Fitzgibbon was EVP of international operations; Perez was executive vice president of products; and Kydd acted as EVP of studios. All three have already been removed from Demand’s masthead.
A rep for Demand said the exits were “just coincidence”, and departed execs will “pursue separate opportunities and new business ventures”. EVP of media & marketplace Michael Blend will assume the majority of the responsibilities left open by the staff changes.
Demand Media has been dubbed, less than affectionately, as a prime example of a “content farm” in the publishing industry. A company churning out piece upon piece of SEO-enhanced, freelance-produced copy may be successful, but its model is not viewed as an admirable strategy, especially among publishing vets (see one reaction here).
Perhaps in part to appease its critics, Demand improved wages for its writers in May 2011. Feature writers are now compensated $80 to $350 for their contributions; previously, they earned roughly $15 per article.
Upon closer inspection of Demand’s executive roster, I also noticed a rather odd title: EVP, people operations, held by Courtney Montpas. This appears to be a human resources role, and it’s a shrewd move by Demand to include “people” in this title, almost as if to say, “We really do recognize our employees as human beings!”
While not much is known about why the trio left, or where they are headed next, it is interesting to watch a company so scrutinized in its industry move forward. Three founders, Richard Rosenblatt, Shawn Colo and Montpas, remain with Demand. The company’s video division is set to partner with YouTube in 2012 for its premium content video launch (other partners include Warner Bros. and the Shine Group).
Demand is expected to announce fourth quarter and fiscal 2011 results on February 16.