Doug Leeds

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This article is about the CEO (born 1968) of Ask.com. For the CEO (1947-2011) of Storeboard Media, see Douglas B. Leeds.
Doug Leeds
Doug Leeds 2014-05-17 10-18.jpg
Born (1968-05-16) May 16, 1968 (age 46)
Los Angeles, CA
Residence Danville, CA
Occupation CEO
Spouse(s) Tracy Leeds
Children 3

Doug Leeds (born 16 May 1968), is the current Chief Executive Officer of Ask.com, which operates the website Ask.com as well as Ask.com’s portfolio of content and social media properties, including About.com,[1] Dictionary.com, Investopedia[2] and global Q&A social network Ask.fm.[3] Under Leeds, Ask.com spent more than $400 million acquiring trusted, high gloss content sites representing the 7th largest collection of informational and evergreen content properties in the US, reaching 280 million US users monthly; combined with Ask.fm, Leeds oversees destinations that touch more than 500 million monthly users worldwide.

Biography[edit]

Career at Ask.com[edit]

Leeds was named CEO of Ask.com in 2010 following his tenure as president of the company.[4] The previous CEO of Ask.com was Jim Safka. Under Leeds's helm, Ask.com returned to its roots as a Q&A service, redesigned its site and launched an online community to generate human-powered answers to supplement answers that are indexed from across the web.[5][6] Leeds also focused the company on reaching mobile users, launching Ask.com mobile applications for web, iPhone [7] and Android[8] as well as several well-received stand-alone applications that spun out of the Ask.com flagship experience. Ask.com mobile apps have been downloaded over one million times.[8]

With the Ask.com product re-focused on Q&A, Leeds returned the brand to the TV airways, inking partnerships with Live with Kelly and airing new TV commercials that highlighted the Q&A value proposition.[9] The result of this product and marketing coordination has been greater than 25% user growth in the past year[10] as well as a tripling of revenue and 700% increase in annual profits under Leeds's leadership. IAC (company) CEO Greg Blatt stated about Leeds's management that "for the first time, maybe since we bought it, I think Ask is really hitting a stride." [11]

Leeds has been a leading advocate of "Applied Improv" as a business tool to foster creativity and innovation. Under Leeds's direction, all Ask.com employees have been trained in using improv techniques to enhance their communications, identify new opportunities and accept a more diverse set of business possibilities.[12][13]

Prior to assuming the top role at Ask, Leeds served as the company's chief operating officer,[14] chief strategy officer,[15] and SVP of Products[16] where the products he launched won multiple Webby Awards[17] and were heralded as the "Apple of search" by Chris Sherman of Search Engine Land[18][19]

In addition to running Ask.com, Leeds now also oversees a publishing network of informational, evergreen content aimed at helping people learn new things and includes About.com,[20] Investopedia,[21] Ask.com, Dictionary.com.[22]

Purchase of Ask.fm[edit]

In August 2014, Leeds also spearheaded Ask.com’s acquisition of Ask.fm, a global social network with 150 million users across 150 countries.[23] Ask.fm generates an estimated 20,000 questions per minute with approximately 45 percent of its mobile monthly active users logging in daily. To date, the mobile app has been downloaded more than 40 million times. Leeds has been active champion in spearheading the safety overhaul of Ask.fm, proactively driving partnerships with New York and Maryland Attorneys General[21] to design specific safety plans and relocating the company out of Latvia, to Dublin Ireland[24] where he has forged partnerships with local government and children’s ministries to ensure the site is up to industry safety standards.

Career at Dictionary.com[edit]

Immediately prior to leading Ask.com, Leeds was the President and chief executive officer of Dictionary.com, a top 50 website in the US.[25] Leeds took over management of Dictionary.com following IAC's acquisition of the company in 2008, which Leeds spearheaded.[15] Under Leeds's direction, Dictionary.com entered the mobile market, launching the Dictionary.com mobile app on all major mobile platforms, resulting in over 40 million app downloads and recognition by Apple, in March 2012, as one of the 25 most downloaded apps of all time.[26] Under Leeds, revenue at Dictionary.com grew 75% and profit rose over 150%.

Leeds also oversaw the successful launch of several Dictionary.com mobile games including Miss Spell's Class[27] and Agent X Word.[28]

Other Business Experience[edit]

Leeds has worked in various capacities at additional companies including Yahoo (VP, Product Justice),[29] Overture Services (Senior Director, Trust and Community),[30] OmniSky (Director of Wireless Advertising),[31] BootSpace (CEO),[32] Vodafone (Director, Public Policy), Thelen (Associate Attorney, Antitrust), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Fellow), and the Arms Control Association (Researcher). He has served on the board of directors of TRUSTe[33] and the Mobile Marketing Association.

Personal Biography[edit]

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Leeds is the grandson of Joseph Friedman, inventor of the flexible straw. He attended high school at Crossroads School before receiving his bachelor's degree cum laude from University of California, Berkeley in 1992. He graduated with high honors in Political Economy and served as the department's valedictorian. He earned his juris doctor cum laude in 1996 from the Georgetown University Law Center where he was an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. In 1994, Leeds married Tracy Porter. They have three daughters. Leeds and his family live in Danville, California.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yap, Jamie. "Ask.com buys About.com for $300M". www.zdnet.com. ZDNet. 
  2. ^ Barinka, Alex. "IAC Gets a Bargain in Buying ValueClick Websites". www.bloomberg.com. Bloomberg. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Isaac, Mike. "Ask.com Buys Ask.fm, an Anonymous Q.&A. Start-Up". www.nytimes.com. New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "IAC Management Bios -- Doug Leeds". IAC. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  5. ^ Jenna Wortham (2010-07-27). "Ask.com Reverts to Its Q.& A. Origins". New York Times. 
  6. ^ Ryan Singel (2010-07-27). "Ask.com Returns to Answering Questions, Web 2.0 Style". Wired. 
  7. ^ Stephanie Yang (2013-08-05) "UrbanSpoon To Focus On Quality Restaurant Reviews After Selling Rezbook To OpenTable". TechCrunch
  8. ^ a b Chris Crum (2011-08-23). "Ask Android App Launches". WebProNews. 
  9. ^ Anthonty Ha (2011-10-26). "Ask.com Returns to TV, Cautiously". AdWeek. 
  10. ^ "Compete.com Report on Ask.com". Compete.com. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  11. ^ "IAC/InterActiveCorp's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript". SeekingAlpha.com. 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  12. ^ Scott McGrew (2010-09-24). "press here: Improv Everywhere". NBC Bay Area. 
  13. ^ Jon Swartz (2012-02-27). "Ask Questions How It Does Business -- and changes". USA Today. 
  14. ^ http://www.web2summit.com/web2010/profile/2064
  15. ^ a b Kevin Newcomb (2008-05-15). "Ask.com to Acquire Dictionary.com Family of Reference Sites". Search Engine Watch. 
  16. ^ Miguel Helft (2007-12-11). "Ask.com Puts a Bet on Privacy". New York Times. 
  17. ^ "Ask.com Mobile Wins Best Mobile Site for the 11th Annual Webby Awards". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  18. ^ Chris Sherman (2007-09-07). "Search in the Year 2010". Search Engine Land. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  19. ^ Greg Sterling (2007-06-04). "Ask Relaunches: Now Ask 3D". Search Engine Land. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  20. ^ Yap, Jamie. "Ask.com buys About.com for $300M". www.zdnet.com. ZDNet. 
  21. ^ a b Miller, Joe. "Ask.fm bought by Ask.com and Tinder owner". www.bbc.com. BBC. 
  22. ^ Graham, Jefferson. "Ask.com has found the answer to a strong comeback". www.usatoday.com. USA Today. 
  23. ^ Graber, Diana. "Ask.fm Hub". www.cyberwise.com. CyberWise. 
  24. ^ Pollak, Sorcha. "Ask.fm promises anonymity with responsibility". www.irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 
  25. ^ "comScore Media Metrix Releases Top 50 Web Rankings for September2007". Comscore. 2007-10-18. 
  26. ^ "A Billion Thanks. 25 Times Over.". Apple. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  27. ^ Lex Friedman (2009-05-28). "Miss Spell's Class for IPhone". PC World. 
  28. ^ Leena Rao (2009-12-18). "Dictionary.com's iPhone App Agent X Word Helps You Solve Crossword Puzzles On The Go". TechCrunch. 
  29. ^ "Yahoo, AOL Rejecting Adware". WebProNews. 2005-11-16. 
  30. ^ "SquareTrade a Top Site for Verifying Canadian Pharmacies". Senior Journal. 2004-06-28. 
  31. ^ "Mobile Advertising Debate". Mobileinfo.com. 2001-05-16. 
  32. ^ "BootSpace Management". Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  33. ^ "TRUSTe Board of Directors". Retrieved 2012-03-31.