Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Tumblr Finally Gets Serious About Ads — By Hiring Someone to Sell Ads

Tumblr has poached top Groupon sales exec Lee Brown as it aims to finally try to make money from its millions of blogs and billions of page views.

Brown was at Yahoo for more than 10 years before joining Groupon two years ago.

Starting September 17 he will report to Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp, which should be an interesting dynamic considering Karp has said online ads turn his stomach.

But in recent months, as it searched for a sales chief, Tumblr has experimented with brands like Adidas and Coke to create their own Tumblr blogs that are featured within the user dashboard — similar to how Twitter distributes advertising.

“Those comments were over a year ago, and since then, he has seen the power of the advertising medium,” Brown told me today. “With Adidas and Coke, David has seen that advertising can be extremely creative and have a value and place in the community as it is encouraged, endorsed and reblogged.”

Calling Tumblr “an unbelievable canvas to tell a story,” Brown said he plans to hire a global sales team based in New York.

Considering Tumblr has been valued at nearly a billion dollars, the company is rather light on management. Longtime president John Maloney stepped down in April, while former head of growth and policy Andrew McLaughlin, formerly of Google and the Obama administration, left in June after a very brief stint.


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