AOL promoted Jim Norton to lead ad sales for its owned and operated sites, including The Huffington Post, Engadget, MapQuest, and others. The position is a new one, invented to consolidate direct sales activities and free up time for chief revenue officer Ned Brody to develop lucrative products and partnerships.
An ex-Googler who previously led agency sales for the search giant, Norton joined AOL in 2009 as one of four senior sales execs reporting to Brody. He led national accounts in the mid-market, while his three fellow SVPs courted larger national brands in the Eastern, Central, and West regions. Norton also consulted internally with product teams at Patch, AOL Mail, and other divisions to optimize their ad products.
Now the buck stops with Norton. All regions report to him, and he'll hold on to the national business and keep his product duties.
This will free Brody, not traditionally a sales guy, to focus on initiatives such as AOL's huge remnant ad deal with Microsoft and Yahoo. Importantly, the company's ad network, Advertising.com, will continue to report to Don Kennedy, who reports to Brody.
Speaking with ClickZ News, Norton said AOL sees the greatest opportunity in video and mobile. "From a content creation standpoint, we've made a commitment to create more video, which will open up larger opportunities for advertisers," he said.
He is also eager to further expand Project Devil and other high-end ad vehicles that provide larger canvases and more flexibility.
"Project Devil has been a key to success for...expanding premium formats across AOL properties and beyond," he said. "My job is to get as close to 100 percent sell-through rate as possible."
His background also includes stints with Google's agency sales force and Tribune Broadcasting's radio sales force.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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