.1 million domains identified as spam and blocking the 20 sites most identified by users as spam. Blekko continues to partner with search-specific expert communities, leveraging human knowledge to improve search verticals.

As a result of the partnership, blekko will also provide ongoing analysis of content and pages created by MerchantCircle’s local members to ensure this content meets quality standards, does not contain spam and is free of unscrupulous inbound links. The MerchantCircle member experience empowers local merchant-to-merchant and merchant-to-consumer conversations, and the foundation of this communication revolves around creating original, quality content for free.

“This partnership supports our commitment of ensuring our members and our organization are offering the highest quality content across the Web and to all our customers,” says Darren Waddell, vice president of marketing at MerchantCircle. “We are excited to partner with blekko -- a recognized leader in search quality -- to provide the best platform for merchants to share high-quality, original and trusted content.”

Search vertical editors identify and submit web pages that contain the highest quality content from the most trusted sources. All submissions and recommendations from editors are reviewed by blekko before changes are implemented that would impact search results. All users can continue to edit any category they choose without permission from search vertical editors.

Small business owner and MerchantCircle member, Michele Gorham of Cookie Central said, "I'm excited to hear that we can contribute to helping other small businesses find the right search results on blekko. I love that MerchantCircle is always looking for ways to help make the lives of local business owners more productive and successful."

About Blekko
Blekko was founded in 2007 to pursue innovation in search. The company has raised $24 million since its founding in 2007 from US Venture Partners and CMEA Capital, as well as leading angel investors including Ron Conway, Mike Maples, Jeff Clavier, and Marc Andreessen. Blekko has 25 employees, including former Google and Yahoo! Search engineers.

About MerchantCircle
Founded in 2005, MerchantCircle is the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, combining social networking features with free marketing tools that enable merchants to maximize their online visibility. Over 1.6 million merchants use the tools offered on MerchantCircle to create conversations with customers and connect with other local merchants. In addition to its free services, MerchantCircle offers a portfolio of premium online advertising solutions including search engine marketing and instant website development. In 2010, MerchantCircle acquired TimeBridge and the popular Bloglines service to further extend its network offerings. MerchantCircle is based in Mountain View, Calif., and funded by Ron Conway, Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Steamboat Ventures and IAC. Learn more at

Sarah Prejean for Blekko, blekko(at)sutherlandgold(dot)com, (415) 608-4043
Leyl Black for Merchant Circle, leyl(at)sparkpr(dot)com, (415) 321-1868


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Sarah Prejean
SutherlandGold for Blekko
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Leyl Black
SparkPR for MerchantCircle
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