Ex-Googler Tom Phillips Joins Media6Degrees as CEO

Behavioral and social ad startup Media6Degrees has tapped former Google exec Tom Phillips to lead the company as CEO.

During three years at Google, Phillips started as director of its print ads program, later became an architect of its DoubleClick integration, and finally was named director of search and analytics. In the latter role, he helped large advertisers improve their campaign performance — along the way creating incremental revenue gains for his employer.

However, he said there were always some clients for whom search was a limited proposition. For these marketers, he said, “back-end economics didn’t allow them to compete effectively.” Examples include hotel companies that competed with online travel agencies.

Speaking with ClickZ this morning, he said one of Media6’s big opportunities lies in capturing online budgets of big marketers that have struggled with search.

“We think the low-hanging fruit here is big marketers who…can’t make it work,” Phillips said. “The company is just at a stage where it’s capturing enough data” to offer clients substantial reach.

Media6Degrees was launched in December 2008 with a promise to deliver accurate data on the product affinities of tight-knit social groups. It does so by engineering a combination of cookies and ad server logs to pinpoint a person’s interests and generate anonymous profiles of his or her “real friends.”

Once a group of Internet users are determined to have an affinity for each other, the company can observe the purchases of one or more individuals in the group through partnerships with online retailers. It can then use that purchase data to guess at the buying habits and preferences of the others, and can buy ad space that reaches those individuals with relevant products.

“This whole notion of using the connective data between people on the Web as a means of figuring out who the right audience for the marketer is very powerful,” said Phillips.

Media6’s outbound CEO, Joe Doran, will remain an advisor to the board and may be named to the advisory board. He may also serve in a business development capacity, though nothing is official, the company said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story attributed to Phillips a statement about hotels competing with OpenTravel Alliance establishment. His actual statement was in reference to online travel agencies.

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