After a two-week beta period, MerchantCircle is out with a new mayorship title for its SMBs that are the most “networked.”
One mayorship is given for every city/town and is achieved by engaging in the standard b2b activities of the site (connecting with other merchants, inviting others to join, etc.). This is all managed through a dashboard where merchants can view points, leaderboards and top challengers for mayorships.
Like on Foursquare, this is meant to create a sense of competition that drives engagement. But beyond the game mechanics seen on Foursquare and other recent success stories, mayors are also given a financial incentive to the tune of free advertising on MerchantCircle.
The company claims it’s already seeing results, with mayors crowned in 7,500 cities; and growth in network invitations of 59 percent and merchant connections of 123 percent. You can see a video explaining more about the new feature here.
As we’ve written, game mechanics are spreading like wildfire in mobile and online local services. Expect that to continue, but novelty will be lost in time; a value exchange of monetary appeal will need to eventually step in. MerchantCircle’s free advertising for mayors achieves that.
Meanwhile, Foursquare is increasingly offering users “nearby specials” and mayor discounts, with promises of much more to come. And Loopt recently rolled out its loyalty card program, while WHERE and Brightkite are making similar moves. Expect to see lots more as user expectations evolve.