The online arm of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, laid off about 16% of its staff, a signal that online educational sites are under pressure to reach profitability. Britannica.com
gave notice to 75 U.S. staff members; cutbacks were spread throughout several departments including editorial, product development, marketing, e-commerce and technology at the company's headquarters. After the layoffs, the privately held company will employ 390 people internationally. Britannica.com's sibling company, Encyclopaedia Britannica, will not be affected by the layoffs. Britannica Online, Encyclopaedia Britannica's subscription-based reference site in operation since 1994, also will remain unaffected. Britannica.com offers information online for free, as opposed to the subscription model of Britannica Online.
Copyright November 2000, Crain Communications Inc.