Did The New York Times just lay off About.com’s entire editorial team? [Updated]

Did The New York Times just lay off About.com’s entire editorial team? [Updated]

According to Business Insider, The New York Times has just laid off About.com‘s entire editorial staff.*

This is the first drastic move that the former CFO now CEO Darline Jean has taken since starting her new position on September 1, 2011. Mediacoder reports that the appointment was part of a broader management shuffle at the company in which new heads for the sales and finance divisions were also named.

The Times Company first acquired About Inc. and its Web site, About.com in February 2005 from Primedia Inc. for $410 million. The Times hoped it would “add a fast-growing, highly profitable Web site to the company’s portfolio and would increase the company’s revenue from the expanding online advertising business”.

According to Mediacoder, About’s struggles with declining revenue and traffic are a result of Google’s changes to the way it directs traffic to informational sites like About.com and how it allows those sites to collect revenue from ads that users click on. In the second quarter, About’s revenues dropped 17.3% to $27.8 million.

*BI has just updated its story with a statement saying 15 jobs lost, 10 new ones created from Kristin Mason, director of public relations at the About Group:

We are restructuring the About.com Guide Operations team to focus on operational efficiencies that will position us well for the future.  The new structure will include new tools and processes designed to enhance quality and productivity, and ultimately, to improve our ability to deliver the high-quality expert content About.com users want and expect.  In order to create the new structure, 15 positions are being eliminated and 10 new positions are being created to support the new organizational structure.

Remind me to stop reading Business Insider. In the meantime, the 15 About.com employees can take solace in the following post:


Featured image: Shutterstock/Eric Von Seggern

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