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About.com lays off staffers; hires replacements

By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - New York Times'-owned About.com has laid off 15 editorial staffers and will hire 10 replacements as part of a restructuring of the site's mission.

Kristin Mason, a spokeswoman for the internet company, said that the company had not eliminated its entire editorial team as Business Insider reported.

She said the editorial staff consisted of 22 full-time and part-time positions before the restructuring. According to her, 10 new full-time positions will be created, with outgoing staff members to be given "first-priority" to apply for the new posts. She said many are expected to be rehired.

The organization will be broken into four groups: Guide Operations & Recruitment, About Editorial & Quality Review, Site Review and Community Tools. This is intended to improve the site's focus and quality.

The Times spent $410 million in 2005 to acquire the site, which offers how-to guides, courses, and articles from freelance contributors about topics ranging from the "Top Ten Movies Made From Cartoons" to "World War I: A Short History."

About.com posted weak revenues in the parent company's most recent quarter, attributing the performance to changes in the way that Google conducted its search algorithm. With ad sales slowing, the site's revenues dropped 10.2 percent to $31.1 million.

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