It looks set to be a gloomy Christmas in the US dotcom sector this year as at least 10 internet-related companies axed a high percentage of their staff during the past week.
Web consultancies were at the forefront of the layoffs as Scient made the highest number of job cuts this week by axing 460 staff or 25 per cent of its workforce, in an effort to lower costs.
Xpedior did likewise, firing 380 consultants, administrative and support workers - the equivalent of 32 per cent of its workforce.
Fellow consultancy Viant ended the week by announcing plans to lay off nearly 20 per cent of its workforce or about 125 employees, 99 of whom are consultants. Not to be outdone, consulting company Lante, which builds ebusiness marketplaces, sacked 117 people or 19 per cent of its workforce.
Consultancies were not the only ones to feel the dotcom pinch, which many companies are blaming on the general economic downturn. One-time high-flyer Priceline.com cut 48 jobs, about 11 per cent of its staff, and postponed plans to set up a so-called 'name your own price' business in Japan.
Other casualties this week included Women.com, which cut 85 jobs, or 25 per cent of its workforce, and online advice site Exp.com, which let go of 17 people, or 15 per cent of its staff. Online car dealer Greenlight also laid off 25 per cent of its workforce but declined to release specific numbers.
Two dotcoms, HotOffice.com and Babygear.com, closed down without revealing the number of layoffs.
Not everyone believes the situation is all gloom and doom, however. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Michael Tchong, who founded e-marketing companies Iconoclast and CyberAtlas, said it is a myth that dotcom jobs are in a slump.
He pointed to a recent University of Texas study, which found that 2.3 million people are employed at internet companies. When that figure is compared with another recent report, which found that 31,056 jobs had been axed by internet companies since January 2000, the reality is a little brighter.
That's about one per cent, said Tchong, who added: "To me, that's full employment."
According to a report last month by US recruitment company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, November saw the most number of dotcom redundancies in the US since records began in January 2000. Last month US internet companies slashed 8789 jobs, and 31,056 staff have been laid off since the beginning of the year.
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