Trazzler sells deals platform and refocuses travel writer network on iPhone appNewsBy Dennis Schaal | January 23, 2012Share This article was originally published on Trazzler, the travel writer and photographer network, sold its deals-distribution platform.And, in other developments, Trazzler (see TLabs Showcase) has decided to downplay its website in favor of its iPhone app.An iPhone app update is in the works and it would feature weekly contests -- now available on Trazzler.com -- to entice writers and photographers to submit short editorial pieces on destinations and businesses.Trazzler, in turn, takes in advertising from tourism boards, other destination marketing organizations and media companies, which sometimes feature the editorial. Trazzler's recent advertising partners include NYC & Company, Air New Zealand and the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau.Contest winners typically receive editorial contracts of around $50, although one writer in residence contract went for $10,000.Trazzler had an automated deals platform used to offer deals via social networks, newsletters and email, and had been working with Travelscream as a partner, says Trazzler founder and CEO Adam Rugel.But, Patrick O'Hara, vice president of business development for a startup, ThatsCool.com, says the company has purchased the Trazzler deals platform, which "will help shape our soon-to-be-released website, @TravelDeals, www.attraveldeals.com."Travelscream fed deals into the platform, O'Hara says, and will likely be a ThatsCool.com partner."There are quite a few companies in the travel deal space so our focus is going to be slightly different with an emphasis on social media distribution, regional/local content along with some unique, internal and community-oriented, deal-vetting techniques," O'Hara says.Meanwhile, Rugel of Trazzler says the company is profitable, and the sale of the deals platform and new strategy to focus on its iPhone app shouldn't be interpreted as a sign of any distress.The deals platform was "a relatively small portion of our business," Rugel says.Trazzler.com was relaunched a few weeks ago and will remain in place, largely as an informational site, he says.But, Trazzler saw a "ton of downloads" of the iPhone app a month after its September launch, and witnessed more engagement on the iPhone app than the website, Rugel says."It was a wake-up call that that's probably where our focus should be," Rugel says.Trazzler deals with a perennial problem faced by content sites: how do they come up with a sustainable model to get editorial content and keep it updated?Rugel notes that Trazzler, which employs just three people, raised an angel round in 2008, and doesn't have the pressure from investors that sites such as NileGuide and Oyster may have.Trazzler's writing contests attract a slew of entrants as the contests usually are of "a short-form nature," about 125 words or so about a point of interest, Rugel says.And, he swears that Trazzler itself will not be of the short-form variety as a company."We are in it for the long haul," Rugel says.