Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Go With What You Know: Google Ventures Invests in Search Marketing Start-up Trada

Google’s (GOOG) venture capital arm isn’t charged with investing in Google-like companies. But it doesn’t hurt a start-up’s chances, either.

See Trada, a two-year-old company dedicated to helping small businesses buy advertising…on Google. Google Ventures is leading a $5.75 million C round in the  Boulder, Co.-based company, along with existing investor Foundry Group. It had previously raised $2.2 million.

Trada isn’t Google-exclusive–it will also help you buy search ads on Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Bing, of course–but if you’re buying search ads, there’s no mystery about where you’re most likely to spend that money.

There is no shortage of companies, consultancies and one-man shops dedicated to search engine marketing. Trada’s pitch is that it specializes in small customers who spend between $5,000 and $50,000 a month on search, and that it “crowdsources” its help by getting a team of search marketing experts to work on individual accounts. The search experts get a slice of the client’s budget, and Trada takes 25 percent of that for itself.

Just like its new backer, Trada has bigger ambitions than search–it hopes to expand into display ads, for instance, including Facebook’s platform.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik