It’s not just dot.com companies that are currently feeling the pinch, the shaky status of online ventures is hitting Web design firms as well. Recently Internet firms Beyond Interactive and Razorfish both announced that they are trimming their workforces again.
Beyond Interactive notified between 90 and 105 workers Friday that their positions are being cut, amounting to 30 per cent of its 300- to 350-person staff. A unit of ad agency Grey Global Group, Beyond Interactive's client roster includes Verizon Wireless, online job site Kforce.com, Nickelodeon and Oracle.com.
Internet consulting firm Razorfish held mandatory all-hands meetings in every office worldwide on Jan 16 to unveil a rebranding and reorganization plan, which includes layoffs, according to a project manager in the New York office. The number of prospective layoffs is not known. The company declined to confirm or deny that such discussions had taken place.
The anticipated cuts were described as "capacity reductions", according to consultants who attended the meeting.
Razorfish, like other I-builder shops, has been hard hit in recent months by the slowdown in the Internet Economy. In mid-December, Razorfish executives came under heavy fire from analysts after missing expectations by as much as 24 cents a share and reporting that only 35 percent to 40 percent of the company's consultants were working for paying customers during the quarter. At the time, Razorfish CEO Jeff Dachis pledged not to lay off any staffers.
"I certainly hope it's a response to reality," Prudential Securities analyst Jim Dougherty said Friday in response to the news. "The drums are beating."
During the mid-December conference call, Dougherty called Razorfish's report and inaction "absolutely staggering".
New York-based Razorfish will inform staffers of their status by Feb. 15, according to a consultant who attended a follow-up session in the Boston office Friday morning. Employees were told that in order to determine their future, the company would look at demand for their skills, rather than past performance.
Also during the meetings, a consultant said, office leaders explained that the firm would move to a more traditional model of staffing, by assigning consultants to projects that draw on their previous work experience in specific industries.
Some Razorfish employees view the layoffs as necessary. "Depending on how deep the cuts are, it's probably very good for the company," said one consultant, who pointed to lax hiring standards this past summer. "There are a lot of people that got hired and felt that they were entitled to an easy job at Razorfish."
© The Industry Standard