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E-Commerce Restructuring At Web18; Some Execs Asked To Leave


Update: Surya Mantha, CEO of Web18 has informed MediaNama that “We have entered into a strategic relationship with HomeShop18, and and we do not our fulfilment function, which has become reduntant. We are actively hiring people at senior, mid and junior levels, and that is a part of normal operations. We have beefed up our marketing team, our technology team. There is no such thing as layoffs currently taking place at Web18. Getting new people on board and asking low-performers to leave is a part of on-going operations. This is not related in any way to the TV18 restructuring. There is no plan for more people to be asked to leave by the end of the month.”

Earlier: Web18, the Internet and mobility arm of TV18, a subsidiary of the Network18 Group, has axed around 27 jobs and the count could increase to 50-60 by the month end, according to current and laid off employees at the firm to whom MediaNama spoke (please check update above). Web18 runs portals including Tech2.com, In.com, BizTech2.com, CompareIndia, Indiwo, Buzz18, Mobile18 and print division Infomedia18.

A laid off Web18 employee, on the condition of anonymity, told us that the severance pay on offer was 2 months’ salary. Two other employees we spoke to were asked to leave on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, and were offered the same severance pay. Employees are being told that they’re being laid off due to the financial crisis or non-performance.

Web18 CEO Surya Mantha refused to confirm specifics of layoffs (we’ve compiled the information we’ve received below; please check update above) but told MediaNama that it was strictly performance related. “It is part of ongoing operational matters, there’s nothing special about it. As a business operation, we reward performers too, in fact we hired a new person for a top position just today,” he said. He would not disclose the numbers of employees hired and fired over the last year, saying that the company is not a publicly listed entity.

According to those with whom we spoke, more employees are expected to be laid off by December end, and the total tally is expected to be 50-60 in all. Note that employee appraisals were scheduled for the month end.

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Division-wise Lay Offs:

Please note that when we shared some of these numbers below with Mantha, he declined to comment further, neither confirming nor denying them. (Please check update above). Speaking to multiple sources, the following is a division-wise indicative compilation of the layoffs that have taken place so far:

  • Tech2.com: Four were asked to leave.
  • In.com – four people were asked to leave.
  • Shop.In.com (previously called StoreGuru) – Six employees were sent packing. “All of a sudden, e-commerce is totally shut, and saying that due to non-performance they are removing people,” said an employee. Shop.In.com is likely to be replaced by Homeshop18.com.
  • IBNLive.com: Two people were asked to leave from the Delhi team.
  • BizTech2.com – One employee.
  • Mobile18 – Only two employees are left in the division.
  • CompareIndia.com – Two of three were asked to leave.
  • Buzz18.com – Four were laid off. Buzz18.com and Indiwo.com are on a skeleton staff, and might be integrated with IBNLive.
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