January 3, 2007 6:30 PM PST
Two more executives depart Guba
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Roman Arzhintar, Guba's former general counsel and vice president of strategy, said Wednesday that he and Bart Myers, the company's senior vice president of product development, have left the company to start their own Internet-video company.
"I have an idea of how an Internet company should participate in the online video space," Arzhintar said. "I'm going to pursue those ideas."
Guba representatives did not respond to repeated interview requests.
Last week, Thomas McInerney, Guba's co-founder and CEO, announced that he had left the company he helped found nine years ago to pursue other interests. He said he and the site's other co-founder are leaning toward selling the company. He also described the difficulties of competing in a sector dominated by YouTube.
McInerney said then that more Guba executives would soon follow him out the door and that they believed the opportunity to strike a deal as rich as YouTube's had passed. In October, Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube.
Guba had attracted a sizable audience after creating a user interface to browse videos found on Usenet, an online bulletin board system. The videos found on Usenet also included pornography. McInerney was unapologetic in November 2005 when he caused a stir by saying: "We can kid ourselves, but in the end it's probably porn that people want."
Nonetheless, Guba began filtering out adult videos last April as the company looked to strike distribution deals with Hollywood studios. McInerney made headlines when he convinced Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment to allow San Francisco-based Guba to offer the studios' feature films for download.
But a porn-free Guba also soon experienced a decline in usage. A review of Alexa.com shows the number of page views and number of visitors at Guba began a dramatic decline in May.
Arzhintar said he agreed with most of McInerney's assessment about online video. But that's why the company he and Myers are starting will not be going head-to-head against YouTube, he said. However, Arzhintar, who spent two years at Guba, said he wasn't ready to discuss details about his start-up.
Guba isn't the only video-sharing company to see a recent executive exodus. Los Angeles-based Revver saw two of its three co-founders leave the company last month.
Analysts and media pundits have been skeptical about whether video sharing would lead to big profits and have also predicted a shakeout.