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DMD Falls to a New Low and Crosby is Mad as Hell

mailbag_artHey DSSers,

Hope everyone made it through the craziness of the last few days. I don’t have to tell you that old DMS is in bad shape.

As I write this, their stock has plummeted below $5 – the lowest it’s been in a year, and executives are warning stockholders that profits aren’t going to be what they thought.

Love this quote from a story on Reuters:

“We need to fix eHow,” said Mel Tang, Demand Media CFO, suggesting an overhaul to turn the site into a destination rather than one that people stumble upon after conducting a search query.

Little birdies are also telling me that, in addition to lots of people getting fired, some of the once mighty Demand queues are approaching double digits.

That being said, we got this spiffy email from DSSer NE during the crisis last week. I said I’d run it, so here it is. Enjoy.

Reader Mailbag

Joe Crosby is mad and he’s not gonna take it anymore. Demand’s business zombies are ungrateful and the Barney Fife of the B&F section is going to nip it…nip it in the bud!

After Demand lost yet another partner (AZ Central Business) and B&F titles plummeted to all-time lows, B&F writers began freaking out in the forums again, with older writers providing the standard, “Diversify,” and “Demand lies” responses to newer writers.

Crosby (who’s LinkedIn profile confirms that his career has basically been freelancing for or working at Demand) raced to the forum, all offended that anyone would dare suggest that Demand isn’t doing swimmingly well, that the future isn’t awesomely rosy and that DMS’s integrity would ever be questioned.

From Crosby to B/F writers:

What you can’t hear right now is the enormous sigh I’ve just unleashed. When we tell you more titles are coming and that the section is fine, we absolutely mean it. Or you can choose to think the worst. It’s up to you. I feel like I should pushpin this response so we don’t have to post it every few weeks when everyone starts getting paranoid. As I’ve mentioned before, if you’d like to discuss conspiracy theories about DMS closing up shop or the section going away, then email or call me directly.

As a reminder, I was a DMS writer and CE for 2.5 years before coming on internally. I know what it’s like hustling for other gigs while trying to cherry pick the best work here to keep some guaranteed income rolling in. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re working for anonymous bots, something we’ve tried really, really (REALLY) hard to change. If anyone understands where you’re coming from, it’s me. I get it.

What I’m telling you is to trust me. Concerns as a freelancer that there are too few titles for you? Completely valid. Assuming that too few titles means that we’re shutting down the B/F section or, worse, the Studio? Much less so.

For some perspective, we currently have more than 50,000 available titles across all the sections we publish to. For additional perspective, the B/F section publishes more in a month than any of our other 21 sections. Our publishing priorities go up and down for certain sites and sections depending on our partners’ needs. Throughout all of that, a large part of my job is making sure that you all have work to do.

It’s really tough to come to you all with honest updates or answer your questions if you’re only going to see them as misleading. If that’s the case, then why bring this up at all? That’s kind of a my point.

Again, I *strongly* encourage everyone here to contact me directly with these concerns rather than repeatedly post them here. I’ll leave this thread open should anyone still feel this is the healthiest place to vent, but this is the last I’ll say on the matter for now, since this isn’t a productive conversation. If you would like further explanation from me, contact info is, as always, below.

Love,

Joe “Trust Me or I’ll Sigh Enormously All Over Your Ass” Crosby

Of course, Joe Crosby forgets to address this notification from his fellow Demand lackey, Jordan Decker, in 2011 (which multiple writers called out):

The DMS Team in the process of making some changes to our titling process that will TEMPORARILY affect available assignments. This change will allow us to more efficiently process titles forLIVESTRONG.COM by cutting down on the number of duplicate titles in Find Assignments

This means that today we will be removing the majority of currently available LIVESTRONG.COM and LIVESTRONG Nutrition assignments. We are doing this so that we can take these assignments and put them through our new flow in studio, and you should start seeing these assignments return within 2-3 days. While there may be fewer assignments available for now, our team will we be working overtime to fill up the queue as much as possible.

Jordan Decker sent that on behalf of Demand even though the studio was NOT de-duping or bringing the rest of the titles back in “2-3 days.” Demand was actually permanently removing those titles and moving to (fewer) feature articles, and was planning to use only a couple dozen writers to do them. And Demand never told writers what was going on for more than a year. At one point, Crosby was involved in selecting feature writers for Demand.

Now, Joe Crosby wants us to trust him and the employer he’s watched screw countless writers — and says we’re scumbags if we don’t.

6 comments to DMD Falls to a New Low and Crosby is Mad as Hell

  • NoZone

    ..so basically Joe lied to writers again as a DMS spokesperson..or didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. How are these clowns even around? He said there would be more articles March 1st.

  • Complainer

    And now he’s gone:

    Hello,

    I wanted to update you all on some changes in points of contact in the B/F section. Richard Lally, who many of you know, will now be leading the section on the Studio side of things. Claire Webb will still be involved.

    I’ll still be involved with the day-to-day management of the Studio overall, so by all means, save my contact info and continue to take advantage of it for any general Studio questions. But Richard will be your point of contact for this section specifically from now on.

    Even though I’ll continue working with you all, it truly has been a pleasure getting to know you and work with you on this section. You’re a great group of contributors. So, instead of saying that you’re in good hands with Richard, I’ll instead say that Richard is in good hands with you.

    Thanks,
    Joe

  • Pamela

    Several sections shutting down tomorrow (3/7) while eHow ‘renovates.’ Titles won’t appear for weeks to months, they say. Seems like it’s all over to me. The writing has been on the wall, writers knew that the end was coming months ago when title queues plummeted, but the studio staffers and forum moderators denied it tooth and nail, blatantly lied about how things were just splendid and chastised those who questioned. So, Tuesday will be the final paycheck for many writers there … that is, if the paychecks go through this time.

  • Crosby lied

    The timing of your post is perfect. Looks like Joe Crosby of Demand Media Studios lied through his teeth, just like Jordan Decker. First, he tells writers that they are whiners and writes:

    “When we tell you more titles are coming and that the section is fine, we absolutely mean it. What I’m telling you is to trust me.”

    13 days later, Demand tells writers:

    “… you’ll notice fluctuations in your available assignment queues. Some segments may dip to zero. Others may have sporadic new assignments. We expect the eHow assignments to start to become available over the next 1-2 months. We hope you can keep busy during this time.”

    Demand didn’t know this was happening 13 days earlier? Crosby had no idea the company was dumping all of its partner sites and revamping eHow after the CEO said that’s what was happening on the Q4 earnings call? They “hope we can keep busy?” for a couple of months?

    I pity the company that hires Joe Crosby in the future in any editorial management position based on his obvious disdain for writers.

    “Trust me.”

  • Title drought continues

    Only half the number of ACE writers in February, and most of those probably squeaked in at the 75 level. Tech, Biz, Fitness and Careers all dry. I think they have to keep the content side going because of the stock, but I wonder if they are once again keeping production costs down this quarter until the end of March to make next quarter’s earnings numbers less disastrous. Stock is at three-year lows, down 88% from its post-IPO high. Hey Eve Lederman, who do you think is responsible for the stock and company being worth 12% of what it used to be? It’s surely not the folks like you in the editorial department who caused Panda. It’s the writers — make sure your CEs keep sending back rewrites.

  • Shazam

    “the enormous sigh I’ve just unleashed.”

    More like, the enormous fart he’s just unleashed, gasbag shit kicker. What an ignorant douche.

    I couldn’t believe DMS is still in business. I’m surprised the stockholders aren’t chasing that asshole Rosenblatt with pitchforks and torches for selling them a wheelbarrow of shit.

    That whole company has securities fraud written all over it.

    ROLOLOLOLOLOLO!

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