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Now that the media reporters and commentators have had time to dig through The New York Times Company's latest (troubling) quarterly earnings report, it's apparent that its once SEO-friendly traffic-winning Website About.com is becoming a real danger to the company's bottom line. PaidContent's Jeff Roberts, in a story harshly headlined, "The New York Times' About.com: From All-Star To Albatross," doesn't hold back:

About.com is in free fall. The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) revealed yesterday that its network of information sites suffered a 67% drop in profits and that revenues had fallen by a quarter.

The new figure comes at a time when the New York Times Company is trying to forge a digital strategy based on high quality content and the prestige of its flagship brand. About’s problems could present a distraction as NYT Co seeks to implement that strategy.

67 percent is a big drop in profits. The shift is perhaps due to advertisers moving their rousources away from SEO-driven sites toward SMO-driving sites. (SEO = search engine optimization. SMO = social media optimization. We just made the latter term up. Do you like it?) At least we know The Times Company is doing something about About. Just a few months ago, it effectively sacked the vast majority of About.com's staff, which is bad news for those employees, but is a better business plan than paying people millions of dollars to leave, we guess.

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