About.com's Scott Meyer was forced out as CEO of the New York Times-owned website after his senior staff threatened to quit unless he left, a tipster tells us. NYT CEO Janet Robinson had wanted to keep Meyer on, even though his reports ridiculed him as a biz-dev type who was clueless about the Web. That he left without a replacement indicates how deep the revolt went. For NYT Digital chief Martin Nisenholtz, who's running About.com for the time being, the gig is temporary, and involuntary. "Martin definitely doesn't want to run About," says our source — though he also pressed Robinson to do something about Meyer. As for replacements? Ron McCoy, the company's chief digital architect, and an early pioneer of search-engine optimization, is the heavy lifter at About.com, but he's not a candidate for the CEO spot: He flies in from Atlanta, and is said to be uninterested in management.
About.com, the '90s-vintage mess of protoblogs the New York Times Co. paid $410 million for three years ago, has lost its CEO, Scott Meyer, left. The departure is characterized as "amicable"; the circumstances, curious. The Times has been rumored to be shopping About.com, though the company denies it. Regardless, Meyer is not being replaced. Instead, Martin Nisenholtz, the digital chief at the Times, right, will run it directly. There are two interpretations here.
Five years ago, blogger Rogers Cadenhead recalls, blogging sorta-evangelist and RSS king Dave Winer made a long bet with Martin Nisenholtz, the senior VP for digital operations at the New York Times. The proposition was this: "In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times' Web site." The best part is, their arguments at the time both pro and con are pretty hilarious—because they've been rendered obsolete. Though technically one of them won, there was another real winner, Cadenhead points out.