Searcharazzi: Let the Layoffs Begin

Searcharazzi - A Column From Search Engine Land

Listen up, HR managers, there’s a fresh crop of search employees on the block.

iCrossing commenced a round of layoffs this week. Rumor has it that the new CFO, Michael Jackson, is not driving continued growth, but cutting the fat based on profitability of offices and accounts. As of this morning, 20-30 employees have been cut from the Scottsdale headquarters and the New York office. Atlanta is also rumored to get cut down to 4 people. Some accounts suggest that when all said and done, roughly 60 people will be left in the wake.

The company also recently opened a London office.

So what does all of this mean? While layoffs are no fun for anyone, most firms that go through rapid acquisitions eventually require restructuring. In the case of iCrossing, the acquisition of Spannerworks and Sharp Analytics, as well as the full absorption of NewGate, has grown the ranks to 300 people in less than 5 months.

Insiders report that hires brought on by Don Scales have been spared from the cut.

While the firm has publicly stated that it is on a path to IPO, there is speculation that the cuts signal a fast sell, freeing up funds for a new acquisition or simply cleaning up after numerous acquisitions.

Searcharazzi is sure that there are more tales from the ranks. Feel free to post your comments below.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Searcharazzi | SEM Industry: General


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    iCrossing was a great company with incredibly talented people, a solid services offering and great clients. Its too bad that egos and politics have wasted such potential.

  • sarasez

    I can confirm that the mythical ex-ic yahoo group is growing at an unprecedented rate.

  • ReaderRed

    The company has become a joke – CEO dreams of them being on same footing as major ad agencies – will never happen.

  • Barkingside

    This is a company that already experienced 100% turnover in its NY office in about 18 months. What could the clients be thinking? Do the prospects in the always-brimming i.c. pipeline have any idea how unstable this firm is?

  • ReaderRed

    Never mind how what few prospects in the pipeline think about the 100% turnover rate – imagine how they keep spinning it to the few remaining clients they have – clients turnover in the ny office as frequently as the employees. As far as the latest layoffs – only rank and file employees were cut- none of the high priced “superstars” were affected. What can you expect from a company that thinks having a Madison Avenue address makes them a player in the blue chip advertising world?

  • BlueMooner

    Surely you don’t get to win Sears, Travelocity, Cosmos and more in May alone without doing something right.

    I also hear that Spannerworks comprise over 25% of the group and that staff turnover there is less than 1% annualy.


    BlueMooner, Re: your comment, “Surely you don’t get to win Sears, Travelocity, Cosmos and more in May alone without doing something right.” No one is saying that iC isn’t doing something right. They actually have a compelling marketing story to tell. That said, pitching business and winning business isn’t the same thing as running a business. In addition, the turnover at Spannerworks may have been less than 1% annually, but now that they are an iCrossing company that will change…surely.

  • Just Another Ex

    I completely agree with Despite hiring very good talent and having a solid vision, operations and organizational behavior were never a strong point. I believe in 2005 over 100 people quit/were fired. For doubters, just cruise through LinkedIn or ask any former employee who is bound to provide a long list of names. Of course, this is a problem that plagues many SEMs that are desperate for talent.

  • YuccaSyrupy

    I am interested to find out how the bringing in of 30-60 people in the Chicago office will affect things? How is this possible? It’s amazing to see a company’s decline from within. I truly care for so many good people here, and its a shame that one man’s vendetta has allowed a company to start imploding.

  • SheSearch

    You have to question the corporate integrity of a company like iCrossing. They only reason they won clients like Sears and Travelocity is because they were desperate, priced deals significantly lower that any other agency and lied about giving them “hardwired” teams. IC will say whatever they have to say to win business. You would think “sophisticated” marketers would question a company that can’t keep employees or clients.

  • ReaderRed

    The company is in the hands of a group of overpaid imports, who are totally living off some past reputations. Recently, one of their remaining blue chip clients requested that the companies “Chief Strategy Officer” no longer be allowed to interact with them! And he was introduced to the rank and file by the President as “best ever”!

  • OldICEmployee

    High turnover at iCrossing is something that is part of the corporate their corporate culture.
    They have been talking “IPO” since their inception. They also tend to burn people out and seeing 100% turn over in numbers in 6 months is not uncommon. The company has always been good as spin and for only a very short time during it’s live have they actually strived to be an industry leader.
    It actually makes me happy to see their “success”.

  • Jackson321

    There seems to be a lot of personal involvement here, but from an outside perspective these layoffs make perfect sense. You acquire companies and then you let people go where there are redundancies. That is my guess as to what happened. Pleasant? no. But from a business perspective it makes sense.

  • agency.comhater

    Just wanted to respond to Jackson321. First off, the company eliminated certain people in each dept. Unfortuantely, some of those people didn’t have redundant jobs. The clients actually depended on these people for their services. Alas, I am sure those hard working people will be replaced by dumbass don and his kiss ass agency superstars shortly. Gawd! They are like a plague, I hope one day someone can stop their evil empire in their tracks.

  • agency.comhater

    If there are any of you folks who got the axe the other day and want to get together to brainstorm ideas to build a new company from scratch let me know. I know w/ the talent that was just let go we can build something great, and maybe put an end to Scales and his little bitches. Lets find a way to get together and make this happen

  • exiCandhappy

    iC has been a complete joke for a long time. Massive ego issues are ruining the company, starting at the top.

    The addition of the bimboes and morons has only made that place even more unbearable. I’m glad I got out and I’m sure the others who were let go will feel the same way by, oh, tomorrow.

  • uralooser

    I feel sorry for the people that were recently let go, but it’s time to move on.

    OldiCEmployee, you more than likely got the boot because you can’t even form a complete sentence.

    SheSearch, if you had any clue you would know that IC is typically priced higher than the competition.

  • sarasez

    While it is no secret that the work environment and ethics at IC are not always bright and shiny, the vindictive nature of some of these replies troubles me.

    Certainly, my years at the firm were not a bowl full of cherries. Yet I still look back with pride at what we did accomplish. Remember – you are now in a labor market brimming with opportunity and that your future success does not require that IC fail.

  • seo123

    I agree several talented individuals were sadly let go yesterday, however it happens everywhere, not just IC.

    Clearly some of the so-called “talent” that has been gone for quite some time still has not moved on. If you were all so talented, I doubt you would be wasting your time posting here, as opposed to putting your great talent to work elsewhere. If it was so bad, why on earth are you still talking about it?

  • randfish

    I’m not sure I know someone personally at ICrossing, but I can say that SEOmoz gets more than a few phone calls and emails from former clients who are very unhappy, and has for at least the last 9-12 months. Maybe those are clients IC never wanted, but I’d say it’s at least 2 per month, and I can’t imagine there aren’t other firms that hear from more past clients.

    Definitely sounds like trouble to me.

  • Danny Sullivan

    Well, some comments are getting a bit impolite, so I’ve yanked a couple and am also closing them on this post, sorry.


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