Hi, I'm from the merchantcircle verification department—Once again, this is merchantcircle.com

Today I got a message on my answering machine and I was wondering what it was about. So I checked out the website and noticed after a couple clicks that the service was actually not free. I have no idea what the site really is about, but when I saw stuff for sale, I started to wonder. I guess that in the long run it somehow pays since they are still in business and according to a blog I read, they have have been in business for a while. Especially since they are getting financed by others and that for big money! (last round was US $10 million!) — See Local Onliner for more info.

I got a message too (Jul 17, 2008), the following is the script the guy used:

Hello this is the merchantcircle verification department. We're calling regarding a customer that found your the merchant circle page that you created on Google on Monday July 14, 2008 this customer asked us to verify that you were a legitimate business. To verify your business please go to merchantcircle.com today and click on the red login button. Again, that's merchantcircle.com.

There is a hypotetical person who found my Google Checkout account on the 14th and wants to make sure I'm a real business. The guy could not call me, check out my companies website, check the company's seller permit, or go to the state of California to verify that we're still registered. Nope.

Ho! But wait... they found my merchantcircle page on Google. Nothing to do with my Google Checkout account. Ah! That's better! I mean, that makes more sense. Just that the fact I created a Google Check on that day was probably a... whatdoyoucallit? A coincidence?

Right! So these people have a way to see that you get a new merchant account at Google, and from that they give you a call and ask you to verify yourself. Interesting. It isn't free. And they ask you to input up to 5 emails from other businesses. I wonder how happy these people would be to get an invite to merchantcircle.com, argh!

When was the last time LinkedIn.com called me already?!

Now, don't get me wrong, some people may actually find it very useful to be part of merchantcircle.com. However, trying to get paying customers on board with such tricks is really lame.