In a rather unfortunate development, gaming blog Joystiq is set to be shuttered by its parent company, AOL.
The news comes on the heels of mass media giant’s efforts to reorganize itself. This effort includes the laying off of approximately 150 staff members in sales, and the consolidation of a number of news blogs into their larger counterparts.
Among the blogs in question are Apple news site TUAW, automobile blog AOL Auto, and of course, Joystiq, which is being consolidated into Engadget. According to USA Today, a large number of the layoffs are the result of the company’s increasing use of automated advertising instead of living, breathing salespeople.
Joystiq, which had been around since 2004, were stuck in an awkward bind in the days leading up to the official announcement of their closure. As this bizarre article points out, the blog’s corporate overlords were uncommunicative with them, leading to great uncertainty on whether or not Joystiq’s writers would be looking at unemployment.
Over at Massively, a subdivision of Joystiq dedicated to MMO games, writer Brianna Royce bemoaned:
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.
Despite Joystiq’s consolidation with Engadget, a tweet from news content director Alexander Sliwinski stating that he has “talented people looking for work” all but confirms that the blog’s current writers will not be joining the staff at Engadget.
Joystiq was acquired by AOL in 2005, along with around 90 other weblogs. Like TUAW, its traffic had been in decline for some time, which led to its shuttering as part of what AOL CEO Tim Armstrong called “[focusing] our capital allocation resource management and management time against scaled assets and platforms,” and “[organizing] our asset portfolio around scaled value and scaled growth assets.”