MerchantCircle hits 550,000 members, launches new service

Hyperlocal business directory provider MerchantCircle has launched a new instant website service while announcing new stats showing they have passed 550,000 members.

Founded in 2005, MerchantCircle offers small businesses a web page listing, blogging and email newsletter application, and a local business network that focuses on connecting local businesses. The new “Instant Website” service allows local business owners to select a customized web address through the MerchantCircle platform and instantly create a website under that domain name. MerchantCircle provides all web hosting and content creation tools, with business information automatically pulled and updated from their MerchantCircle listing onto a separate website.

MerchantCircle doesn’t get a lot of coverage (perhaps business listings aren’t sexy enough) but the company is going gangbusters in terms of numbers. The site had 280,000 merchants and just 500 paying members at the start of the year, but today has passed 550,000 merchants and nearly 7,500 paying members. Traffic is at an all-time high: 8.3million uniques on 23 million pageviews per month. The company has taken two rounds totaling $14.1 million, and investors include Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Steamboat Ventures (Walt Disney), IAC and Square 1 Bank.