Talking Points Memo has hired former Condé Nast digital M&A exec Kourosh Karimkhany as COO at a time when TPM appears to be demonstrating continued traffic growth. The company’s internal traffic for March shows a 79 percent spike over the same month last year, which TPM attributed to a major site expansion last summer. TPM Editor and Publisher Josh Marshall also credited the expanded use of social media tools as helping to fuel greater interest in the site. The big news surrounding the health care reform debate probably helped as well, as in the case of another left-of-center news site, Salon, which boasted of a 35 percent year-over-year audience gain in March. The hiring of Karimkhany indicates that TPM wants to find ways of continuing to build on the audience growth amid intense competition for advertising from other sites like Politico and the increasingly more general Huffington Post.
Karimkhany’s arrival as COO also comes a few months after TPM lost Andrew Golis, its deputy publisher, to Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). Golis has been working on setting up a politics site for the portal and has also been attempting to make some noteworthy hires. Last week, HuffPo reported that Politico columnist Michael Calderone would be heading to the Yahoo politics site.
At TPM, Karimkhany will manage product and business development. At Condé Nast Digital, he was responsible for bringing in a number of high-profile acquisitions over a two-year period, including Reddit, ArsTechnica and Wired.com. Before that, Karimkhany served as GM for Wired.com. He was laid off from Condé Nast Digital in Nov. ’08 amid a wider restructuring. Karimkhany started his career as a journalist and wrote about business and technology for Bloomberg and Reuters (NYSE: TRI). Between 2005 and 2006, he was also an editor at Gawker Media’s gaming site, Kotaku. More about Karimkhany in this release, while details about TPM’s traffic is available here.