Michael Bailey Deputy editor

Michael has been a business journalist for 12 years. He has extensive experience editing magazines covering funds management, commercial property and the travel industry. In 2011 he won a Citi Excellence in Financial Journalism award for a BRW cover story on economic indicators.

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Freelancer.com buys Warrior Forum: ‘the marketing community that never marketed itself’

Published 16 April 2014 13:33, Updated 17 April 2014 07:39

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Freelancer.com buys Warrior Forum: ‘the marketing community that never marketed itself’

Freelancer.com founder, Matt Barrie.

Freelancer.com on Tuesday paid $US3.2 million for Warrior Forum, an internet marketing marketplace and community, which Freelancer founder Matt Barrie says is “a firehose of traffic that’s never been properly monetised”.

Barrie has spent three years in negotiations to buy the site, whose 732,000 members help make it the 225th most visited website in the world, yet whose founder Allen Says never once sent an email to his user base.

“It’s ironic that the largest internet marketing community in the world did no marketing of its own,” Barrie says.

Aware that some members might have liked it that way, Freelancer.com is offering a couple of olive branches. It has already halved to $US20 the listing fee for a ‘Warrior Special Offer’ within the Warrior Room’s online marketing marketplace.

It has also waived the subscription fee for existing members of The War Room, a private discussion group for online marketers, however new members will pay $US20 per year rather than the previous, “generous” rate of $US37 for 20 years.

Barrie plans to cross-promote Freelancer.com to the Warrior Room audience, given its users - online business builders and marketers, 37 per cent of whom are based in the US - are similar to those already posting jobs to the ASX-listed site.

“The feedback I’m getting from the forum on the site is that people don’t mind, they’re happy that someone’s finally going to invest to make the site easier to use,” says Barrie, pointing out the Louisiana-based company’s servers were “at their limit” for the traffic the Warrior Room generates.

Warrior Room founder Allen Says has immediately departed the business, however Barrie says he will retain moderators for the sites various sub-communities, which range from ‘copywriting’ to ‘dropshipping’ and ‘website design’.

He has appointed a Freelancer employee of five years, Alister Low, to run the site and plans to hire “a dozen more”, all based in Australia.

“Alister’s our internet marketer and Warrior Forum is his favourite website in the whole world,” Barrie says.

The War Room made “about $US1 million revenue” in calendar 2013, Barrie reveals, with listing and subscription fees bolstered by a “bit” of display advertising.

Even thought that revenue has been made with minimal operating costs - “the earnings number is about the same”, Barrie claims - he still sees “plenty of upside once we get these synergies going”.

Barrie describes Warrior Forum as “as much of a gem as the original getafreelancer.com purchase we made back in 2009”.

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