Aol dials up the stupid with 150 editorial layoffs
Brianna Royce, Editor in Chief of Massively, the MMORPG arm of popular gaming blog Joystiq, which is also going away, talking about Aol Corporate’s most recent stupidity:
I would like to be able to tell you truthfully that this is an equitable and just decision that makes some sort of logical sense, but the reality is that our overlords’ decisions have always been unfathomable. I know more of what I know about corporate from reading tech and finance news than through my own job. We all suspected this was coming eventually a year ago when a VP whose name I don’t even know and who never read our site chose to reward our staggering, hard-won 40% year-over-year page view growth by… hacking our budget in half. There’s nothing to do in the face of that kind of logic but throw your hands in the air.
Aol still depends, yes, depends on its dial-up revenue to survive. That is why these popular sites have been euthanized and at least 150 people laid off. Because Aol leadership, millionaires all, can’t figure out how to run their company.
Aol owns The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and at least a couple of other very successful blogs. There are people working there who know how to run a profitable blog. Is it executive hubris that prevents the brass from asking someone what the hell to do?
I hate to be morbid but thetruth is that some day relatively soon everyone willing to endure dial-up will be dead. What will Aol do then?
I don’t know, but more importantly, and infuriatingly when it means people lose their jobs, neither does anyone at Aol.
The ethics of reporting on the Sony hack
Emily Yoshida (@emilyyoshida), entertainment editor at The Verge, one of my favorite tech news sites, on the publication’s ongoing and deep contemplation of the ethics of reporting on unethically leaked information:
The contents of the leak are already public; they’re just not in a very user-friendly format until a news outlet decides to amplify a piece of it. Which means, one could argue, that the press is merely drawing lines of best fit through a dataset. It could also mean that the press is essentially finishing what the hackers started.
Om Malik on digital advertising
Is a page being auto-refreshed on an open tab in your browser really useful “attention?” I don’t think so.
I saw this first-hand in a previous job. Here is a pro tip: You can be sure much of your traffic is open-and-forget (and therefore useless to advertisers) if you have an auto-refresh (as many news sites do) and your average session duration is equal or nearly equal to that refresh interval.
Anyway, Mr. Malik always has safe advice for business owners and writers alike, so go read the rest of his article.
Margaret Sullivan takes her NYT colleagues to task like it’s her job, because it is
Margaret Sullivan is Public Editor at the New York Times. She is tasked with taking the Times to task when it falls short, overreaches or otherwise misses the mark.
And sometimes it does miss the mark, like when it failed to mention successful litigation by the Wall Street Journal which resulted in publication of Medicare data the Times used in crafting a recent feature story.
Sullivan’s candor and diligence are a service to the paper’s readers and reporters alike. Subscribe to her RSS feed here.
Jay Rosen on the “View from Somewhere”
The quarter-billion-dollar news company Pierre Omidyar is founding will be fascinating: a digital-first journalism outfit with old media money behind it.
It’s an odd flip of the Jeff Bezos/Washington Post play, which involved a digital-first entrepreneur putting the same money as Omidyar, $250M, behind an old media organization.
If I had more free time, there would be a good article in there somewhere about what exactly it means to see that kind of money converging on the old/new media dichotomy from opposite directions.
But I don’t, so there won’t. For now, at least.