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April 30, 2009

Social Media Takes Advertising to the Social Networks

Social Media is a privately owned corporation that is one of the first companies to advertise exclusively on social media networks.   The company is based in Mill Valley, California and was founded in 2007.  Social Media’s goal is to get rid of the conventional social media advertising, which often appears as annoying banners or pop up windows.   Further more, Social Media works with many of the top-of-the-line advertisers and veterans of the advertising industry to come out with a revolutionary product that would make online advertising on social networks fit in more with their content and make advertisers’ ads more attractive to the growing number of online consumers in social networks.

Social Media has seven people on its management team, who are: Seth Goldstein, cofounder and CEO; Dave Gentzel, cofounder and VP of products; Eddie Smith, VP of Sales and Business Development; Farhad Massoudi, VP of Engineering; Ken Thom, VP of Operations, James Kelly, VP of Finance; and Gedioen Aloula, VP of Marketing.

Besides being one of the cofounders of Social Media, Seth Goldstein is also the company’s CEO where he oversees the development of new technologies and drives the strategic directions of the company.  Mr. Goldstein has a great deal of experience in advertising and advising advertisers in the social media sector of the advertising industry.   Mr. Goldstein is also an accomplished entrepreneur, who has launched several successful startup companies, including the first internet advertising companies, namely SiteSpecific, which was founded in 1995.  

Along with being the second cofounder of Social Media, David Gentzel is also the company’s vice president of product development.   Mr. Gentzel’s job is basically to develop new applications for Social Media.  Mr. Gentzel has 10 plus years of experience in creating enticing web-based applications.  Mr. Gentzel has the know-how and the expertise needed to move the company into the next generation of advertising on social media networks.   Further more, what makes David Gentzel such an amazing individual and a great asset to Social Media can be seen in his achievements.   In 2006 he made it big with his widget, Trakzor for MySpace, attracting millions of users to MySpace.  Trakzor enables users to monitor visitors on their MySpace page.   Mr. Gentzel is also a child prodigy, creating business ventures on the web since he was 15 years old.

Eddie Smith serves as the company’s vice president of sales and business development and his job is to develop a strategy for Social Media to become the leader in the social media advertising marketplace.  Mr. Smith brings plenty of experience to the company and before coming to Social Media, he successfully built some enterprises online in the advertising industry.  Before Mr. Smith joined the team at Social Media, he held key management positions at several different companies, such as WebTrends and ClickShift.   Eddie Smith graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in Advertising and an MA in Marketing Communications.

Under his overabundant leadership, Farhad Massoudi serves the position of vice president of engineering and has expanded the software and design teams at Social Media.   Before joining Social Media, Mr. Massoudi previously worked at Yahoo, where he played an important role in designing the Yahoo Personals’ platform.  Mr. Massoudi graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.

As the vice president of operations, Ken Thom oversees all the operations of Social Media and manages all the key business functions of the company.  Mr. Thom has spent 15 years working for various tech companies and internet startups, which were market leaders under his management.   Mr. Thom also worked for many prominent Silicon Valley companies, such as Apple.   While working at Apple, Mr. Thom was one of the crew who developed the “firewire” connection used by Mac users to connect external hard drives, video cameras, and other electronic devices to their Apple Macintosh computers.   Ken Thom has completed his studies from several universities, which are: the University of Maryland, where he was awarded a Magna Cum Laude and a BS in Electrical Engineering and then he graduated from Stanford University with an MA in Electrical Engineering.

James Kelly is Social Media’s vice president of finances and oversees all the aspects of the company’s financial operations.  Mr. Kelly has deep experience in the online advertising industry and before joining the management team at Social Media, he worked at several companies.  One of the companies he worked for was SkyRider, where he was the CFO.   Other companies Mr. Kelly worked for are Cisco Systems, M&A, and Deloitte & Touche.   Mr. Kelly graduated from the University of California in Los Angeles with a BA in Political Science and Economics.

Social Media’s vice president of marketing is Gedioen Aloula, and his function is to communicate the benefits of Social Media’s products to consumer brands and social media networks.  Before joining Social Media, Mr. Aloula worked at Procter & Gamble as the brand manager.  Mr. Aloula holds a degree in Economics from Stanford University.

Social Media’s investors are Charles River Ventures, Jeff Clavier, Marc Andreesen, and IDG Ventures SF.  Charles River Ventures was founded in 1970 and invests in startup companies.   Some of the companies that Charles River Ventures has invested in include Acopia, Virtusa, Flarion, Hammer Head Networks, Pirus, Flycast, Bytex, Symbol, and others.   Jeff Clavier actually founded and is a managing partner of SoftTech VC, which is a vc firm that invests in seed funding for companies in the Web 2.0 companies.  Jeff Clavier’ full name is actually Jean-François Clavier and is originally from France and made Business Week’s list of the “Top 25 Most Influential People on the Web” in 2008.   Marc Andreesen is one of the first internet pioneers and founded Mosaic and Netscape.  IDG Ventures SF is a private vc firm that forms partnerships with the companies it invests in.  IDG mainly likes to invest in early stage companies in the next generation media industry.  Some of the companies that IDG Ventures SF has invested in include DoubleFusion, i2we, Minted, Tell Tale Games, and others.

In July 18, 2007, SocialMedia launched its applications for FaceBook and MySpace.  Later that year on October 30, 2007, FaceBook had announced that it does have advertising options.  Social Media, however, does have some competition, since AdBrite and other advertising companies also were looking into having ad networks on FaceBook.

In 2008, Social Media’s dream of having advertising widgets on FaceBook came true, when on June 19 of that year, Social Media payed out $8 million to application developers from FaceBook to develop advertising applications that can be used on FaceBook. 

Social Media does have two major competitors in the industry, who are the Lookery and RockYou.   The Lookery is an online advertising company that provides businesses a demographic market service in social networks.  The Lookery is a privately owned corporation based in San Francisco, California and was founded in 2007.  The company employs six people and has six people on its management team. 

RockYou is a company that is leading the market in providing widgets and applications for the internet.  RockYou employs 75 people and is a privately owned corporation that was founded in 2006 and is based in Redwood City, California.  RockYou has three people on its management team and one person on its board of directors.

For more information visit the corporate site of Social Media.