I’m excited to announce Redpoint’s investment in Scripted, a human capital marketplace startup with a novel twist that is fueling the next wave of online marketing.
Over the last few years, the rules of online brand marketing have quietly changed in a fundamental way, thanks to the spread of social media and the accompanying proliferation of publishing tools and platforms. As a digital marketer, it’s no longer sufficient to litter the Web with banner ads and pre-roll videos to get your message out there. Consumers have increasingly become blind to these “ads,” and are instead busy consuming and engaging with content. Be it blog posts, Facebook posts, Twitter posts, articles, reviews, or tips (or white papers for the B2B crowd) – the content types and platforms continues to grow. Consumers are now demanding more from marketers than catchy ads; they expect a conversation. And marketers don’t have a choice – they must publish good content regularly across all relevant platforms, or risk losing ground to their more social and content savvy competitors.
Trouble is, publishing good content regularly is hard for most online marketing departments. Most don’t have the time (or, let’s face it, the capabilities) to come up with the ideas and the words a week’s worth of content. What they need is a virtual content creation department – an on-demand, domain expert network of skilled content creators that can help with both what to say, and how to say it.
That’s where Scripted comes in. Scripted has attracted 10,000’s of freelance writers with the promise of supplemental work. Unlike most other freelancer marketplaces, Scripted takes responsibility for quality of the work product delivered and, therefore, for the satisfaction of the marketers demanding the content. Using the Scripted platform, content marketers specify the basics of piece(s) of content they’d like to “buy,” and Scripted handles the rest. To insure quality and performance, Scripted employs several techniques, including a Wikipedia-like peer review system, a customer feedback loop on every job, and a programmatic cataloguing of freelancer domain expertise through the crawling of every piece of content produced on the platform. By leveraging the Scripted platform, the content marketer gets the content producer that is best-suited for the specific content job, and the best content producers get the most relevant work.
One thing from our investment diligence that got us really excited about Scripted was that both the demand-side and supply-side found the experience on the platform superior to the other approaches that they’ve tried. On the demand side, content marketers just want high quality content, period. They don’t want to waste time and effort sifting through 100’s of freelancer bios, haggling over compensation and then hounding the freelancer to get it done on time. On the supply side, freelancers want to let their work speak for itself, and to get as much work as they want within their areas of interest and expertise. The Scripted model delivers both.
Attractiveness of Marketplaces
At Redpoint, we like marketplace models a lot. If done right, there are natural network effects to marketplaces which provide barriers to entry, sustainable competitive advantage and, with a little luck, winner-take-most dynamics in terms of market share (and ultimately, company value). We’ve seen it in the vacation rental market with our investment in HomeAway, and in the online ad space with our investment in Right Media, and we’re seeing it in other markets at Adap.tv, Just Eat, Axial Market, and BlueKai. The growing organic demand and high customer satisfaction levels that Scripted is enjoying gives us encouragement that we will see it in the content creation market as well. We’re thrilled to be in business with the Scripted co-founders Sunil Rajaraman and Ryan Buckley, and look forward to working together to scale the Scripted platform for content creation.