“You be the rock star, we’ll be your stage.” – Aol billboard outside TCHQ
“Hey, what’s going on? – Russell just got electrocuted.” – Almost Famous
The re-invigoration of Aol continues apace today with the announcement by Tim Armstrong that 900 employees will be laid off before the afternoon is out. According to Wired, those canned include “veteran journalists from AOL’s top news sites, including PoliticsDaily, DailyFinance and Walletpop”. Or as AOL’s SVP of news put it: “I have just laid off dozens of the most talented journalists & product folks I know.”
And, lest overpaid freelancers like me get too cocky, Tim had a nice fuck-you-very-much for us too. “Going forward, AOL will invest more heavily in our in-house editorial team and transition away from a reliance on freelance journalists,” he wrote in an email leaked to Business Insider. Thank God I write books for a living, eh?
To be fair, though, Armstrong’s grand plan for making Aol the world’s greatest content company isn’t limited to laying off “dozens of the most talented journalists and product folks”. According to a second leaked memo that’s just landed in my inbox, other proposed measures to improve the bottom line include…
- Only completely restructuring the entire company three times a week, instead of five.
- Ending the company’s popular “let’s burn all our money” Fridays.
- Increasing the cost of AOL dial-up and broadband to $10,000 a month “because those fucking idiots will buy anything.”
- Switching to premium rate “900” numbers for the company’s 40,000 mandatory weekly conference calls.
- Resisting the temptation to give buying Bebo “just one more shot.”
- Rebranding PoliticsDaily as BieberKittensandDirtyPornDaily.
- Encouraging local Patch journalists to increase revenue by sending 419 scam mail to their readers.
- Making all potential editorial hires take a Turing test and rejecting any who pass.