I wanted to share the story of AdJab’s end with you all since I’m no longer associated with AOL or any of their blogs and, quite frankly, I’m honked off over the whole thing. Below is the text of an email I sent to a colleague about how things went down.
I was called about three weeks ago by one of the Weblogs, Inc. higher-ups telling me that AdJab would be shutting down at the end of January. This was not a point of discussion but something that had been, apparently, “agonized” over for quite a while. Adding to my disappointment over the shut down the site was my frustration that, despite my status as lead editor on AJ, I was not included in any of those “agonizing” discussions. They were all apparently made at the AOL corporate level. The reason for the shut-down was that the ad revenue was just not great enough to support the running of the site and that the traffic, while building, wasn’t doing so fast enough. Especially maddening was the fact that, in the last month or so I had been working with the WIN team to develop new features and even were discussing bringing on new people. All of those discussion occurred without a hint that our future was in doubt.
I was asked to not make a big deal out of the site going away and get that one last (and toothless) post up. I couldn’t just let AdJab disappear, though.
The decision to shut it down made – and makes – no sense to me. We’re always in the top 10 ad-related blogs out there and I thought we were putting up better content then ever before. Plus, we were going out of business just days before the Super Bowl, an event that AdJab is kind of known for. I couldn’t figure it out.
It basically came down, in my mind, to AOL not knowing what to do with it. It doesn’t fit into any of AOL’s existing verticals and wasn’t big enough to manage in its own right so it got ditched. The changes that are happening on TV Squad and Cinematical are pretty much what we all feared when WIN was sold to AOL. Those two sites are becoming more editorially driven by AOL dictates. If you look at TVS you’ll see it’s slowly being re-branded as “AOL Television” and they’ve brought in new writers specifically devoted to mass-appeal shows like American Idol and 24, in some cases taking away those shows from the regular folks who had been reviewing them and assigning them to new writers brought in just for that purpose. Cinematical, too, is being taken over by MovieFone. AOL sends out these twice-daily emails about what they consider “top news”, some of which has already been covered by the CINE team. It’s kind of ridiculous.
In short AdJab went away far too quickly and in a manner I wasn’t at all happy with. In my opinion the end was completely out of whack with the way we at AdJab had conducted ourselves. It was disappointing on so many levels I felt sick to my stomach at the end. It was so infuriating that I didn’t believe it was happening, and especially not like this.
That’s all I have to say on the subject. I’m sure some might disagree with some of my points but this is my perspective on matters. Â