With the staggering changes that social network Hi5 has undergone in recent weeks, the shift to becoming social entertainment continues to evolve. Just last week, Bill Gossman, former chief executive of Revenue Science (formerly known as Audience Science), was announced as Hi5’s new CEO.
Given that Hi5 is shifting to a virtual goods/game based revenue model, Gossman seems to be a good fit. With his background from Revenue Science, he brings with him tremendous experience in not only online advertising, but behavioral targeting and audience monetization.
Along with his time at Revenue Science, Gossman’s resume also includes his experience as the CEO of Sabrix, frounder and COO/CFO of @mobile, and a former partner and current executive in residence at Mohr Davidow Ventures (a lead investor of Hi5).
Coinciding with the announcement, Ramu Yalamanchi, founder and CEO of Hi5 since 2003, has taken on the job as Chief Product Officer to make room for Gossman. In this role, the company has stated his primary responsibilities as leading product strategy and engineering organizations as the company moves into the social entertainment space. Furthermore, he will also be in charge of extending Hi5’s “micro-payments” system and “maximizing [this] revenue stream for the business.”
“It is great to have Bill joining Hi5 at this exciting stage of our business,” said Yalamanchi. “We have been incredibly successful in building a huge global audience and pioneering the social entertainment space. Bill brings highly applicable, stage-relevant leadership experience, particularly in monetizing online traffic and building scalable sales organizations, that will help take our company to the next level.”
Thus far, Hi5 is estimating around $25 million in revenue for 2009. This doesn’t seem out of the question. The introduction of Hi5 Coins, the opening of payment options with PlaySpan, mobile payments with Paymo, the increased repertoire of games from Mochi Media and now the new leadership to focus it all towards one goal. Now it is just a matter of making the pieces all work together.