Another Microsoftie joins Yahoo's new cult of personality

Owen Thomas · 11/04/08 04:00PM

Heavy.com continues to get lighter; Eric Hadley, who only joined the funny-videos-for-guys startup a year ago as chief marketing officer, has joined Yahoo as its VP of advertiser and partner marketing. He'd previously worked for a decade at Microsoft. We see the hand of Joanne Bradford in this; she's the former MSN chief who now runs ad sales at Yahoo. The pattern here?Yahoo has lacked a strong sales leader since the departure of Wenda Harris Millard, whom President Sue Decker disgracefully drove out of the company. With the hiring of Hadley to run marketing and Jeff Dossett to run media, Bradford is assembling her own team of loyalists, from Microsoft and elsewhere. In sales, personality rules. And every cult needs its leader. (Photo by Andy Plesser)

Heavy Cuts More Staff In March Towards Doom

Hamilton Nolan · 10/17/08 02:35PM

There were "massive layoffs" today—amounting to 14% of staff—at Heavy, the guy-focused network of websites. Heavy has been on deathwatch recently, since it's become increasingly clear that the company's strategy of inflating its traffic figures by buying pop-up ads will not be enough to satisfy its big investors. This is a bad sign for those sites with flashy branding but little substance to build a strong base of regular visitors. The venture capitalists who sunk millions into Heavy two years ago thought that it's "Heavy Men's Network" could turn into something big among the coveted young male demographic. But apparently the company's ad network isn't making any money. The financial crisis is going to hurt the ad market even for strong sites. For shakier ones, it could be a death blow that even the grownup businessmen Heavy brought in to professionalize the company can't avoid. Heavy's optimistic statement today:

How bringing in the "grownups" killed Heavy.com

Nicholas Carlson · 09/12/08 09:00AM

The boom in online ad networks, those automated brokers of discount banners patronized by websites desperate for quick cash, is at long last turning to bust. And the shakeout couldn't have started with a more deserving company. Amid lawsuits and layoffs, Heavy.com has seen two-thirds of its once-15-strong salesforce leave, a source familiar with the company tells us. Meanwhile, the company is trying to sell its Heavy.com, a video destination targeted at young men, so far without success. The plan is to focus on its porn-friendly Husky ad network. Who's to blame? Recently hired "grownups," says our source.Heavy has never been a particularly reputable company. It used to inflate its traffic with popup ads. Yet it still managed to raise $20 million in venture capital in January 2007. By last fall, investors began to clamor for more revenue. The startup's management then brought in what our source calls "C-level grownups." The hires included CMO Eric Hadley from Microsoft; CTO Scott Penberthy from Photobucket; CFO Todd Sloan from Nielsen; and VP Richard Rocca, who spent a few months at shady ad network Glam Media after leaving the equally unsavory ad startup Gorilla Nation. That crew now runs the company, "but the problem is there's not going to be anybody to run it with them," says our source, who calls the new leaders "ineffective."