Mashable steps into the big league, hiring its own sales force in US

It started in Aberdeen, founded by a 19-year-old. Now Mashable, established as one of the movers and shakers in the web world, is taking another giant step forward

The site is leaving Federated Media, the publishing network founded by John Batelle, and is hiring its own sales force. Ken Detlet, former VP of sales at Ziff Davis will head a sales staff of nine, including four added over the summer. This will bring the Mashable workforce to 40.

Mashable's contract with Federated ends in June. When it began in 2007, the blog had three employees, Ad Age noted.

Pete Cashmore said, "We want to stand on our own two feet and we have the critical mass that we need to stand alone.

"We've reached scale and got the editorial up to a quality and a structure that we wanted."

Mashable has 40 million monthly page views and 12 million unique visitors. It is one of Federated's biggest tech blogs.

Federated CEO Deanna Brown said Mashable's departure "makes us feel like proud parents who are watching their kid graduate from college with honours."

Now that Mashable is on its own, it will focus on custom programs for consumer marketers such as Ford as well as display advertising and event partnerships.

Mashable's readers are its best distributors, sharing 45,000 stories on Facebook and retweeting 60,000 links a day. Social media measurement service Klout named Mashable its "most influental" media outlet.

As of last month, it had more than 2 million Twitter followers and over 425,000 fans on Facebook.

The site also relies on old media for distribution. There are syndication deals with partners like ABC, CNN, Forbes and USA Today.

Mashable and its advertisers now hope that the readers will help spread ad messages that appeal to the site's core readership, much the same way they do Mashable's editorial content.

Ford Motors' Ford Explorer is currently sponsoring an "explore" tab that allows users to search through the site's content, suchas tips and how-tos. Mashable cut the Ford deal on its own and has been able to market its events -- like the MashableAwards -- to sponsors, including Ford and LG, which are willing to shell out to be there live with the Mashable audience.

Ford's digital marketing manager, Scott Kelly said,"We know their audience is very active and we wanted to be in front of that audience." He is measuring the campaign by how many people "liked" the Ford Explorer Facebook page from the Mashablelinks. Since June, the Ford Explorer page has 141,888 likes; by comparison, the Chevy Volt page has 50,265 likes and has been around a year longer.

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