He will be responsible for overseeing advertising sales, including the relationship with IAC Corp., along with business development. Kenneth Lerer, who co-founded the Huffington Post with Ariana Huffington, said Mr. Smith will "play a significant role in the company," which includes working with both technology and media partners, and said Huffington Post has been interested in bringing him on for more than a year.
Beyond the PC
Mr. Smith said he'll be working out deals to take Huffington Post beyond the PC, working out mobile deals and partnerships with other big online brands as well as, perhaps, big offline brands.
"The real opportunity is, can this be the site that really transforms news on the web," Mr. Smith said. He said innovation often comes from non-legacy players, noting that he used to work for Rolling Stone and notes that it never became the music cable channels. He added: "Huffington Post is an opportunity to transcend the standard blog platform."
Multiple revenue streams
While advertising will be the brand's primary revenue source, Mr. Smith said there will be others. "It's too early to know exactly what all the revenue streams will be," he said, "but I think it's absolutely the case that there will be multiple."
Huffington Post has already announced its plans to venture into original reporting, covering the 2008 presidential campaign. And there is no doubt, said Mr. Smith, it will be a video rich property as well. Huffington Post has 3.2 million unique visitors.
Fifth AOL exec to exit
At AOL, Mr. Smith oversaw Advertising.com's publisher relationships and prior to that was senior VP of partner alliances for AOL Media Networks, where he worked with AOL's ad and commerce partners, including Travelocity, Best Buy, Nintendo and Sony. Prior to AOL, he was senior VP and general manager at Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment.
He marks the fifth AOL exec to leave the company in the month of December, although his departure is unrelated to last week's departures of Jim Bankoff, Joe Redling, John Buckley and John McKinley, who was slated to leave his interim chief-technology-officer post at the end of the year.