A tipster sends along an email from Citysearch's "Content & Community Guru" David Israel that reveals "95% of the company has been laid off." (Including Israel himself.) This particular email was sent to the website's Scouts, local editors who provided guides to restaurants, bars, and more. Israel writes the layoffs occurred because "traffic has been declining steadily over the last 12 months to the point where the site is now down roughly 80% YOY" and he describes himself as "crestfallen." Scouts were told they could add tips through noon PT.
Eater has reached out to Citysearch for comment and will update as information comes in. Condolences to everyone who got laid off; Israel's entire email is below.
This is a hard email to write?
It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you of some major changes here at CS.
In short, 95% of the company has been laid off, including Brittney, Mira and me. It's no great shocker, as our traffic has been declining steadily over the last 12 months to the point where the site is now down roughly 80% YOY. Though it still brings in revenue, it's not enough to support the giant staff we had. And, sadly, it's not enough to keep the Scout program alive.
If anyone wants a final voice-to-voice to go through any questions, concerns, gripes, etc. feel free to call me if you'd like: XXX-XXX-XXXX.
But I wanted to get the group word out ASAP to deal with the unpleasant particulars of shutting down one of the greatest rides of my life thus far. We really built something out of nothing, especially the guides, and you should all feel deep pride in knowing you were part of a unique program that included only about 100 people across the country. That's a pretty select group.
In terms of final invoices, please send them to Brittney today or tomorrow at the latest and we'll process them ASAP. Because so many people in the building have been affected, it might take a week or two longer to get paid than normal, but hopefully not.
You can continue to create Guides and add tips until 12PM today, Pacific Time (3pm EDT). So if you were working on any, time to publish quickly.
As for your 'scout' status on the site, that will most likely change in the next weeks. I will update you if/when I know more, but the content you've contributed belongs to CityGrid Media per your signed contract, so please don't delete it. Any content added after 12PM today will be voluntary and not paid content. The Guides will stay up/live for the time being, but might one day get moved or taken down. No one seems to be sure of their future. There is some small talk of possibly moving it/them to Urbanspoon, another CityGrid company. I shall try to let you know what happens to them in the future.
Anyone handling social media for us, please stop as of this email. You can pro-rate that work at half a month billing.
Again, thank you for all the hard work and your patience over the year(s) as the dev team here refined the product and app to get it to a place where you guys could really shine.
Hopefully I'll land somewhere else where I'll need talented voices in your cities and will be able to hire you again. Please keep in touch via my personal e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @resila
Brittney and Mira join me in wishing you all the best with your careers. If there's anything I can do to help with anything, ever, feel free to include me as a reference.
Crestfallen, but happy for the chance to have gotten to know so many of you so well. I shall miss our weekly interactions and, of course, reading you on the site. If you ever find yourself in LA, drinks on me? and feel free to crash in my guest room on short notice? always here for you.
Bye for now,
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