Funny video site Heavy.com managed to make it through the tech boom and bust intact. But the site—and its venture capital investors—may have overestimated how popular it could actually get. We hear that Heavy's VP of marketing has left the company, taking two of his top salesmen with him on the way out. His departing words: "Rome is burning." Not long after getting an infusion of capital in 2006, it was revealed that Heavy was inflating its traffic numbers by buying pop-up ads featuring Heavy content on other sites, and counting them as visits. Which is not something any advertiser wants to hear:
The concern over pop-up content goes beyond traffic numbers. Many advertisers pay premium prices to reach readers of certain Web sites. Through pop-ups, these advertisers may find their orders are being fulfilled with low-cost page views that users never requested and may never have seen.
Instead of being satisfied with what it was—a reasonably popular humor site—Heavy promised hypergrowth in order to attract investment dollars. The problem is, they've never had enough extra content to support the growth they wanted. Hence the pop-ups. We also hear Heavy co-founder Simon Asaad tried to sell the site to Break.com, but the deal never went through. So if even the "Heavy Men's Network" can't gin up enough extra traffic to satisfy those investors (and it would need some fantastic new plan to do it), Heavy—minus its best salesmen—could be on the way down. [More details on Heavy's decline at Valleywag]