Federated Media’s top sales exec, Chas Edwards, is leaving the firm to join male-focused social news site Digg as publisher and chief revenue officer. He’ll start on June 22 after a transition period.
Edwards will oversee Digg’s monetization efforts, including its growing in-house ad sales group. The company has recently ramped up those efforts, having hired Yahoo sales vet Tom Shin and begun the process of recruiting a national sales force. By year’s end, its goal is to hire five to seven people in San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, and New York.
As a result of its sales expansion, Digg recently ended a two-year-old exclusive ad selling relationship with Microsoft, one year earlier than the deal was set to expire. The two will continue working together for sales of Digg’s remnant inventory.
In a blog post about his move, Edwards said he first met Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson in 2006 when the Digg founders came to FM’s offices to discuss a partnership between the companies. As an outgrowth of those meetings, Edwards helped broker a custom Intel sponsorship that integrated the brand with several new features on Digg. Deals with Sony and IBM followed.
“In the grand scheme of online advertising, these were small experiments,” he said. “But the Digg process made an impression on me…. Advertising doesn’t perform for the advertisers if it doesn’t also resonate with the audience; it succeeds only when it enhances the product and the conversation among those audience members.”
Digg’s previous Chief Revenue Officer Mike Maser, will continue in his other role as chief strategy officer, leading Digg’s marketing, community management, and business development efforts.
Edwards was a founding member of Federated Media’s management team. To fill the vacancy, FM has promoted East Coast sales VP Pete Spande to SVP Sales.
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