Reports have Google Ventures-backed search engine marketing company Trada closing its doors, but company founder Niel Robertson tells Online Media Daily it simply restructured to prepare for changes coming in the future.
That restructuring cut staff from 65 to 11, according to a source. A layoff reduces liabilities and makes it easier to sell the company, but only until existing customers churn out. These days, the average customer lifetime in search engine marketing sits at about 1.5 years to 2 years, per sources.
Robertson declined to share more details on the restructuring other than to say that the company is "nicely profitable and stable," and that the doors are "wide open" to take on new customers and serve existing ones. He is working on the next "evolution" of the company, which could have come at the advice of investors.
Industry insiders Trada went up for sale in Q2 2013, but there are no takers yet. The company raised $1 million in August. Entrepreneurs say that's typical when the company's out of cash and investors are fed up. They will give small amounts of cash to keep the company going to sell the business. They believe it's better to invest another $1 million in hopes of recovering past investments.
Paid search remains a difficult industry to succeed in, according to an industry source -- adding that Clickable, Click Equations, and Yield Software all raised venture capital dollars and failed.
Trada, a marketplace that connects companies with search experts, emerged in 2010 with a different business model. The company began working with Microsoft and Yahoo in 2011 to support mostly small and medium-size businesses. The experts create keywords and ad groups, and write ad copy for advertisers that lack the resources and knowledge to design, manage and run paid-search campaigns on multiple ad networks.
On LinkedIn, Trada began recruiting business development reps less than two weeks ago. The openings in the Boulder and Denver, Co. area want sales reps with the ability to identify leads.