TechCrunch reports that AOL has been making big budget cuts across its blogs. We’re not talking small stuff here, serious cuts up to 25%, which will almost certainly effect the writers the most.
The cuts range up to 25% of each properties total budget, which falls mostly on personnel costs – bloggers are simply being told to take a couple of weeks off for now, and there may or may not be work for them later in August.
The tech blogs, with Engadget being the most prominent one, is not affected, the sources say.
While this should be treated as a rumor for now, it is something that will and should rattle the blogosphere.
Gawker has been in the spotlight for their recent pay cuts, and b5media head honcho Jeremy Wright paints a gloomy picture in a comment to the TechCrunch post:
We’re seeing this across the industry. Gawker’s pay is now down almost 75% this year. Time’s is down 50%. AOL’s overall pay to bloggers is down almost 50% (happened earlier this year). Pubmatic is down almost 80% on the year.
It’s good, because it’ll force companies to really refine their models. It’s bad, becuase neworks are now closing all over the place (2 this week and 1 last week alone).
Needless to say, b5media is probably not one of the two blog networks mentioned.
So is this the final proof that blog networks are dead? Of course not, sites come and go all the time, and blogs are no different. Today’s blogs are not so different from dynamic websites of the past, although a lot of people like to act like it. Still, it is a sober reminder that you need to make money to stay alive in the harsh online world, and that means adopting to the current situation, or perish. Epic words, but rest assured that’s how it feels for the ones watching their empire crumble.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.