AOL “Boxes Rumor” Posted by Ex-AOL Employee

While I was at work today Silicon Alley Insider reported that Valleywag uncovered a rumor on a Tumblr that there’s stacks of boxes ready and waiting in an employee parking garage so that soon-to-be laid off AOLers don’t have to carry their belongings out in their arms. The Tumblr includes a picture of the boxes. The picture is said to show boxes stacked approximately 10 to every 4 inches, which works out to at least 2,350 visible boxes. Have a peek now if you haven’t already.

AOL boxing up? Credit: marc.redtilde.com

Assuming one box per AOL employee, the layoffs will be horrendous.

People question the truthfulness of the rumor, said to be given to Marc, the blogger, by an “anon AOL employee.” I can’t vouch for the truthfulness of it myself. But I can vouch for the fact that the Tumblr is written by a high level ex-AOL employee who’s probably playing coy about how much he knows.

The Tumblr is written by Marc Goldberg, former Senior Technical Manager at AOL (LinkedIn profile). He held that position from 1996-2006, then worked as Director of Web Services Engineering at TV Guide, and is now Director of Technology and Engineering at NextNewNetworks.com. The proof, as always, is in the pudding…

Red Tilde, the domain the Tumblr is on, belongs to him. His name is at the bottom of it, as seen in the link. Not only that, but there’s a picture of his NextNewNetworks coworker in another Tumblr post he published recently.

Does the fact that Marc Goldbeg, formerly of AOL, posted this rumor lend any weight to it? I have no idea how credible Marc is as a person, never having met him, so I can’t say. Readers, do any of you know him? Any thoughts?

Just finished writing this when I got an anon tip:

This is what I know so far about what is happening with the offices in Tucson. Rumor has it that many will be laid off, but probably not closing. AOL has 2 two-story buildings it’s leasing over here. Since the layoffs last year, they are now using only the first floor of one of those buildings. They have the other spaces rented (co-leased?) to other companies. So not sure what they will end up doing. I don’t see how they can keep these buildings going since they only use 1/2 of one, and soon with less people.

I’ve been getting many “LinkedIn” friend invites lately. Guess people are starting to work on their contacts and resumes. If I hear anything else, I’ll let you know. More then likely, a flood of info will be coming in Monday night, since the lay-offs begin early next Tuesday.

I have a friend who worked in the AOL call center in Tuscon until recently (she quit). She was an outsourced employee…that is, she did not work directly for AOL, but for a staffing agency that provides workers to AOL, so I’m trying to figure out the logistics of this building myself, and who’s in it…I’m guessing higher-level AOL staff does have some sort of presence but I’m not sure how much or who. Anyone?

Oh wait, an update… I put the last questions to the source of the rumor, who just emailed me:

It’s all AOL employees. Development [and] BETA. Actually…all of the BETA dept is in Tucson. I never knew of anyone being outsourced. There used to be a call-center (reg technical support) in one building, Saves (cancellation dept) in another, and the Development & BETA building. That included BETA, QA, FST. No real call center people.

Uh, someone straighten me out on this, please…?

Hmmm…another email:

Oh. By outsource..do you mean like…contractors?

Yes…there were a hand full of contractors, but they were only about 2% to 5% of the work force there.

That’s it, I guess.