Trada Raises $2.2 Million For Crowdsourced SEM Management Service

Stealth startup Trada launched to the public today as an online marketplace allowing small and medium businesses and agencies to essentially crowdsource search engine marketing services. The startup has raised $2.2 million from the Foundry Group and angel investors Alan Warms, Carlos Cashman, Dan Murray, James Crouthamel, Stuart Larkins and Robert Wolfe.

As we all know, search advertising is necessary for businesses but SEM can be a time consuming, perplexing and tedious task. Many businesses overpay for common keywords or don’t use the right keywords to drive traffic. Trada comes into play here by crowdsourcing SEM experts to build and manage and advertiser or business’ paid search campaign across search engines. The service currently supports Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing.

Essentially, Trada ends up being a middleman for coordinating SEM service. Advertisers use Trada to enter information about a campaign and experts, who must be AdWords or SEMPO certified and pass Trada certification, use the site to find interesting campaigns and submit keywords, ad copy and bid prices across the search engines and to track and optimize campaigns across the ad networks. Trada coordinates the payments and takes a small cut of each transaction between advertisers and SEO experts.

The benefit for the SEM experts is that they don’t have to deal with the administrative and management issues with clients. Experts earn money when they generate clicks or other actions for less than the advertiser’s target price. Advertisers get 25 qualified experts to work on their campaigns and according to Trada, those businesses who participated in the private beta of the service are seeing successful results.

Trada entered private beta in January 2009 and currently has 70 advertisers and 280 experts to date. Founded by entrepreneur Niel Robertson, Trada was born after Robertson grew frustrated managing his own $8,000-a-month paid search campaign. Realizing that paid search campaigns are best left to experts, he thought an online marketplace for PPC experts and businesses would be the best way to maximize SEM. The startup faces competition from Kenshoo, Conductor and many others.