Bradford Exits Yahoo for Demand Media

Joanne Bradford, Yahoo’s top sales executive, is leaving to join Demand Media, a company that produces low-cost, search-friendly content on thousands of topics.

At Demand, Bradford will become the four-year-old company’s chief revenue officer. She’ll likely be tasked with selling the firm’s growing roster of below-the-radar brands to traditional advertisers. “This is a tremendous opportunity to reshape how online marketing works at scale,” said Bradford of her new role.

Demand employs thousands of freelancers to produce articles and videos on various general-interest topics. Often derisively referred to as a “content farm,” the company maintains the instructional site, which features articles ranging from “How to Reinvent Yourself” to “How to Homeschool Your Child,” as well as entries branded under the Lance Armstrong-supported banner. The outfit also boasts of a massive presence on YouTube.

Bradford is a digital advertising veteran. Prior to joining Yahoo in late 2008, she held a senior managerial role at Spotrunner for several months. Before that, Bradford was the face of Microsoft’s MSN portal, running everything from sales to content.

Her departure can be considered a blow to Yahoo, which has been refocusing on its core media businesses under CEO Carol Bartz. Yahoo is consistently one of the top — if not the biggest — display ad-sales companies in the industry, though it has struggled like many of its peers during the economic downturn..

Officials said that Bradford is currently assisting in finding her replacement.