LookSmart, AltaVista Name New Marketing Chiefs

Amid the growing importance of search engine marketing, and increasing competition from the likes of Google, AltaVista and LookSmart are beefing up their sales efforts by appointing experienced marketing executives.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based AltaVista, which is majority owned by Internet holding company CMGI , tapped Fred Bullock, a former marketing exec at Apple Computer and Alchemedia Technologies, to take the post of senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

In his new position, Bullock will oversee the planning and execution of marketing, product and branding strategies for AltaVista’s Internet search business.

Bullock comes to AltaVista with 25 years of worldwide corporate, product and technology marketing experience. Fourteen of those years were spent with Apple, where he led international product marketing for the company’s enterprise solutions for the electronic publishing, imaging and digital graphics markets. He also managed marketing operations in Europe, Australia, Japan and India.

More recently, Bullock served as marketing chief at Alchemedia, a maker of enterprise security software products and Web-based services. Prior to Alchemedia, he served as vice president of marketing and business development for online direct marketer Net Prospect.

The move comes amid reorganization at AltaVista involving new management appointments and renewed efforts to develop its search business, as search listings become increasingly important to marketers as a cost-effective use of their Internet budgets.

Last month, in an effort to focus on its search business, the company discontinued its free email service — one of the last vestiges of its past as a full-featured portal play.

“Fred adds a unique and powerful combination of global, big brand marketing experience and hands-on entrepreneurial drive to AltaVista’s new senior management team,” said AltaVista Chief Executive Jim Barnett, himself only a six-month old addition to the company. “He is a catalyst for change with a long history of successfully bringing revolutionary products to market.”

Meanwhile, LookSmart is turning to former NBCi exec Robert Goldberg to fill the post of senior vice president of sales, marketing and international operations.

The San Francisco-based paid listings provider said Goldberg, a marketing executive with 20 years of experience in media and technology, is charged with boosting sales of its search engine marketing offerings.

Goldberg came to LookSmart from General Electric’s NBCi, where he served as senior vice president of sales, marketing and operations. Due to slack sales and a harsh online media environment, GE’s NBC network ultimately pulled the plug on NBCi, which had originally been positioned as a rival to portals like Yahoo .

But while there, Goldberg focused on crafting cross-marketing efforts in connection with the television network, which at the time was a majority shareholder. Previously, Goldberg served as vice president of strategic development for the portal, responsible for formulating the company’s search and directory strategy.

Prior to joining NBCi, Goldberg held senior level management positions at tech firms including enterprise software firm Verano, interactive television play ICTV, and supercomputer manufacturer-turned-data miner Thinking Machines — now part of Oracle . In each of the positions, Goldberg oversaw sales, operations and customer service teams handling big-budget clients.

As AltaVista is doing with Bullock, LookSmart is wagering that by turning to Goldberg to oversee the marketing of its paid listings product to advertisers, it can improve its fortunes as the market faces the entry of highly-regarded rival Google, as well as the continued dominance of market leader Overture .

“[Goldberg’s] leadership experience will help us make search marketing a major component of advertisers’ direct marketing planning,” said LookSmart Chief Operating Officer Jason Kellerman.

Added Goldberg, “Search marketing is very additive to advertisers because it delivers cost-effective customer acquisition which leads to positive ROI … I’m excited to be joining LookSmart. We’re uniquely positioned in a rapidly expanding market.”

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