Marchex Streamlines, Cuts Staff

Performance-based advertising may not be immune to the economic downturn. Local search and performance ad firm Marchex will cut 15 full-time positions, around 4 percent of its staff. The company has eliminated the positions in an effort to reduce redundancies and streamline its product teams. However, like other firms reliant on ad revenue, Marchex is experiencing the pinch of fewer ad dollars.

“It’s fair to say that, like every other company out there, we’re being impacted by [the economic downturn],” said Leigh McMillan, SVP of marketing and communications. However, she stressed what’s become somewhat of a mantra for firms offering performance-based advertising: “We’re focused on the performance advertising space…The economic conditions are hitting brand advertising harder.”

The relatively small number of layoffs are a component of the company’s reorganization, bringing together sales, business development, and product teams. The unification was necessary in order to streamline operations of recent acquisitions including that of call-based ad firm VoiceStar and vertical and local site network Open List. Most of the eliminated positions were from product teams, according to McMillan.

Amid the layoffs, Marchex plans to hire sales and marketing staff, she continued.

The company also plans to establish more strategic partnerships. As part of its reorganization, Marchex President and co-founder John Keister will focus more on developing such relationships. Effective yesterday, Marchex co-founder and former Chief Strategy Officer Peter Christothoulou has been named chief operating officer, and will be responsible for product sales, business development, and partner management.

Former Open List Chief Technology Officer, and the company’s founder, Matthew Berk, will now serve as Marchex EVP of product engineering. In that role, he will run the firm’s local search and performance-based ad products. Berk was promoted to that position in December. According to McMillan, he will focus on consumer-side innovations, as well as bolstering the company’s advertising platform.

Marchex has offices in New York, Philadelphia, and Oregon.

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