Freeserve hires first B2B manager

Freeserve, the leading ISP set to be bought by French rival Wanadoo, has appointed its first business marketing manager.

Joanne Cox, who joins from online ad specialist Real Media, will be responsible for promoting Freeserve’s in-house ad sales team. The job entails managing client and agency relationships, as well as content partner and internal relations.

Cox will also focus on PR, marketing and hospitality. She will report to Caroline Pathy, Freeserve’s advertising sales director.

Freeserve believed more effort was needed to promote its ad sales department, which was brought in-house in July and now has a team of 30.

Cox comments: “Since bringing ad sales in-house four months ago, the sales and client teams have achieved some amazing results. The portal is now attracting 4 million unique users per month and, with the addition of the Internet TV offering, Freeserve has the ability not only to be able to offer advertisers reach and demographic, but also environment.”

Freeserve has also appointed Helen Aitken as sales strategy executive for the ad sales team. She will attempt to leverage Freeserve’s growing family of websites. As well as the main Freeserve portal, these include iCircle, Babyworld, UK-iNvest and ClearlyBusiness. Aitken will also manage ad hoc research projects analysing the effectiveness of Internet advertising.

Aitken joins Freeserve from Carlton Television, where, as marketing research executive, she provided the agency and client sales teams with market intelligence and sales data.

Wanadoo, a subsidiary of France Telecom, has offered &£1.65bn worth of its own shares for Freeserve, which is 80 per cent owned by Dixons.

Internet analyst Jupiter says the move would increase France Telecom’s lead over BT.

“What has France Telecom got that BT hasn’t?” asks Jupiter analyst Dan Stevenson. “For a start, Freeserve, the number one UK ISP. Adding this to its purchase of Orange and a 22 per cent stake in NTL creates a potent cocktail. In contrast, BT’s ISP strategy is in a mess: Cellnet is losing its sparkle and its broadband roll-out isn’t rolling out.”

Cox, who was head of marketing at Real Media, is replaced there by Steven Savage, who has been promoted from within.

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