Habbo Hotel owners to lay off 40 staff – so where's €50m headed now?

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Sulake, the company behind virtual world website Habbo Hotel and the popular Finnish chat site IRC-Galleria are to lay off up to 40 of their staff members in Helsinki. The company will initiate negotiations with staff next week and plans to cut employees in Finland by 13 percent. Sulake has a total work force of 300 people worldwide and is based in 13 countries.

According to Sulake the cuts are due to tougher competition online. However some sites are asking where the company’s revenue is actually ending up. According to Arctic Startup Sulake managed to create a one million Euro profit with their €50 million revenue last year. Some bloggers are wondering where that €50m is now going to end up.

Habbo Hotel is a free virtual world for teens and is visited by about about 12 million unique visitors each month and has more than 80 million registered users worldwide. The Finnish IRC-Galleria is the most popular chat site in Finland has about 400 000 registered users.

  • Tari Akpodiete

    It is probably going to be a lot more than the 40 reported at HQ. Each ‘property’ has moderators.

    For example. Habbo.ca has Canadian based paid part-time staff who help to keep the hotel safe. They watch for bad language, lewd behaviour, attempted luring of kids by adults, etc. So do Habbo.com, Habbo.co.uk, etc. Usually the ‘mods’ live in the country in which they work, although there is sometimes cross-over.

    Generally there 1 or 2 persons in such a role per 4 hour shift, and on a few busy sites, there are 2 or 3. Many of the habbo sites are open 24 hours, so that’s 6 shifts. Over the past few years, Sulake has been cutting back on mod staff, including making 1 person do the work of 2, or 2 people do the work of 4. I know because I used to work at Habbo.ca so I saw it first hand.

    Now, almost all the moderation jobs are being outsourced and will be done from one country, not in North America. Either Singapore or the Philipines. It’s uncertain how foreign language hotel moderation will be handled from such locations.

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