Scribd Gets Into Ad Biz

Scribd—the fast-growing social publishing platform—is getting into the ad sales business.

The company has recently brought on Geoff Hamm to serve as its first svp of ad sales. Hamm, a 15-year digital veteran, has logged stints at Excite, Yahoo, Orbitz and Electronic Arts, where he was most recently North American sales director.

Launched in 2007, Scribd now reaches 60 million unique users and is growing by 15 percent each month, according to Hamm. The company enables everyone from aspiring authors to corporations to post and share documents like PDFs and PowerPoint presentations on the Web—and to ensure they are discoverable through search engines.

Sites like The New York Times, The Huffington Post and TechCrunch use Scribd to post supporting documents (such as legal memos), while publishers such as Simon and Schuster have begun selling digital books via the site.

Until now, Scribd has monetized primarily through running Google Ad Sense ads, along with a small number of paid services. “It’s time to start monetizing our traffic,” Hamm said.

Because Fortune 500 companies such as Ford and HP use Scribd to share documents, Hamm believes he can sell advertisers on the site’s professional, affluent/influential audience. “These companies already spend millions on the Web,” he said.