Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Vimeo Gets a New Boss: AOL, Yahoo Vet Kerry Trainor

Earlier this year, video site Vimeo showed off a new look. Now it has a new CEO: Kerry Trainor, who just left his job overseeing AOL’s entertainment and video properties.

Trainor replaces Dae Mellencamp, who has been running the site since 2009. Vimeo says she’ll stay on as president.

This is an interesting time for Vimeo, which started as a side project for the College Humor crew way back in 2004, and migrated to IAC when Barry Diller bought the comedy site. Since then, Vimeo has occupied a weird space in IAC’s portfolio. It’s a small player in a booming industry — not big enough to attract much of Diller’s time or resources, but perpetually promising enough not to kill off.

To its credit, Vimeo has never tried to compete directly with YouTube. It has a tiny fraction of Google’s audience — it claims 70 million uniques, compared to YouTube’s 800 million-plus — and has only grudgingly pursued advertising.

Instead it has tried to stake out a niche as a high-end video site for a sliver of people who care about video quality, and offers a premium version for users who want more features, etc. But that’s not a huge business, either, and I’d be shocked if the company was making money.

So what now? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vimeo explore a more aggressive approach to ads, given Trainor’s background — he was a well-regarded ad guy at Yahoo, and FlipGloss, the start-up he co-founded, was an attempt to create “magazine-style” advertising for Web sites.

Last month, PandoDaily reported that IAC was trying to “sell” Vimeo; when I asked Diller about that, he said Vimeo is not for sale, and that the story had exaggerated his interest in creating a separate corporate struture for Vimeo, like Condé Nast has done with Reddit.

Regardless, if Diller wants to be in a position to do anything with Vimeo, the company will eventually need to start generating some real revenue. Landing Trainor is a sign he’s getting more serious about that.


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