HuffPo to Sell Direct, Still with IAC on 23/6

The Huffington Post isn’t exactly dropping IAC like a hot potato, as Paid Content would have it. At least, that’s what HuffPo’s chief revenue officer Jim Smith just told me.

Over the next 60 days, HuffPo will wean itself from the IAC sales team, and eventually rely only on its own sales force. “It’s always been sort of the plan,” said Smith. HuffPo will start ramping up its sales force “immediately.” Right now, that team answers to Smith, and is headed up by VP of Ad Sales Dennis Chang.

“They sell a network,” he said, “We are at the point where we need salespeople who are 100 percent focused on Huffington Post….It’s not an uncommon phenomenon for an entity that’s growing at the pace we’re growing.” He said the site is getting over 3 million uniques per month in traffic, and is set to hit 4 million in a month.

“It’s really more about the growth of the site,” he added. “We’re building out the infrastructure for video, for more sophisticated targeting capabilities…and additionally we have more and more of our own created editorial which leads to more opportunities.” Smith hinted that more integrated sponsorships around entertainment-related content will be offered in the future.

As for the to-be-launched IAC/HuffPo collaboration, 23/6, the humor site is still definitely on its way, said Smith, who told me he shares an office with the 23/6 folks and was “looking right at them.”

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