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Industry Moves: Embattled Hi5 Hires New CEO

This story was written by Joseph Tartakoff.
Social network hi5, which laid off half of its staff earlier this month after it was reportedly unable to raise additional capital, has hired Bill Gossman as its new CEO. Gossman has been an executive in residence at Mohr Davidow Ventures, hi5's main investor, and previously was CEO of behavioral ad targeting firm Audience Science.

Ramu Yalamanchi, who had been hi5's CEO since starting the company in 2003, will become chief product officer. The company said that Yalamanchi would now focus, in part, on extending hi5's micro-payment infrastructure. Hi5 has been pushing virtual goods as a way to make money. Yalamanchi told Forbes in February that the company hoped to derive half of its revenue from virtual goods next year, compared to only ten percent a year ago.

Venturebeat reported last month that hi5 had failed to close a $30 million funding roundand had therefore been forced to lay off employees. Hi5 claims more than 63 million unique visitors to its site a month.

By Joseph Tartakoff

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