BuzzFeed to Retain Seat Among IAB’s Advertising Elite

Blog-born publishers gain clout

BuzzFeed is back at the digital advertising adult dinner table. On Monday, the company announced in an internal memo that Eric Harris will become chief business operations officer and also join the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) board later this year.

BuzzFeed president Greg Coleman said in the memo that as an IAB board member, Harris will represent the millennial-targeted publisher and promote its social advertising offerings. Former president Jon Steinberg joined the board of directors in February 2014 but left when he resigned from the company in May. Harris is taking over his spot. 

BuzzFeed is only the third blog-born publication—after Slate and BlogHer—to join IAB's top ranks, begging the question: How far behind will other hot online publications such as Vice and Vox be? 

Altimeter Group analyst Rebecca Lieb said BuzzFeed's inclusion on the board shows what a force it's become. It's one of the leaders in native advertising, a type of content that 100 percent of Digital Content Next members have delved into. "It's part of a natural progression. BuzzFeed has grown to be a digital publishing presence. This is recognition of that, not a legitimization," she said.

Harris, who was BuzzFeed's sixth employee, has worked in various roles in the company including handling human relations at one point and signing its first client, Tosh.O. He was most recently evp of business operations for the company and one of the Adweek 50 of 2014.  

Updated: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Buzzfeed was joining the IAB for the first time. The IAB added his nomination is conditional on an upcoming vote.