Internet Advertising Bureau Appoints CEO

The Internet Advertising Bureau named Robin Webster to the new position of chief executive, signaling plans for stepped-up activity by the New York-based industry association that members hope will improve the state of the industry, and its reputation.

In the newly-created post, Webster, a former executive at trade show organizer eMarketWorld and at the Association of National Advertisers, will oversee an expansion of the IAB from an all-volunteer association to a group with paid members and executives.

The change, Webster said, will “help our members meet their needs in terms of improving the whole industry. If you take a look at the last five years, it’s been incredible growth, and everybody’s just been focused in keeping up.”

“Now, things have changed, and it’s time to start looking back and figure out what’s working, and start sharing knowledge,” she added.

That knowledge-sharing is aimed at resolving some nagging problems, one of Webster’s first priorities in the new post.

“We’re going to focus on advertising models, and some guidelines for the terms and conditions on insertion orders,” the latter of which has “been a real source of controversy for publishers and agencies for a while now,” she said. “We will try to make it simple, and come to terms on what will be covered, and what the rules of the game are.”

Webster also said the IAB plans to tackle measurement inconsistency between publishers and ad networks, each of which often report different results for the number of ads that appear on a single site.

Under Webster, the IAB will also establish and staff a New York City office and generally “put out a lot products and services to the IAB members.”

Of course, that’s in addition to championing the cause of online advertising. Webster will serve as the spokesperson for the group, speaking about member interests at industry events. She also will work with affiliated groups like the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Advertising Research Foundation, the Direct Marketing Association, and the ANA, where she served as an executive vice president from 1994 to 2000.

After her stint at the ANA, Webster served as chief content officer at eMarketWorld, which oversees such advertising-related shows as @d:tech. Earlier in her career, Webster also held management and marketing positions with Weight Watchers International, Nestle USA and Frito Lay Inc.

“Robin’s intimate knowledge of the advertiser’s needs and priorities, as well as a strong working relationship with leading traditional advertisers, will serve online media companies well in answering their needs in the marketplace, and as a industry resource,” said IAB chairman Rich LeFurgy, a general partner at San Francisco-based venture firm WaldenVC.

“As the leading representative of online publishers, and a leader in the advocacy for online advertising, it was vitally important for our first CEO to be a known and respected person in the industry,” LeFurgy added. “Robin Webster more than fits the bill. Her position with the ANA and previous experience with national brands … are key capabilities as she represents our industry to both the online and offline worlds.”

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