Brian McAndrews managed aQuantive into a $6 billion acquisition by Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). Now one of the Redmond company’s more expensive acq-hires — it was the largest acquisition ever for Microsoft — only has to manage Microsoft to success in online advertising. Both the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) and Wall Street Journal shed a little light on McAndrews’ actions and plans as the head of the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) Group formed last month in the company’s latest ad overhaul. McAndrews, who reports to Kevin Johnson, president of the platforms and services division, is responsible for building the ad platforms that serve the advertiser and publisher community — Atlas, DRIVEpm, MSNDR and Microsoft AdCenter, in-game and mobile ads, Avenue A | Razorfish, etc.
NYT: McAndrews’s strategy separates online advertising from search, something the NYT describes as a divorce because the two have been viewed as a couple. He says that shortchanges both advertisers and publishers. His proposal: “conversion attribution” which “would track all of the online places where consumers see ads and give advertisers a fuller picture of the various ways that consumers reach them. Tracking is important, because the site that gets credit for prompting a user