The New York Times Company's not-so-journalistic content business is changing its editorial model and starting from scratch. Noah Davis at Business Insider reports, "About.com, the information portal The New York Times Co. purchased for $410 million in cash in 2005, just laid off its entire editorial staff today, a source tells us." In a statement, the About Group confirmed the news saying that "the company is eliminating 15 of the 22 full or part-time positions in the editorial department" in "restructuring the About.com Guide Operations team to focus on operational efficiencies."
The new efficiency plan seems pretty ambitious. According to the latest traffic estimate from Quantcast, the staff change over will mean that About.com will have one editorial staffer for every 2.2 million monthly unique visitors. As a very rough point of comparison, Instagram turned heads earlier this year by announcing that they employed only four people but boasted 7.5 million users. Of course, Instagram's vintage-looking photos and About.com's content from experts are not the same products.
Update: We originally quoted Noah Davis reporting that About.com laid off their entire editorial staff, though he updated his post after the About Group clarified that they cut 15 of the 22 editorial staffers but are adding 10 new positions. "The staff members whose positions are affected due to the reorganization will be given first priority to apply to the new positions being created." Kristin Mason from the About Group told us in an email. "This a reorganization of the Guide Operations department, and the new structure is going to implement new processes making available our best practices and policies, tutorials and ideas so that Guides can decide how best to maximize their site's performance and maintain the high-quality content that our users continue to expect."