AOLers Need To Remember What Kind Of Company They Work For Now

AOL reception at its NYC headquarters

After reports suggested AOL would only fire about 1,000 people during its upcoming round of layoffs, AOLers tell us they were “surprised” to learn this morning that the company wants to lay off a full third of its employees — about 2,500 workers.

But AOLers need to remember what kind of company they are working for now.

It’s no longer a huge and growing ISP, or a company that needs tech products to do anything but drive pageviews to media (like the way AOL Mail does).

Tim Armstrong wants to make AOL a content publisher, fuelled by a shrinking ISP business that still manages to throw off tons of cash. 

We think of Tim’s vision for AOL as a sort of Gawker Media on steroids. That’s a much smaller business than what AOL has been, and it requires many fewer employees.

Including sales, domestic and overseas tech, HR, operations and even freelancers, Gawker employs ~140 people to run nine sites. AOL Media wants to be over 100 sites by the end of the year. Using Gawker as a benchmark, the quick maths suggests AOL will need ~1,750 people to run the sites and sell premium ads against them. AOL’s nearest competitor in the access business is Earthlink, which employees ~750 people.

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