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MerchantCircle last week quietly added free Request for Quote services for its large base of 1.6 million local merchants, immediately sending out more than 180,000 quotes. The quotes are based on category and locale.

Logistically, consumers who ask for quotes are asked for more information, if needed. They are then routed to merchants. The MerchantCircle system automatically creates profiles for consumers that allows them to track which vendors have received their request, manage their responses and also go back and rate the vendors they’ve worked with.

On the merchant side, merchants receive leads in their inbox, where they can engage with the prospect or pass along the lead to other merchants in their network. Each lead is pre-qualified through the MerchantCircle system to help prevent junk and spam and to ensure quality.

MerchantCircle also announced that it will be deploying the leads feature to the CityGrid Media network. As part of the agreement, MerchantCircle will provide CityGrid with a feed of advertisers for distribution on the CityGrid network; each advertiser profile will include a clickable button that launches a lead submission form. CityGrid is an investor in MerchantCircle.

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