So long 1UP, Gamespy and UGO
Briefly: Rupert Murdoch sold IGN and it’s subsidiary brands to the Ziff Davis media company last month. Usually, such acquisitions come along with layoffs and closures. And that’s what happened yesterday, as gaming websites 1UP UGO and Gamespy have now been forced to close shop.
While EA and Activision are already pinching off some staff members from various departments, the Davis group is handing out pink slips by the truck load. Ten year internet veteran 1up.com is now gone, alongside UGO and Gamespy, while IGN has also suffered some heavy layoffs in the process. According to an internal memo that Polygon got their hands on, the Ziff is looking to focus on the core IGN and Askmen brands, and will be doing so by ink-slipping a few corporate restructures as well.
In a way though, it does make sense, as there’s no point in dividing a potential audience between three websites. One website, focused on one field should be all that is needed, and IGN is more than capable of doing just that on its own. Still, good luck to those who got shafted this week. Here’s the full letter from Ziff Davis CEO Vivek Shah that was sent out to staff;
From: Vivek Shah
Date: February 21, 2013
Subject: Staff Announcement
Today, we took some difficult but important actions that will ensure the continued growth and health of IGN and AskMen. Before I go into more details about the changes, you should know that they resulted in the elimination of jobs at IGN. It’s always upsetting to say goodbye to colleagues and let’s do what we can to help these employees as they seek new opportunities.
It’s also important for you to know that we are absolutely confident that we now have the best structure and team to successfully move the company forward and that there are no further planned reductions.
The changes we made today are designed to allow us to Simplify and Focus. Our goal is to do fewer things and to do them exceptionally well. In that vein, we want to direct all of our energy and work behind our two flagship brands: IGN and AskMen. They are both category killers and share a vision of a multi-screen (PCs, tablets, smartphones, TV) and multi-format (text, photos and video) world.
As a result of our decision to focus on our core brands, we are:
· Winding down 1UP.com, UGO.com and GameSpy.com;
· No longer ad repping 3rd party sites such as GameStop.com and FamilyGuy.com;
· Actively engaged with parties interested in acquiring IPL. IGN’s role going forward will be to broadcast and cover a variety of eSports events;
· Dividing our ad sales team into two: one focused on IGN and the other focused on AskMen.
On the IGN front, Peer Schneider will continue to oversee all of editorial and product, focusing those resources exclusively on IGN. The foundation of this entire company is its content and we will continue to have the best people in the industry producing it.
Charlie Barrett will oversee the monetization of IGN everywhere in the U.S. – PCs, tablets, smartphones, YouTube, consoles – and now be able to concentrate the sales and ad ops teams’ efforts where they can make the most impact.
Frank Puma will assume an exciting new role as executive director of programs and solutions, reporting to Charlie. The sales development, design and creative teams will report to Frank, whose charge is to deliver world-class advertising experiences.
A new head of engineering and technology for IGN will be recruited as quickly as possible. Tech has a monumental role to play in the growth of IGN and will be committed to working hand-in-glove with edit, product and sales.
On the AskMen front, Ric Poupada will continue to oversee all aspects of the AskMen organization and is excited to have a new VP of sales, Paul Chenier, reporting to him. Paul has been a longtime advocate of the AskMen brand and is one of the most talented sales executives in our organization. Having him build a dedicated AskMen ad sales team will do wonders for the business.
Ian Chambers will continue to run International out of the UK for both IGN and AskMen and we’re thrilled with the performance of our businesses overseas.
Mike Etheridge will be the VP of finance and operations for IGN and AskMen, working across all of the departments to ensure that we’re growing our business, expanding our margins and making metric-based decisions.
Rachelle Igoe will be the head of human resources for IGN and AskMen, ensuring that we continue to nurture, attract and retain the best talent in the industry.
I’m sure that there will be a number of questions in the days and weeks ahead but please know that we will be a better functioning and nimbler organization from this moment forward.
As I said on day one, openness and transparency are important, so please email me at [removed] if you have any questions, thoughts or ideas.
IGN is also going to be putting more focus into the eSports scene as they move forward. Bloody copycats.