There were "massive layoffs" today—amounting to 14% of staff—at Heavy, the guy-focused network of websites. Heavy has been on deathwatch recently, since it's become increasingly clear that the company's strategy of inflating its traffic figures by buying pop-up ads will not be enough to satisfy its big investors. This is a bad sign for those sites with flashy branding but little substance to build a strong base of regular visitors. The venture capitalists who sunk millions into Heavy two years ago thought that it's "Heavy Men's Network" could turn into something big among the coveted young male demographic. But apparently the company's ad network isn't making any money. The financial crisis is going to hurt the ad market even for strong sites. For shakier ones, it could be a death blow that even the grownup businessmen Heavy brought in to professionalize the company can't avoid. Heavy's optimistic statement today:

Given the current economic downturn and related uncertainty in its industry, Heavy today reduced its staff by 14%. With its premium Heavy Men’s Network platform serving 23M young men per month in the US alone, and profitable International operations in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, Heavy is strongly positioned for any dip in the advertising market.”