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Demand Media closing Austin office, staff surprised to lose their jobs

August 18, 2015

demand media

Demand Media shuttering Austin offices

At 10:00am on Monday morning, a somber meeting was called in the Demand Media offices in Austin, where employees were told that the Austin branch would be closing and that they are all losing their jobs. Demand Media is the owner of Cracked, eHow,, Demand Vertical Network, Saatchi Art, and Society6.

As of publication, no mention of the closure has been made on any of their social networking accounts, nor their site, and prior to publication we reached out to Demand Media. This story originally cited staff that claimed 100 workers lost their jobs, but the company says it is closer to 30 and is unable to give us an exact number.

One staffer told us that it came as a complete surprise to everyone and that despite severance, everyone is panicked as they look for their next opportunity. They also opined that Demand Media is not interested in press about the move.

So what happened here?

While the team members we spoke with were shocked, perhaps it should not have been such a tremendous surprise, given that the publicly traded company’s stock was recently downgraded to “sell,” after second quarter earnings failed to meet expectations. Revenue was down by a third for the year, which they blame on a 47 percent decline in Content & Media revenue (although they note it was offset by a 59 percent rise in Marketplaces revenue).

The quarterly earnings report indicated eHow traffic is their weakest link, and rumors have been swirling that they’re quietly trying to dump the site, along with Cracked and Livestrong. Perhaps that fell through and cutting a large staff was the better financial option.

More signs of trouble at Demand Media

Another indicator that there’s trouble at Demand Media is the recent departure of Scott Boecker, EVP of Marketplaces, and the end of Media EVP, Julie Campistron’s eight year run at the company (although it is said she’ll stay and consult through this month).

Demand’s revenue in 2013 was $209.4M, which fell to $172.4M in 2014, and continues to decline, which is being blamed on “lower ad monetization from our cost-per-click advertising and our strategic reduction in higher-yielding direct-sold display advertising, partially offset by growth in visits.”

Meanwhile, other giant media companies like Say Media are selling off their content sites while conversely, Comcast is investing heavily in digital media, injecting $200 million into Vox.

Regardless of the reason, Demand Media is retracting from Austin, and our sources tell us that the entire Austin staff was blindsided and now on the hunt for jobs. We will update the story as more information is provided.

**For staff displaced by this closure, check out the Austin Digital Jobs group on Facebook.**

UPDATE: David Glaubke, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Demand Media tells us that most of the Austin staff will remain with the company until the end of the month and that roughly 10 will remain employed for several months, with some having been offered relocation. Glaubke stated that while Zacks downgraded their stock to “sell,” others only downgraded the stock to “hold.” To explain why Austin was closed as opposed to other satellite offices like New York City or Burlington, Washington, Glaubke says that this was “purely a consolidation move.”


Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.


  1. I’d imagine their userbase took a dive when they kept attacking said userbase with articles from serial harassers like Brianna Wu. Most people stop going to sites that insult them, I know that’s why I stopped.

  2. Cracked has been going down hill for years. I feel sorry for the staff, but the site isn’t what it used to be.

  3. Hi,

    I don’t think their stock was ever near the $600 price point as that chart seems to imply. Maybe the image was compressed or something and lost a decimal point or something? I think if you divided the numbers on the side by 10 (so it would be around 60 at the peak) it would be accurate, maybe?

  4. They fired all their eHow writers a couple of weeks ago as well. With absolutely NO warning. Writers just woke up to an email saying basically “we no longer require your services”. I had friends who had written for them for years who are now completely without an income.

    I used to write for them several years ago. They always were a horrible company to work for, and treated the people who wrote for them like dirt, which is why I stopped working for them. Personally, I’ll be thrilled to see this company’s shares plummet. What goes around comes around, and Demand never had any respect for anything except making more and more money for their owners, so they deserve exactly what they get.

  5. You know, it’s truly shocking this happened, who would’ve thought pandering to anti-capitalist SJW lunatics might be a bad business model?

  6. Demand seemed like a good part-time gig in my retirement and despite the low pay, I found it interesting – for a while – as I suppose most of their writers did. Eventually, I got tired of the pay scale, the ridiculous and mostly subjective directives of the copy editors, and the even more ridiculous article titles being offered (i.e., “How to Do Thoracic Surgery At Home”). I’ve been writing and editing professionally for close to 40 years. When I received feedback from a 20-something editor that began with, “If you want to be a better writer…” I decided I was in the wrong place.

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