MerchantCircle Goes From Panda Victim to Blekko Curator

Chris CrumSearchNews

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Interesting news from Blekko today. The alternative search engine, focused on weeding out spam from search, has partnered with one of the top sites impacted by Google's Panda update - MerchantCircle.

MerchantCircle is a small business community site with 1.6 million members. It's actually touted as "the largest online network of local business owners in the nation."

MerchantCircle has been tasked with curating the "/smallbusiness" hashtag on Blekko. Blekko says this will help it return 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 Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta. "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."

"This partnership supports our commitment of ensuring our members and our organization are offering the highest quality local content across the Web and to all our customers," said Darren Waddell, VP 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."

MerchantCircle 1.6 Million Members to Curate Blekko Small Business Search via @sfgate 5 hours ago via Tweet Button · powered by @socialditto

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

Blekko has banned 1.1 million domains it has identified as spam, as the 20 sites most often identified as spam by users.

It's quite interesting to see the differences in Google's and Blekko's methods of determining search quality, and even more so when looking at the sites that are actually deemed to be quality. For example, Blekko blocked eHow, but allows MerchantCircle - even has it curating a major slashtag. Google's update impacted MerchantCircle negatively (at least according to the Sistrix report, which is most often cited in discussions on the subject), while eHow actually flourished.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.