Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

AOL Hires Ad Vet Bob Lord Replaces Ned Brody as Sales Head, Strikes Real-Timey Ad Partnership with Publicis

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AOL said that it has hired Bob Lord as the new CEO of its AOL Networks, replacing Ned Brody, who had resigned in April after he received an offer to run Yahoo’s key Americas sales org.

Brody remains in non-compete contract limbo, said sources, a dispute which has still not been resolved between AOL and Yahoo. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong had been running the unit, which used to be called Advertising.com, since Brody’s departure.

Lord, a well-regarded industry veteran who was most recently global CEO of Razorfish and CEO of Publicis Groupe’s digital technologies division, will now be in charge of the suite of marketing and advertising services and technologies at the New York company and will report to Armstrong. The job is largely centered on selling premium display, video and mobile network ads for the Web portal via its automated technology systems.

AOL is hoping to use tech means to boost its business, but results have been harder to realize. While revenue rose in the recent quarter, profits declined.

Lord is a good choice to help push AOL forward, with much ad tech experience over the years, especially at Razorfish. He is also the latest exec to move into AOL, which has had more than a bit of exec turnover in a number of top jobs. Most recently, COO Artie Minson stepped down, even as longtime media exec Susan Lyne stepped in as CEO of AOL’s brand group.

In a related move to the Lord appointment, AOL and Publicis said they have formed a “live” advertising partnership, a flashy name for a trendy ad category Armstrong has been pushing of late inside the company that promotes connections via a variety of devices with consumers for live programming.

Translation: Kind of like TV ads, but for digital stuff. It sounds appropriately real-timey — you know, it’s hot, it’s here, it’s now — but it’s not clear as yet what it actually means or how it will pay off. Despite the cost and as with its local Patch initiatives, AOL has jumped big time into live programming, including its live-streaming network, Huffington Post Live.

To Armstrong, live advertising is apparently the latest and greatest thing. “Live advertising is the future of marketing on the Internet,” he said in a statement.

Apparently, it will be Lord’s job to make it so.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus