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Shopping Search Engine Management Changes

Since I’ve been absent a while (sorry Danny, Chris, and Barry), thought I should first catch everyone up on management changes at the shopping comparison engines.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Shopzilla: President John Phelps and Chief Product Officer Farhad Mohit have left the company. COO Bill Glass has taken over as president. Here’s the press release.
  • CMO Mike Aufricht, VP Internet Marketing & Business Intelligence Rob Goldman, CTO and Co-Founder Amir Ashkenazi, and Vice President, Global Operations and U.S. Merchant Operations Deana Bergquist have left the company. Here’s a look at the new management team.
  • PriceGrabber: President & Co-Founder Kamran Pourzanjani has left the company (although he’s still around as an adviser for Experian). COO, Ron LaPierre has taken over as president.
  • Become: Founder, Chairman & CTO Yeogirl Yun has left the company. Further re-organization details will be announced in the coming weeks. Joe Kubiniec, a 17-year veteran of Microsoft, has joined as Director of User Experience.

So what does this mean for these companies?
Truthfully, I think it’s business as usual. Shopzilla,, and PriceGrabber were all purchased by larger entities (EW Scripps, eBay, and Experian Interactive, respectively) in mid-late 2005 and it’s normal for founders and senior management to move on. While I’m disappointed to see many of these people leave, I think it’s a healthy change for each company as new management comes with new ideas which can help move the industry, and these top players, forward.

I’ve heard a number of people play up the softness in Shopzilla’s expected earnings as the main reason for Phelps’ and Mohit’s departures, but I think that’s only a small piece of the puzzle.

As for Become, the company has re-focused efforts on the comparison shopping side of the business, reducing staff in areas such as marketing and strengthening staff in areas like account management.