- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 20, 2006

Freewebs.com, the Silver Spring do-it-yourself Web site publisher, has hired AOL veteran Andrea Spiegel to fill a new position as editor in chief and vice president of content.

The site, founded five years ago, lets users create personal Web pages using Freewebs’ tools. Freewebs boasts more than 10 million users and says it is the world’s second-largest Web host, based on page views.

“[Freewebs] is easy for anyone who has the Internet. We help them create a Web presence,” said Mrs. Speigel, who wasn’t sure what to expect before she joined the company.

“I was a little bit surprised when I met with the team. I was blown away,” said Mrs. Spiegel. “Everyone was smart, focused and ready to take it to the next level.”

Mrs. Spiegel is planning changes to the Web site’s home page and other features.

“Andrea has a level of experience that crosses product, content development, programming, and she understands consumers’ needs very well,” said Rick Robinson, vice president of products and programming at Freewebs. “The company is very lucky to have someone who has all those aspects tied up in one.”

Mrs. Spiegel graduated from Rutgers University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism. While she was in college, she landed an internship on “Panorama,” a locally produced television talk show hosted by Maury Povich. She also began working for “A Current Affair” and served as a producer for the final three years of the Fox Television news show. After that, she joined AOL, where she served in various positions for the next nine years.

“I decided I wanted to move into the online arena,” she said. “I saw that as the direction the media was heading.”

Mrs. Spiegel helped to create the AOL Today Web page and continued to work on editorial content until 2001, when she moved into wireless. In 2002, she began working in the product marketing group, where she focused on instant messaging. She was named AOL vice president for production, planning and operations in 2004.

“She has that rare ability to work well with people because she can take their work and bring it to the next level,” said Hillari Palatnik, who worked with Mrs. Spiegel at Fox. “Instead of changing it, she morphs it into something better.”

Mrs. Spiegel lives in McLean with her husband, Peter Suskind, and two children, Ben and Eva. She would not give her age because, she joked, “online everyone is ageless.”

—Marie Tyler


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