Huffington Post Ad Ops Hire Is Key to Revenue Growth

If The Huffington Post is to grow its ad revenue by six times in the next three years, as promised by its CRO, it not only needs to build its sales team. The publisher also needs to ensure its ad delivery backend is up to snuff. Among four high profile advertising division hires, the publisher has hired a new director of sales operations, responsible for honing Huffington Post’s advertising delivery and targeting system for the task at hand.

“I expect our ad revenue to multiply by six times [in the next three years], so it’s better to lay the foundation right now,” said Greg Coleman, chief revenue officer at The Huffington Post. While working in the advertising division at Yahoo, said Coleman, “The first move I made was to put somebody in the role of ad operations who was extremely strong and talented.”

As the site boosts its content, and therefore ad inventory, it is also trying new initiatives that require special technical attention. For instance, Huffington Post recently introduced an offering allowing advertisers to insert paid comments within reader comments and Twitter posts that are aggregated on the site.

“We need to make sure all of that really cool stuff operates effectively,” said Coleman.

Brian Kaminsky, who worked with Coleman during his days at Yahoo, was named VP, director of sales operations. Kaminsky most recently served as VP of global revenue operations for Reuters Media. At Yahoo, he was director of operations and business manager, east. He’ll start at Huffington Post on January 18, and will be based in the New York office.

The site also created three new senior sales positions for execs who will be based on the East and West Coasts, and in Washington, D.C. Andy Wiedlin, VP of sales, West Coast, hails from MySpace, and worked in sales at Yahoo for five years. Wiedlin will be based in San Francisco and is slated to start with Huffington Post on January 11.

New senior sales execs in New York and D.C. already kicked off their work with the firm Monday. Philip Cara, formerly regional sales director at AOL Advertising and sales and marketing director at Yahoo Consumer Direct was named VP of sales, east coast. He also worked with Coleman at Yahoo, and for a short period at AOL during Coleman’s brief stint heading up AOL’s advertising unit.

Peter Cherukuri, Huffington Post’s new VP and general manager in D.C., will handle political and issue advocacy clients. He was most recently SVP and publisher of beltway publication Roll Call.

Until he left the firm in 2007 after more than six years, Coleman served in various positions at Yahoo including EVP of North American operations and EVP of global ad sales. He played a key role in Yahoo’s continuing move towards the integration of search and display.

Additional hires for Huffington Post’s sales and marketing teams are anticipated this year, said Coleman. “We’re more than doubling our expenditure in the sales and marketing area in 2010 over 2009,” he said. Coleman also said, along with selling, the new sales execs “also have a bunch of hiring to do.”

Despite the fact that he’s hired veterans from Yahoo and AOL, Coleman said, “based on scale and based on [AOL’s and Yahoo’s audiences], they’re certainly not what I would call direct competitors.” Instead, Huffington Post has its sights set on more direct competition from The New York Times and The Washington Post, he added.

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