Moz Layoffs, Gawkers Googbye, and the NSA hacked
Original Air Date: August 18, 2016
The search marketing world was stunned late yesterday with the announcement Moz is laying off 28% of its staff in a move to become profitable. Moz CEO Sarah Bird made an emotional blog post yesterday titled, “Moz is Doubling Down on Search” outlining a renewed focus on core SEO related products in the Moz Toolbox such as rank tracking, keyword research, local search listings, duplicate management, onpage items, web crawl, and links analysis. Left unmentioned in her post was the community Moz had created and sustained for several years. In fact, all layoffs happened in the community divisions of Moz, including the extraordinary Jennifer Sable Lopez.
Rand Fishkin later tweeted this was about getting the company revenue-right. For Moz and the extremely tight internal community they’ve built, this must be an awful day; even more so for those let go, not because of their performance but because of a management decision to marshal their energies in a more focused direction. In the long run, if Moz can make itself profitable without outside funding, it may well turn out to be the wisest decision Moz has ever made. For the time being, it feels like there’s a hole in the entire SEO community this morning. Big love to Moz, the Mozzers, and the now expanded Moz Alumni. Thanks for all the contributions over the years and we all look forward to seeing what comes next.
Gawker to cease publishing next week. The 14 year old online tabloid was targeted by billionaire PayPal founder Peter Theil in a massive series of direct and indirect legal actions. Gawker Media, the parent company that owned Gawker was sold last week to Univision for $135million. They publish six other online magazines; Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, and Jezebel. Details on what will happen to those properties or to Gawker’s archives have yet to be announced. The Univision purchase is pending a decision to allow the sale which is expected today from a Manhattan bankruptcy court.
NSA Hacked! In an ironic and somewhat dangerous role reversal, the National Security Agency, otherwise known as America’s cyber-spooks were hacked, quite heavily.
A group calling itself the Shadow Brokers are asking for 1million Bitcoins, which is about $570million US in an auction to release the best cyberweapons and release a treasure-trove of secret files.
The hack happened to a division of the NSA known as the Equation Group which, according to Kaspersky security, has been active for over 20 years. In a report published by Kaspersky in 2015, the Equation group was described as “a threat actor that surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques, and that has been active for almost two decades,” The group is thought to be responsible for the infamous Stuxnet attack on Iran’s centrifuges in 2007.