Cuts at Splashpress Media, questions raised over ad network

Blog network owner Splashpress Media has cut a number of bloggers, and is having issues with its ad network, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Splashpress Media has been active in the blogging space for several years, nearly exclusively as an acquirer of other blogs, including Performancing.com, The Blog Herald (from the people who purchased it from me), The Bloggy Network, the OneBig network and many others.

We're not clear on exactly how many job cuts at this stage, but we believe the figure is possibly more than 10, including blog writers and possibly behind the scenes staff. Sources familiar with the matter indicate that the cuts were due to economic issues, although one source questioned the choice of those cut, suggesting that there were issues between some writers and Splashpress CEO Mark Saunders.

On the advertising front, it has been suggested that Performancing Ads isn't in good shape, and that accounting irregularities have short changed some bloggers.

We did some homework on the advertising side, and the issues go back as far as September last year, when bloggers started to complain about the service.

Mihaela Lica at Pamil-visions writes that bookings disappear from their system, concluding that "So far I am deeply disappointed with Performancing and I wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends." Earn Blogger goes further with a post "PerformancingAds is a Cheater" in December 2008. Splashpress responded in October 2008, claiming that the program isn't a scam, and that the issues were "teething problems," although one blogger told us that the issues are still ongoing, but bloggers are afraid to speak up in case they are dumped from the program and don't get paid out at all.

It's not the easiest thing to run an advertising network, and we simply don't know for sure how bad the issues are, and in this economy people are always going to be unhappy.

One person I use to be friendly with who works there use to describe Splashpress Media as the blog killers; they'd buy up successful sites and run them into the ground. That's not entirely fair, some of their sites have, and are still doing reasonable traffic, although many of the sites they acquired have lost readers.

The network still has some fine writers and staff, Thord Daniel Hedengren, Chris Garrett and Jayvee Fernandez, all writing at The Blog Herald come to mind, although there are others as well. For their sake, I hope the network pulls past these difficulties and thrives going forward.