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Summary:

Metacafe, the online video startup that was rumored to be close to an acquisition deal for $200 million or so last December, is getting a new CEO. Co-founder Arik Czerniak tells us that he is stepping down as CEO and will remain at the company focusing […]

Metacafe, the online video startup that was rumored to be close to an acquisition deal for $200 million or so last December, is getting a new CEO. Co-founder Arik Czerniak tells us that he is stepping down as CEO and will remain at the company focusing on products and strategy. Erick Hachenburg, previously of Electronic Arts, will be taking over as CEO of the company that has offices in Palo Alto and Tel-Aviv Israel.

Czerniak tells us that the guard change “is great news for the company,” and Hachenburg “is a guy who is going to lead us to the next level.”

Metacafe has been adding other new executives recently. In January the company said it had hired Mort Greenberg, VP Sales, Allyson Campa, VP Marketing, and added Bud Colligan as its Executive Chairman. Metacafe, also opened a New York office “to better serve its advertisers and media partners.” The company has raised at least $19 million from investors, including Benchmark Capital and Accel Partners.

In December TechCrunch reported that Metacafe’s acquisition deal might had fallen through because of traffic concerns, and cited Comscore numbers that showed the startup had a 25% traffic drop in monthly unique vistors — from a high of 4.2 million in September, to 3.1 million in November.

Numbers compiled on NewTeeVee from Comscore for the month of December, show that Metacafe had 2.95 million total unique visitors for that month (U.S. audience). Numbers from Compete compiled on NewTeeVee say that Metacafe is ranked #14 with a 1.3% market share and 1.57 million unique monthly visitors, also based on a U.S. audience.

Hitwise data says comparing Jan-07 versus Dec-06, the market share of visits to the site among all U.S. web sites increased 1% — that’s in contrast to the company’s growth between Jan-06 and Jan-07 where Hitwise says its market share of visits to the site increased 912% among all US websites. That year over year traffic boost came as a result of the company sharing the advertising revenues with video creators — an advantage now blunted by YouTube’s recent announcement.

It seems like the traffic concerns are real, and the company is looking for ways to turn around revive a traffic decline. Investors, for one, are always eager to press for the symbolic change of the guard when things go south. The new ceo will have his work cut out for him, trying to revive the company and beat its competitors

  1. You don’t look for “ways to revive a traffic decline” ;)

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  2. you right – sloppy word choice. changed it – KF

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  3. If you look at the global numbers from comScore you will see that Metacafe’s traffic has grown from 16 million unique visitors in November to 17 million unique visitors in December. We can’t explain why comScore shows a dip in US numbers because internally we are seeing consistent growth in our US traffic.

    Allyson Campa, VP Marketing, Metacafe

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  4. Metacafe also doing a switcheroo…

    A new year, a new start on life at various companies?  Om Malik is reporting that Metacafe, an online video startup, is shaking up the CEO position.  LinkedIn did the same thing late last week/early this week.  I wonder who’s next?

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  5. Metacafe is at the beginning of it’s drop down. I believe that in two years Metacafe will be a nice name for a new coffee shop down on 3rd and 8st. The thing about companies like Metacafe and its founders is that from the very start, they initiate this concept of: how we will get Yahoo,eBay,Google, and other giants to buy a product out of us. They build a company with no income, no nothing. But down to the bottom line, I think that Metacafe is just not good enough in compare to YouTube, and with Google acquisition, we, I think that nuff said…

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  6. Thank you for the posting. It is very interesting and informative.

    I recently discovered this blog. It is great. I will spread the word to all my friends.

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  7. comScore numbers are a joke. They assume you believe that a random panel assembled by random phone digit dialing is the way to establish user data from which you can extrapolate the takeoff rate of a new service.

    Thanks to the Metacafe person giving real numbers. Let’s stop the comScore madness.

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  8. I agree with Todd. We’ve seen this movie before. Companies with no clear business model gain a little traffic and hope (pray) for the major company bailout ala Geocities and Broadcast.com. To be clear, although these companies we’re ultimately successful for their shareholders, they were not companies to be proud of and certainly not worthy of emulation.

    Start a REAL company and slog it out like the rest of the thousands of Internet companies that try like hell to build something real!

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  9. As sites like facebook show, the only you can really know traffic the company has is from official company stats. And the only way to know if that’s try is to browse around, and see what people say. By browese I mean – browse the forums, internet, not make phone calls..

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  10. Actually, Metacafe – as opposed to YouTube – DOES have a business model. They’ve been paying video makers for a few months now and they are also branching out. They actually HAVE a plan.

    Everyone is all excited about YouTube’s announcement that they will be paying people, but no one knows what the plan is: how much to whom under what conditions.

    Ran, I think you are wrong in your prediction of Metacafe’s demise. Metacafe doesn’t try to be YouTube – they don’t like the whole “your daughter’s 5th birthday party” thing – they want to good stuff. People go to Metacafe because they know they will quickly find good videos, as opposed to YouTube where you need to be featured to do well, and your videos get lost in a sea of millions of other videos.

    And Ran – how about some support for your fellow Israelis? Great Hasbara you have going there.

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