As everyone knows, we are in the midst of a worldwide health crisis that’s affecting millions of people every day. My heart goes out to the families and individuals who are suffering, directly or indirectly, from the impact of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, there are millions of people turning to Fandom for knowledge and fun. Indeed, we’ve seen a meaningful uptick in wiki traffic over the last several weeks and I am enormously grateful that we have platforms and communities who can serve these fans. Thank you for helping Fandom be a service to people in this difficult time.
Unfortunately, the disease has created a real economic burden, especially for companies dependent on advertising revenue—like Fandom. We have taken every step we can to cut operating expenses and be as efficient as possible in running the site, but we are now facing accelerating double-digit declines in ad revenue. As a result, I have made the difficult decision to reduce our personnel costs.
Effective immediately, we have furloughed or laid off roughly 14% of our workforce. We have also taken action to restructure a few key areas, especially in our advertising sales teams. This also impacts several members of our community teams.
This was an incredibly difficult decision but one that I needed to make to preserve the financial health and continued success of our business. This is my decision and I am accountable for it. I am aware of every individual who is affected, and this action in no way reflects the skills or contributions of our leadership team, managers, community leads, contractors or any employees. And we do not expect these actions to materially delay the Unified Community Platform or new features to improve how you use Fandom.
I know these individuals are an important part of Fandom, contributing to our organization and our communities. I acknowledge that this is painful, and we took care and time to ensure that furloughed and laid off employees would be eligible to receive benefits and take advantage of government sponsored COVID-19 support during the crisis. (Furloughed employees no longer perform their duties and do not receive pay, but will continue to receive benefits while remaining eligible for unemployment benefits, if they’re US-based.)
It is my hope that we will return to some form of “new normal” quickly. And it is also my hope and expectation that the economic landscape will improve in parallel, which will allow us to return furloughed employees to work and resume our engagement with affected contractors.
I hope that you’ll recognize those who have been impacted by this decision -- they remain exceptional performers and people -- and that you’ll continue to support those who remain engaged to deliver for our communities and fans.
I’m sure you have many questions, and members of our community teams are on hand in the comments to answer them as we can. Please remember there will be limits on what we can answer out of respect for the privacy of the individuals impacted by this decision.
Thank you and please remain safe and healthy in your communities.