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Michael Gurstein on Wed, 22 Jan 2003 08:18:41 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> FW: [CC] BREAKING NEWS! AOL PULLS PLUG ON DIGITALCITY- Without Telling Any one Else

-----Original Message-----
From: jill e vaile [mailto:jill {AT} jilleliz.com]
Sent: January 20, 2003 11:05 AM
Without Telling Anyone Else

Contact: Jill E. Vaile
Email: jill {AT} jilleliz.com


AOL Pulls The Plug On Digital City- Leaves Staffers and Freelancers in
the Dark
San Francisco, January 18, 2003

By Jill E. Vaile

With little or no warning, AOL has dismantled its Bay area offices for
DIGITAL CITY. All indications are that the area is far from the only
one. Freelance writers, the majority of the contributors for reviews,
were unceremoniously sent emails, such as the one below which was sent
to the San Jose area writers by the editors on January 16, 2003:

"hello there,
Just wanted to let you know that as of 7a.m. this morning, the San Jose
page ceased to exist.
AOL, as you probably know, has been going through a lot of turmoil of
late and so we just got word yesterday afternoon from national that they
were shutting down several cities around the U.S. San Jose and
Sacramento have been both tucked into what is now called the San
Francisco Bay Area.
i realize that you may have already been notified by individual category
editors you've been working with that aol has cut back on freelance
writers but unfortunately this is the next step -- there is no page to
search because it no longer exists. however, i am told that all events
are searchable, so if you need to find anything you've written on the
site, you should be able to locate it.
i would highly recommend that if you have outstanding invoices to please
send them to me and/or John Gaines (jgaines848 {AT} aol.com), the managing
editor, as soon as you can."

"the reason i say this is that i really don't know how much time i have
left here but for the forseeable future (the next week), i'm still
working here...so it would be in your best interest to get them to me so
i can make sure they're passed on to John.for now, i will be mapping
over a lot of the events and venue write-ups to the expanded San
Francisco site. if you have any questions, feel free to call me
(415.844.9199) or contact john.
thanks so much for your help and contributions. i was originally under
the impression that the Bay Area cities wouldn't be affected but
obviously that was incorrect.i'm sorry it's ending so abruptly but
that's the nature of these things i guess."

! It gets better. On January 17, 2003, the email brought this:

"hey, the san francisco office is being shut down. today is the last day
for all of us.
please direct payment inquiries to john gaines. you can try for more
money but no, the write-ups have never been $5 each, even back in aol's
heyday when they paid tons of cash out.
jgaines848 {AT} aol.com sorry. i don't have much time. thanks for your help."

No mention has been made of any of these developments in the press, and
as the recipient of the aforementioned emails, I wanted to ensure the
word got out. In an experimental foray, I was contracted by AOL to do
write-ups for their site. I wrote two items only for them. I am owed
money, as I am sure, are many others.
The money has been owed over and above the customary pay time, according
to promises made by the editor in question.
Where he has gone is another bewildering quandary, when and if there
will be any money paid is another.

Funny how this happened on the immediate heels of the change of CEOs&.
and AOL-Time Warner does maintain it is "business as usual"&. It DID
say, "tucked in", didnt it?

Jill E. Vaile
Editor & Publisher: This View From The Bay
Editorial Manager: Moondance.org <http://www.Moondance.org/%3E>
Columnist: eRights & Issues: nwu HearSay Magazine
Music Journalist: Reviews & Interviews
Send email to:jill {AT} jilleliz.com
<mailto:jill {AT} jilleliz.com?subject=Send%20email%20to:>

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