Richard Kosinski has been the guy selling Yahoo ads to political advertisers for awhile now. But no longer. According to a tip-off from Eric Frenchman, who handles a lot of online search and display buying for John McCain's campaign, Kosinski will take a senior position at WestwoodOne.
I checked in this morning with Kosinski, then heard back from Yahoo PR that, indeed, he'll be replaced by Diane Rinaldo, "a four year Y! veteran." She'll "assume the leadership of the political ad sales team," the e-mailed statement said. Evidently she's been working with the presidential candidate campaigns and party committees since joining the political sales team last year.
When I first met Kosinski in January 2007, we were perched high atop Manhattan for a sunlit lunchtime presentation about Yahoo's Personal Finance section redesign. At the time, he was Yahoo's business and finance category development officer. I have to say I was kind of surprised when I saw him on an online ad industry event panel representing Yahoo's political advertising.
Not that he isn't perfectly capable of selling Yahoo to political advertisers, it's just that it caught me off guard. As a good source in the online political ad world has suggested to me (not necessarily regarding Kosinski), media firms often pluck an ad salesperson from a standard vertical focus to handle political advertising when presidential primaries kick into gear.
It's worth noting, at least according to Nielsen Online data, Yahoo ran the most display ad impressions by presidential candidates in 2007, compared to any other individual Web site. Though networks like Google and Advertising.com also definitely raked in some dough from the three big online ad spenders -- Barack Obama, John McCain and Mitt Romney (remember him?) – Yahoo appears to have done well thus far.
According to my calculations based on Nielsen Online data, nearly 90 million ad impressions from the candidates, or 32 percent, ran across Yahoo -- from its Movies and Sports sections to its highly-trafficked e-mail pages. MSN grabbed about 30 million or 11 percent of display ads run by presidential hopefuls, mainly Obama. Excite's e-mail section and homepage garnered over 16 million or 6 percent of impressions, while AOL scored about 4 percent or 11 million. Sites including FoxNews.com, The New York Times, MSNBC, Newsmax and HuffingtonPost.com also got some prez campaign dollars in '07, and continue to.
As for why Kosinski is leaving, I don't know, but no matter what reason he gives, observers are sure to speculate that it has something to do with Yahoo's ongoing upheaval and unsure future.
According to the Yahoo spokesperson who confirmed his departure, "First and foremost, politics and elections will continue to be a focus for the company, especially as the presidential election nears."
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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