Ms. Whitman leaves Intuit, where she spent five years, most recently as director of marketing for Quicken software. Before Intuit, she was a management consultant at Booz, Allen & Hamilton. "At Intuit we were marketing to consumers and small businesses," Ms. Whitman, said. "It's a real similar marketing challenge."
MAKING SITES MORE SUCCESSFUL
At San Francisco-based LinkExchange (www.linkexchange.com), "We're able to help Web site owners make their sites more successful," she said. LinkExchange's services include e-commerce software, automated search engine submissions and e-mail list creation.
Ms. Whitman also liked the idea of selling against LinkExchanges' ad network of more than 250,000 sites. "Both of those opportunities looked intriguing to me," she said.
It's a critical time for the 21/2-year-old company to bolster its marketing as competition rages among Web ad networks.
Internet measurement companies recently began monitoring the reach of Internet properties. For example, Media Metrix said in July LinkExchange had a reach of 37% from home, while competitor DoubleClick had 33.8%. But from work, LinkExchange had a 36.5% reach, while DoubleClick had 40.8%.
IPO CASH BOLSTERS RIVALS
In addition, DoubleClick and 24/7 Media also have received cash infusions from recent, lucrative initial public offerings.
LinkExchange differs from other leading ad networks because it uses a free banner exchange program, which allows small sites to run promotional banner ads on other sites in its network in exchange for inventory on their site.
SERVICES, PRODUCTS ENHANCED
LinkExchange has also beefed up its products and services. In June, it acquired Merchant Planet, a company that makes electronic commerce software. Sites can now add transaction capabilities and build virtual stores. It's also set up LinkExchange Express, which allows sites with small budgets to buy ad space on sites such as Yahoo! for as little as $100, and sites such as Gamespot, theglobe.com and Babycenter as inexpensively as $50.
Ms. Whitman said she'd like the network, which ranges from auction site eBay to niche sites, to keep growing. "The larger the network is, the better we're able to deliver well-targeted advertising. The size of the network is really valuable to everybody participating.
"The company's been operating in an under-the-covers way," she added. "I want to get out there to help advertisers understand this is one of the best ways for them to reach customers on the Web."