As HuffPo Acquisition Closes, AOL Begins Layoffs

Things certainly seem to be on the move for the AOL/Huffington Post juggernaut.  First, just about as soon as AOL inks the deal, Google makes substantial changes to its ranking system, with unknown effects on HuffPo's industry-leading Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.

Now AOL is laying off a bunch of its workers, including journalists:

Sources said there will be no staffers let go in its network group or advertising sales unit, but editorial and other media product groups will be impacted. Also on the chopping block are jobs in India, which will mean many more hundreds of job cuts in addition. . . . 

Among those leaving are Jonathan Dube, AOL's SVP of News, sources said, who only arrived at AOL in November from his previous position as VP of

The entire content side of AOL is taking the brunt of the layoffs, due to overlap with the Huffington Post, which AOL bought for $315 million

It's not really surprising that this is happening: eliminating overlapping staff is a much more tangible benefit of a merger than the much-discussed "synergies" that so often fail to materialize.  In fact, the cost cutting more than occasionally gets out of hand, when it becomes clear that the synergies will be illusory.

But it's rotten luck for all the people who are losing their jobs, in a job market where the only sunny spot is that last month was substantially less horrible than the dreadful conditions of the past few years.  And it's not clear to me that AOL can really salvage its sprawling operations by rebuilding them on the foundations of tiny HuffPo.