Coleman charged with igniting AOL advertising

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AOL has turned to a traditional online sales executive to help revive its flagging advertising efforts, installing Yahoo veteran Greg Coleman as the new president of Platform-A.

Coleman's hiring makes him the third head of Platform-A in less than two years. He replaces Lynda Clarizio, the former head of Advertising.com, whose tenure lasted less than a year. A former law partner, Clarizio replaced one-time Tacoda CEO Curt Viebranz in March after he had been on the job five months.

The move indicates that AOL is turning away from the technology-centric, ad- network side of the business for its leadership needs and going with an executive well-versed in selling to traditional brands.

Coleman, most recently president and CEO of the start-up NetSeer, was executive vp global sales at Yahoo from 2001-07, a period when the company was seen by many as the premier online ad seller. His much-respected sales team included former chief advertising sales officer Wenda Harris Millard, now co-CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

Despite launching a slew of successful properties and demonstrating consistent traffic growth, AOL's ad revenue has declined even as the online ad industry has grown.

Mike Shields is senior editor at Mediaweek.