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."
Multiple sources confirm that Maxim editor in chief Jimmy Jellinek has been canned by his new boss, Kent Brownridge, and his newly christened Alpha Media Group. Furthermore, a source tells us that it happened right before the 4 p.m. start of the Alpha Media Group launch party at the Cellar Bar at the Bryant Park Hotel. Ouch. UPDATE: Former Men's Journal editor Jim Kaminsky, who used to be Maxim's executive editor and was formerly deputy managing editor at Rolling Stone, will be the new EIC.
Today on the New Republic website, retired blogger Elizabeth Spiers reviews the second issue of Portfolio. Spiers finds the title pretentious and lacking in substance. Her suggestion? Replace editor Joanne Lipman with former New Yorker head Tina Brown, who will bring both flash and purpose to the title. Surely Tina, who is currently sitting on her ass awaiting royalty checks from that Princess Diana book, would go for it. But what would happen to poor Joanne? We've come up with a plan that requires a little editorial shuffling throughout the media world, but ends up with everybody comfortably ensconced in positions for which they might be better suited!
Kent Brownridge's acquisition of the Felix Dennis lad titles is finally complete. As mentioned before, Stuff will be folded into Maxim. No word yet on layoffs or whether they're shopping Maxim editor Jimmy Jellinek's job, but the press release, which you can find below, does indicate that stuffmagazine.com "will continue to be a digital destination," presumably because there are enough people who are still willing to jerk off to it.
According to WWD, Dennis Publishing will name their in-house golden boy, Stuff mag's Jimmy Jellinek, as Maxim's next EIC, where his throne shall rest high atop a tower of Bud Lights. The choice would make sense: Jellinek's been at Stuff since May of 2005 and put in dues prior to that at Complex, FHM, and Details. That is to say, he knows his charticles from his farticles.