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With a newfound focus on ad sales, location-based check-in service Foursquare has found itself in foreign territory. To help it settle in and make nice with the neighbors, the company has hired Rob Wilk, a seasoned sales executive moving over from Yahoo.

Wilk will serve as Foursquare’s vice president of sales. The ad sales expert hails from Yahoo, where he was most recently the senior director of search account management and was responsible for optimizing search performance for Yahoo’s advertisers.

The strategic new hire comes just two weeks after Foursquare made its first stab at serving ads to users with Promoted Updates, an advertising product that gives merchants a way to pay to reach local explorers.

Promoted Updates are currently being tested by just 20 merchants, but Foursquare obviously wishes to ride these sponsored posts to profitability some day. And with 17-plus years of industry experience, including ad and agency sales stints inside Yahoo, Wilk should be able to assist the startup in structuring its ad platform and help it with selling its unconventional units to big-time buyers.

For what its worth, Wilk has checked in 140 times, created 5 tips, and has earned himself 11 badges and three mayorships on Foursquare.

Photo credit: Juan Camilo Bernal /

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