Clarizio to head Advertising.com Inc.

May 23, 2006|By STACEY HIRSH | STACEY HIRSH,SUN REPORTER

Advertising.com Inc., the Baltimore company that was bought two years ago by America Online Inc., named a new president yesterday and announced that the company's founders were taking a leave of absence.

Lynda M. Clarizio, who was an executive vice president at AOL, was named president of Advertising.com effective immediately. She has worked at AOL for seven years, and was "the driving force behind AOL's acquisition of Advertising.com," the company said in a news release.

Founded in 1998 by Owings Mills brothers John and Scott Ferber, Advertising.com grew out of a technology that John Ferber was using to run advertisements on the Internet for an online game he invented while in college. John Ferber, Advertising.com's chief product officer, and his brother, Scott Ferber, chief executive officer, sold the company in 2004 to AOL for $435 million. The brothers made about $70 million each before taxes from the sale.

The company, which is headquartered in Locust Point, had grown to 300 employees in eight countries, including 175 in Baltimore, by 2004.

The Ferbers could not be reached for comment yesterday. The company would not elaborate yesterday on the brothers' leave beyond a prepared statement.

"As the company's co-founders, Scott and John have worked diligently over the past eight years to help build the business and establish Advertising.com as the leader in online marketing," the company's chief marketing officer, Mollie Spilman, said in the statement. "This leave of absence affords them a well-deserved break."

Advertising.com has about 370 employees today. Last week, AOL announced that it bought Lightningcast Inc., a broadband video advertising company, for an undisclosed sum. The 34-employee Washington-based firm will operate as a subsidiary of Advertising.com, the company said in a news release.

"Advertising.com has become one of the pacesetters of the interactive advertising industry," Clarizio said in a statement. "The innovation and passion within the organization are phenomenal, and I look forward to helping the company continue its exciting forward momentum."

Mike Kelly, president of AOL Media Networks, which oversees Advertising.com, said in a statement: "This acquisition will provide a huge infusion of talent, technology, and publisher relationships for Advertising.com at a time when streaming video is growing at a blistering pace."

stacey.hirsh@baltsun.com

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