Kara Swisher

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Yahoo's Ad Talent Loss Is Groupon's Gain: Lee Brown Will Be Social Buying Phenom's Head of National Sales

Yahoo is losing another top advertising sales exec, who is heading to hot social buying site Groupon as its head of national sales, according to sources.

Lee Brown, who heads up Yahoo’s advertising efforts in its key New York region, is taking a post at Groupon as an SVP, focused on national accounts such as Gap and others that the start-up has recently begun targeting.

Groupon, which has been around only since 2008, has built a giant business in a short time by linking customers with mostly local merchants via daily discounted deals.

According to sources, it has a $2 billion revenue run rate this year, more than half of which will be returned to retailers.

Groupon’s growth has attracted a lot of attention of late, including a $6 billion acquisition bid by Google.

Those deal talks ended, although Google execs have said this week that local sales are a critical part of its future.

Yahoo has lost a lot of sales talent over the last year, including most recently Keith Nilsson, who ran global sales initiatives.

Interestingly, a former top Yahoo commerce exec, Rob Solomon, is Groupon’s president.


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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo