Months ago I had a status-report type chat with MerchantCircle, which is essentially a service for small and local businesses that helps them establish a Web presence, get optimized for search, and connect with other complementary companies. At the time I asked them how many paid customers they had. Thousands of “members” didn’t mean much to me if they weren’t generating revenue.
Recently, the company announced it’s built its paid membership ranks to 5,000, and has around 525,000 members. The firm claims its paying customers have increased ten times over since December 2007.
The company also recently hooked up with Yahoo to promote Yahoo’s products to its members, starting at the end of the summer. It’s not clear what that will involve exactly.
Whether those paying members will renew or upgrade to a more premium offering, of course, will really determine the company’s growth and sustainability. MerchantCircle is also up against countless offers from all sorts of services, including ones from well-known brands with entrenched local sales teams.