Openads CEO James Bilefield: Publishers Need Independent Solutions
Jul 18, 2007 4:00 AM PT
London-based Openads, the developer of a free, open source adserver used by more than 20,000 publishers in 140 countries, announced on July 5 the appointment of James Bilefield as CEO.
Bilefield brings more than 15 years of entrepreneurial, management and media experience to Openads from his work at two top Internet companies, Skype and Yahoo. At Openads, Bilefield will focus on rapidly scaling and enhancing the publisher community, accelerating product development and overseeing the global expansion of the business.
The new Openads CEO was one of the early team members at Skype where, as the company's first vice president, he led the global business development team to build a broad world-based ecosystem of partners and closely advised the company's overall strategy. As general manager of European operations, he oversaw the rapid growth of the revenue and customer base of Skype's largest geography at a critical time of its growth.
Before Skype, Bilefield spent five years at Yahoo as managing director of both consumer and network services across Europe. He ran the regional communication, broadband, community and content businesses, and oversaw the acquisition of Kelkoo. Previous positions include CEO and cofounder of UpMyStreet.com, an online local information company, and vice president for the investment banking division of JPMorgan Chase.
"As the Openads community continues to expand and we work hard to deliver the functionality that our publishers are asking for, it becomes necessary to have a seasoned industry executive like James leading the company," said Scott Switzer, founder of Openads. "He knows how to guide a quickly growing company with a global footprint, and understands the world of online advertising. This combination is invaluable."
Openads is a quickly growing, early-stage company that is making a huge impact on an established market by putting control in the hands of its users. The company teams with a vocal community and network of open source developers to give publishers the independence and power to create solutions that specifically suit their needs. Openads offers free technology and allows publishers to work with many ad networks, thus helping them to decrease their overall costs.
LinuxInsider discussed with Bilefield his views on the company he now heads and the market it serves.
LinuxInsider: How will your experience at Skype and Yahoo help you in your new role as CEO at Openads?
James Bilefield: I'll combine my experience of rapidly scaling a global Internet company with my understanding of the world of online advertising and the real needs of Internet publishers. That last point is especially important. Both Yahoo and Skype grew strong by focusing tightly on user needs. Openads will be uniquely focused on delivering solutions to support and delight our passionate publisher community, and help them make more money online.
LinuxInsider: What goals are you setting early on for the company?
Bilefield: There is a lot to do to ensure Openads fulfills its potential. My initial focus will be on rapidly scaling our publisher community, accelerating product development and overseeing the global expansion of the business.
LinuxInsider: How healthy is the Web advertising industry today? Is it in better or worse shape than two years ago?
Bilefield: The industry is generally in great shape with strong growth in ad markets across the globe. However, due to recent industry consolidation, publishers are telling us that there is now more need than ever before for truly independent and reliable solutions dedicated to their needs. Openads already supports more than 20,000 publishers in 140 countries around the globe, and we look forward to serving more soon.
LinuxInsider: What factors are driving interest in legitimate online advertising?
Bilefield: Fundamentally, people across the world are spending more time online, and the ad dollars are following them. Also, the industry has become more professional and efficient in the way it connects advertisers to Internet users. However, Web publishers have not always seen the full benefit of that. Openads will help them redress that balance.
LinuxInsider: What do you see as the main reasons customers are choosing Openads 2.0 over other online advertising software?
Bilefield: We listen hard to the needs of our publisher community and develop products based on their particular requirements. We actually just released today (July 5) Openads 2.3 beta, a new and enhanced version of our ad serving software. The new version offers publishers what they asked us for -- greater power and simplicity, easier integration with established ad platforms and technologies, enhanced targeting, campaign management and improved reporting.
LinuxInsider: What do you see as the biggest challenges in growing Openads?
Bilefield: We need to respond fast to the changing needs of publishers around the world, delivering the right products and scaling our team and nurturing the community to support them properly.
LinuxInsider: What are the software's viability in the market?
Bilefield: The software was actually originally developed in 1999 as an open source project, so it has been extensively market tested by thousands of publishers over the past eight years.
LinuxInsider: What role do you see for the continuing growth of open source software?
Bilefield: I fundamentally believe that the combination of great, free software and the power of a strong global community can change an industry for the better. Skype showed what was possible in the telecoms industry. Openads already has a large, passionate global community and is supporting more publishers than all other competitors combined. I am excited about jumping in to help the company sustain and channel this unbelievable momentum.
LinuxInsider: What most impresses you about Openads?
Bilefield: I am really impressed by the traction Openads has gained at this early point in the company's history. Without any serious financing or marketing, they've built a large, passionate and global community with more publishers than all other competitors have combined. I am excited about jumping in to help the company sustain and channel this unbelievable momentum.