Jim Spanfeller is leaving Forbes.com, where he’s served as publisher and CEO for nearly a decade, to launch his own digital media startup serving traditional media firms.
During the time he spent running the digital division of the 92-year-old business media company, Spanfeller oversaw Forbes.com’s expanded coverage of lifestyle topics, including high-end travel, autos, style, and other topics. Along the way the site has pulled major sponsorships from brands like Infinity and Cisco, which last May sponsored a Questions & Answers social utility.
In a statement distributed to employees, Spanfeller said, “I see a huge opportunity to have my own media management business that will help other traditional media companies make the most of their enormous prospects in digital venues.”
The Forbes.com site was founded 13 years ago and has expanded to include ForbesTraveler.com, Investopedia.com, the Real Clear network of sites, and a blog network. Together the properties reach 40 million uniques, according to the company’s internal data.
However Forbes.com’s traffic has declined in recent months and years, according to several audience measurement services. One of those services, Quancast, estimates the site’s peak monthly audience this year was 5.8 million, in February. That’s less than a third of the company’s internal audience estimate of 18 million monthly uniques.
Spanfeller will stay on during a transition period and leave sometime after Labor Day.
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