There goes another one. AOL is shutting down The Unofficial Apple Weblog, better known as TUAW, sources familiar with the situation tell The Verge. The company — which is also shutting down its gaming site Joystiq — is in the midst of a major reorganization, and is cutting back on media properties it deems as underperforming. TUAW’s run comes to an end on February 2nd.
TUAW comes to an end on February 2nd
Founded just over 10 years ago in December 2004, TUAW was acquired by AOL in 2005 when it purchased Weblogs, Inc., alongside other influential sites including Autoblog, Joystiq, and Engadget. TUAW currently has 11 editorial staffers, according to its about page. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong forecasted these changes during an earnings call back in November, stating that the company would "simplify everything that can be simplified." Armstrong said AOL would try to increase growth and value from its content sites by "simplifying the portfolio of brands," while improving its video offerings, which has rapidly become the backbone of just about every new media company’s advertising strategy.
In total, AOL will lay off around 150 people, according to TechCrunch. The site is also reporting that TUAW and Joystiq will be "folded" into Engadget, with Joystiq staying on as a separate channel, but we've heard different. AOL will put the archives of TUAW on a subdomain of Engadget, but past receiving the same treatment, Joystiq won't be sticking around in any meaningful capacity. We've heard AOL may keep a couple writers to run the subdomain, but Joystiq as it currently stands will not continue. TechCrunch is also reporting that AOL Autos will be folded into Autoblog.
AOL's most profitable division is led by dial-up internet
AOL is also reorganizing its sales organization, according to sources familiar with the situation, and first reported by Recode. Currently, AOL’s most profitable division is its Membership Group, which includes its dial-up internet offerings (yes, it still exists) and pulled in $139.2 million in adjusted income in the third quarter.
Right now AOL has three flagship content properties in The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Engadget. TechCrunch, which originally reported the news of AOL’s restructuring, noted that tech and lifestyle sites would most likely be affected by the changes. AOL decided against selling TUAW, leaving open the possibility it could resurrect the site in the future. But for now, a team of writers and editors are out of jobs.
Update: January 30th: 10:00AM: TechCrunch is reporting that in total AOL will lay off about 150 people as part of its reorganization. This article has been updated accordingly.