July 22, 2010, 1:00 AM

Shop.org’s executive director plans to resign

Scott Silverman is leaving the organization to co-found a virtual goods retailer.

Lead Photo

Scott Silverman, Shop.org executive director

Scott Silverman, Shop.org’s executive director since 2001, today announced that he will resign as head of the organization, which is the online retail division of the National Retail Federation, effective Aug. 13. Silverman says he plans to launch a virtual goods e-commerce company.

“I’ve been with Shop.org and NRF for 11 years and during that time I’ve had a front row seat to observe innovative companies,” he says. “Now I’m taking the opportunity to jump into the game. I didn’t want to wake up later in life and regret that I hadn’t tried.”

Silverman says he is entering the virtual goods retail industry because of the large number of consumers he has observed spending “real money” on digital items.

“There is a huge affinity for them through social games and otherwise,” he says. “If you look at social games you can see those games allow people to interact with their friends. It’s the online equivalent of a bridge game. And people, by nature, are competitive and want to have a better experience with those games and that’s where the revenue comes in. People are willing to spend money to improve the game and have a better experience.”

One lesson Silverman says he’ll take from his tenure at NRF is the need to constantly innovate. “This industry is dynamic,” he says. “It moves quickly and any competitive advantage you have you have to assume it will only last for a short time. There are so many smart people in the industry developing good ideas you have to move quickly.  Everything in the industry is inherently measurable, so it’s all about how you can deliver value.”

Matt Shay, NRF president and CEO, will collaborate with executive committee members on Shop.org’s board of directors to select Silverman’s replacement.

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