Halogen Media Group, an online marketing firm focused on connecting “prestige” advertisers with social media audiences, has named former About.com and IAC (NSDQ: IACI) exec Peter Horan as its executive chairman. The announcement comes a day after the shut down of e-mail startup Goodmail Systems, which Horan left a year ago as CEO.
Horan’s role will cover two major areas, said CEO and founder Greg Shove, in an interview with paidContent. Specifically, he’ll be charged with building up the company’s audience strategy. He’ll also grow content sites in-house and will also look for companies to invest in or acquire as additions to its network.
“When we look for audiences or sites to acquire, we’ll be evaluating them based on basic site metrics — how many visitors they have — but more importantly, what kind of influence they possess,” Shove said.
Horan left his post as CEO of IAC Media & Advertising, to become CEO of Goodmail in May 2008. Before that, Horan was best known as the head of About.com during its sale to NYTCo.
“When we did About.com, we recognized that search is what navigates content and we were able to build and advertising and audience around that concept,” Horan said. “What Greg and Halogen represents now is that consumers’ choices are guided by considering social media. That’s why I’m excited to join the company right now. The challenge for Halogen is how do prestige brands use social media. They haven’t cracked the code on engaging with the authentic web and that’s what we’ll be helping them do.”
Halogen defines “authentic media” as content that created and distributed “by passion and influence rather than editorial assignment, SEO, or top-down media models.” In that, it makes them a challenger to established social media companies such as Federated Media, Glam Media and, to a certain extent, the Huffington Post, which has used comments as the basis for much of its attraction to advertisers.
Horan’s hire is accompanied by three other new additions at Halogen: Brian Eakin, formerly of CBSi, is in as vice president of digital strategy; Peter Gregovitch, previously at CNet, as CFO; and Ed Ortega as director of creative solutions, who joins after co-founding Fireplug Labs, an interactive agency.