As if Google’s social strategy didn’t have enough problems, one of its key product execs has jumped ship for a rival upstart. Benjamin Ling -- who The New York Times’ Digits blog calls a “high-ranking Google product executive” -- is joining Badoo as COO. New to Badoo? Well, “If Facebook is the social network that allows people to connect with their current friends, Badoo is the social network for meeting new people, including potential dating partners,” Digits explains.
“The company founder has called it a ‘nightclub in your smartphone.’” Also championing an interesting business model, Badoo’s Facebook app is free, but members can pay to increase the chances of being “discovered” by others. The company says it is now on pace to generate more than $150 million annually, and employs a staff of 200. Still trying to get traction in the United States, the 6-year-old company already has a large following in Europe and South America, with more than 35 million active monthly users.
A computer science PhD from Stanford, Ling has long worked closely with Google vice president Marissa Mayer, according to Digits. At Badoo, Ling will oversee product, engineering, partnerships and corporate development.