New York Times’ About.com lays off, restructures staff following revenue troubles
The New York Times Co. is cutting 15 full-time and part-time employees from About.com and creating 10 new full-time positions as the division tries to expand its offerings and recover from declining revenue. David Kaplan writes that the move comes a week after the Times Co. warned that its digital revenues will be down in the third quarter, "due in part to About’s continuing struggles following last year’s change to Google’s search algorithm. That change resulted in less users going to About’s guides, which meant that the unit saw less revenues from its cost-per-click revenue model." Kristin Mason, director of public relations for the Times Co.'s About Group, said via email that the "Guides" themselves, who are contractors, are not part of the reorganization.
Mason's explanation of the changes:
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.
The About.com editorial team – which is part of the larger Guide Operations team -- currently consists of 22 full-time and part-time employees. With the reorganization, 15 (full and part-time) positions are being eliminated and 10 new (full-time) positions are being created.