McGrory Joins Clearspring, Right Media’s Future Still Not Clear

Written on
Sep 26, 2011 
Gavin Dunaway  |

ADOTAS – After announcing his departure from Yahoo! earlier this month, Ramsey McGrory, the former head of the Right Media Exchange and North American sales as well as one of the few remaining pre-acquisition vets, has stepped into the CEO’s chair at Clearspring.

Headquartered in McLean, VA (where incidentally I went to high school — Ramsey, even though you’re staying up in NYC, I can show you a great spot out in the McLean woods if you want to drink cans of Natty Light and smoke without your parents finding out), Clearspring is behind social sharing platform AddThis. The company is having a pretty good year, with an additional $20 million in Series D funding in the bank, a recent move into mobile, a social data sharing partnership with BlueKai and the launch of a real-time analytics platform for publishers — and that’s just since May.

“In our industry, data and social are where incredible innovation is happening. I’m thrilled to be joining Clearspring. Clearspring has a fantastic team and a differentiated ability to understand online consumer behavior through its massive reach and real-time data processing capability,” said McGrory. “This is exciting because Clearspring’s premier digital services platform has not only proven to be powerful in the advertising market, but also it has the potential to disrupt others as well.”

McGrory’s exit from Right Media was pretty low-key — especially considering how much he stood up for team Y! over the years — but in the post-Carol Bartz era of Yahoo!, the prospects for Right Media are pretty hazy. It’s been nearly a month and no one has been named to fill McGrory’s shoes.

With Yahoo’s display crown lost to Facebook and Google and revenue sliding thanks to a sales re-org gone awry, the rumor mill has been spinning uncontrollably with talk about Right Media being spun out of Yahoo!. I had a few sources whisper to me about support issues — emails never being responded to, the main phone line ringing endlessly without hitting a receptionist or voicemail. In a recent Adotas poll asking about Right Media’s future with Yahoo!, the most popular response was, “What? Yahoo! owns Right Media?”

Bizo CEO Russell Glass wrote today on Adotas that “the only reason the Right Media Exchange even still matters at all today is because it’s the only way to get Yahoo Class 2 inventory in a somewhat programmatic fashion.”

However, at Yahoo!’s 2011 Global Partner Summit earlier this month, EVP of Americas Ross Levinsohn — who we have money on to be the next permanent CEO (though there’s some gossipy stuff going round about CFO and interim CEO Tim Morse if you like that kind of thing) — attempted to stamp out rumors about the sale or spinoff of Right Media. And yet they persist…

(Interestingly enough, McGrory’s predecessor Bill Wise also earned a new CEO position today at MediaOcean, formed from the merger of Donovan Data Systems and MediaBank.)


Gavin Dunaway is Editor, U.S. at AdMonsters, a leading trade publication, event producer and service provider for the online advertising industry. Previously, he had been Senior Editor of Adotas, where he arrived after years of ping-ponging around various industry publications. This Washington, D.C. native and George Mason University graduate also enjoys playing electric guitar so loud that the walls shake.

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