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Six Apart lays off 8 percent of workforce

Cuts at blogging software company come on the heels of layoffs Tuesday at and Current TV and don't bode well for the Bay Area new media world.

Tuesday was not a good day for the San Francisco Bay Area's new media community.

The latest bad news to hit was word that blogging software developer Six Apart has laid off about 8 percent of its 200-plus staff. In a post on the company's public blog, CEO Chris Alden announced the cuts, writing, "We are reducing the size of our full-time staff by around 8 percent and are making some organizational changes as we prepare for 2009."

Though Six Apart seems to be growing--"with Q4 2008 on track to be our biggest revenue quarter ever, and cash flows from our revenue, past financings and sale of LiveJournal providing funds that will serve us well going into next year and beyond"--the company clearly felt it had to make some moves to streamline as the economic crisis turns its crosshairs on Silicon Valley and the San Francisco technology industry.

Already Tuesday, for example, and Current TV both suffered layoffs--and that's on top of many other companies that have already begun reducing headcount.

"So why are we doing this?" wrote Alden. "First, as with many companies these days, we are being proactive about keeping our expenses low. Second, with so many changes in 2008, and looking forward to the changing market in 2009, we have to re-balance our organization accordingly."

Among the changes Alden explained in his blog post, he said that the company is merging its marketing, community, and support groups; it is consolidating its Six Apart professional services group, adding people to the group from other parts of the company--and will continue to hire for that group; it is creating a single technology team comprising operations, hosted engineering, analytics, infrastructure, and open platforms; and continuing to push its Six Apart Media advertising program.

As part of the goal of slashing costs, Alden continued, he and other managers have taken 15 percent pay cuts.

Now, as layoffs throughout the media industry pick up steam, those with jobs are no doubt getting more and more nervous. Things, as they say, are likely to get a good deal worse before they start to get better.