Trada raises $2.2M to crowdsource paid search

Company wants to handle keyword search ad campaigns for mom-and-pop shops

Technology trends and news by Matt Bowman
March 18, 2010
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 We’re seeing a lot of crowd-sourcing enterprise companies help small businesses act more like big ones. Crowdspring takes care of design and writing projects, CrowdFlower finds hands for menial digital tasks, and Get Satisfaction handles customer support.

Boulder-based Trada, which launches to the public today wants to take care of paid search. The company also announced a $2.2 million round of funding led by the Foundry Group, which has also backed community- powered sites including Zynga and StockTwits.

The premise is that many mom-and-pop shops know they should advertise on Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing and the like, but don’t have the time to learn the tricks or the money to hire an expert.

Trada has collected a community of 300 SEO experts and growing who will take on projects ranging from $500 to $50,000 month (CEO Niel Robertson told us bigger companies would be more likely to use heavy enterprise solutions like Efficient Frontier). Business owners go to Trada and specify a budget with a fixed price per click or per sales conversion. Search experts from Trada’s community then select keywords and suggest text to use for ads (or use copy specified by the business), and input their suggestions into Trada’s interface. A typical campaign may have 24 experts working on it. Trada then sews it all together into one singular campaign that runs on Google and Yahoo. Trada knows which experts are responsible for which clicks and conversions, and pays them accordingly.

The company has been in stealth mode since it was founded in September of 2008. It launched with private beta customers in December of 2008, and currently has about 75 customers. The team consisted of 6 people for 12 months, is now close to 20, and Robertson says he plans to grow the workforce quickly. To date, most of the work has gone into developing the core product (“experts require a lot of functionality” Robertson says), and the new funds will go to sales, marketing, and expanding the types of advertising they will support (at the moment, it’s just Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing).

Robertson also founded Newmerix and Service Metrics, which sold to Exodus for $280 million in 1999.

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