Another AOL Exec Leaves


AOL says aloha to strategic ad exec Dave Morgan, founder of AOL-acquired Tacoda.

From a leadership standpoint, huge loss. Morgan was EVP Global Advertising Strategy. His departure essentially leaves AOL without a global advertising strategy while Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes splits and sells AOL.

Doubtful any entrepreneurial execs would stay through the sale. Buyers: Yahoo? Google? MicroWho? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Impact on Yahoo-AOL talks? Negligible. Paid Content's Rafat Ali broke the story and has the exclusive on why Morgan stayed at AOL for only 90 days - think startups & Platform A, not AvenueA or M&A.

AOL paid around $275 million (actual purchase price undisclosed) to buy the behavioral targeting network, Tacoda. AOL most likely didn't have the development team to build behavioral targeting technology in-house.

That left AOL's search engine renaissance missing the search re-targeting piece, the hottest area in paid search and conversion marketing. If search engine consolidation is all about search, then Tacoda and are valuable prizes for Yahoo -- or Google, which owns a 5 percent stake in AOL.

Tacoda had several slogans during its evolution (before being swallowed up by AOL). The startup was "The Audience Management Company" and "The Audience Company." My favorite: "Where the people are" … and Dave Morgan is not.

About the author

Kevin Heisler, formerly the executive editor of Search Engine Watch, is a search and advertising industry veteran. His former roles include VP, strategic accounts for integrated digital marketing firm 360i; director of business development for Didit Search Marketing; and search industry analyst at Jupiter Research.

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