Carat Interactive's VP of search marketing, Ron Belanger, has left to join direct navigation and domain squatting firm BuyDomains as VP of marketing, ClickZ reports. Belanger has been with Carat since late 2003; before that he was VP of account development at Inceptor. Boston area-based BuyDomains has approximately 500,000 domains and claims 20 million unique visitors per month.
ClickZ points to two trends implied by Belanger's departure: Agencies are having a hard time retaining search talent in a market that prizes entrepreneurship, which rewards those who seek out equity stakes in new ventures; and the direct navigation business model is taking hold, with PPC ads served to users who type a keyword directly into their browsers' address field. Such sites offer nothing but ads and result in low-value web pages, according to critics.