NEW YORK Jeff Berman, who has led ad sales, marketing and programming at MySpace in various roles over the past three years, is leaving the company. Meanwhile, digital advertising veteran Wenda Harris Millard is stepping in to take over ad sales for the beleaguered social network, at least temporarily. (Millard is actually not taking a position at MySpace, but rather is serving in a consultant role from her position at Media Link.)
Berman’s departure is not a major surprise, as it was rumored that he would be replaced around the time Owen Van Natta assumed the CEO role in April.
Millard’s new consulting role at MySpace, however, will likely raise eyebrows. According to a blog posting by Van Natta today, MySpace has tapped the media consultancy Media Link, and specifically Millard — the former Yahoo sales chief and Martha Stewart Living co-CEO — to help manage MySpace’s day-to-day operations. Millard joined Media Link last April.
Media Link’s work for MySpace is said to be a short-term arrangement. Van Natta wrote that MySpace needs help with “innovating in the advertising space,” and would rely on Millard’s reputation and Rolodex.
He wrote: “Media Link will provide us with valuable insight on the larger advertising market and what the most forward thinking marketers require. Wenda is a pioneer in the Internet advertising space and with very strong connections to Madison Avenue.”
The need for Millard’s connections, and Media Link’s expertise in general, would seem to imply that MySpace’s current ad sales efforts are lagging. The company has trumpeted its two-year-old HyperTargeting product, which promises to enable advertisers to tap into the vast amount of data it compiles on its users’ stated interests. To date, advertisers reaction to HyperTargeting has been lukewarm, though MySpace’s highly trafficked home page continues to be a highly desirable reach vehicle — particularly for movie studios.