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The Search Party, Reinvented

Trada aims to make broader online marketing capabilities more accessible--and affordable--to any size business

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This story appears in the November 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Most business owners are aware of the rudimentary keywords and tools necessary to promote their goods and services to consumers, but only search engine optimization experts fully grasp the myriad complexities that earn the maximum bang for your digital marketing buck. Now, thanks to Trada, any business can hire an army of SEO specialists--and even name its price in the bargain.

Founded in late 2008 by Niel Robertson in Boulder, Colo., Trada is a crowdsourced paid-search marketplace that lets small businesses leverage the collective acumen of more than 700 certified search experts who earn their living generating low-cost clicks and conversions. Prospective advertisers come to Trada with basic information about who they are and what they do, establishing campaign parameters such as daily budgets, prices per click and target costs per conversion. From there, Trada taps its freelance expert network, and interested parties begin creating ad groups, keywords and ads. If the search experts sell the ad below the advertiser's preset price, they keep the difference and give Trada 25 percent of their cut. "Paid search is such a big marketplace that it's hard to get value out of it," Robertson says. "The basic idea behind Trada was to create a marketplace system where advertisers spend what they want."

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