Time Sends Pirates Overboard
Ned Desmond, president of Time Inc. Interactive, informed employees of the move Friday. Desmond said Time decided to devote its resources to other projects, including an upcoming online humor initiative with Sports Illustrated. "Office Pirates was off to a good start--and it is likely to reach nearly 11 million page views this month--but the business still faced a long road," stated Desmond in a memo to employees. "It was a hard decision, but we decided to shift Office Pirates' resources elsewhere."
Office Pirates launched to much fanfare this February, but never built a significant audience of unique visitors. The site was designed to appeal to young online males, with links to Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and features like "Women Walking Around at Lunchtime," showcasing young women photographed on the street. But, while Office Pirates tried very hard to be funny, the jokes often fell flat. One photo posted Aug. 17 showed a woman on the telephone, with the caption: "Why did she come to New York? She's here on a [sic] business; she works for Bank of America. Or at least, that's what her friends and loved ones think she does. In reality, she leads a covert double life as a spy for the organization known as Citibank."
Early advertisers on the site included car manufacturer Dodge and electronics retailer Best Buy. As of the weekend, Dodge was still running ads on the site, as was liquor company Bacardi.
Time's decision to close Office Pirates comes at a time when other, ediger sites are thriving online. IAC recently purchased a majority stake in College Humor for a reported $20 million. Also, Viacom reportedly is in acquisition talks with the Onion.