Kara Swisher

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Media Link's Michael Kassan (in NYC) and Wenda Millard (From a Boat Somewhere Near Slovenia) Speak About Their New MySpace Gig!


Wenda Harris Millard–calling in to BoomTown HQ from a cruise either on the way to or the way from Slovenia, since she said she was not exactly sure, given that it was the middle of the night there–wanted to make one thing clear:

She is still working for her dozens of other clients at Media Link as its president, but also has a big new gig helping MySpace get its advertising sales house in order, especially related to strategy and execution.

“I guess it’s a matter of semantics, but I will be leading the engagement,” said Millard. “But, we have a whole team here too, and I am also still working for all our great clients.”

Okay, people?!? Which is, in Slovenian, in case anyone asks there, Wenda: Vidirati narod?

Which is precisely what All Things Digital had written in a previous post: That Media Link was the hired gun on a strategic basis, with Millard as the point person on fixing the ad sales structure, strategy and more at MySpace.

In an internal memo today, MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta said the same: “As part of this process on an interim basis the firm will help manage our day-to-day sales organization under the leadership of Wenda Harris Millard.”

Still, the New York and Los Angeles media consultancy definitely wanted to make clear, both internally and externally, that their hiring had nothing to do with the departure today of MySpace Sales and Marketing President Jeff Berman.

And, indeed, according to both Media Link founder and Chairman Michael Kassan, whom I also spoke with today, Media Link had been talking to MySpace–including Berman, who decided to finally leave only today–since January.

Got it! Media Link also did not hip-check Berman to the curb!

Still, it is a huge and deeply involved job for Media Link, and especially Millard, who will be working with ad sales until a replacement is found for Berman, and then after.

Millard stressed that her new role does not mean spending all her time cussing out ad sales folks who did not make their numbers.

“Media Link will be working on big-picture strategy related to ad sales, product development and structure,” she said. “But, of course, I will be very involved and this is a huge assignment.”

She certainly has the experience to take on the ad troubles of MySpace.

Millard–who was the top ad exec at Yahoo (YHOO) in its glory days and who recently left her job as co-CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO)–has been a longtime online exec, working at Ziff Davis Media and DoubleClick in the very early days of the Web. She was also chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau last year until this past April.


But she also noted that she did not want people to be confused, pointing out that many others at Media Link will also be working on the fix-MySpace assignment too, even as she will also be tending to Media Link’s stable of clients.

“This is an engagement to help its management drive forward a lot of initiatives,” said Millard. “It is the management of MySpace who are the ones in charge.”

It’s a point that Media Link’s Kassan also made in a conversation I had with him today.

“I am very excited, since it is an important strategic assignment and part of the promise of Wenda’s unique set of skills,” he said, acknowledging that this was an unusually large job, very complex and unique for Media Link. “That said, this kind of work is our sweet spot.”

(Full disclosure: News Corp. owns MySpace and Dow Jones, which owns this site.)

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When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post