History of AOL’s Layoffs, 1996-2007

This post is completely out-of-date and inaccurate, but I don’t plan on editing or deleting it. Instead, please see my fully updated AOL layoffs chart for 1996-2010.

Updated 12-31-07.

I have to hand it to Owen Thomas of Valleywag for pure, unbridled ambition: who else would attempt a chart of all the layoffs at AOL from Day One until another 2,000 people were laid off this October?

How about me? I think I’ve gotten closer to a full account of the carnage at AOL than Owen did. Give him credit, though; he was only off by 3,945 people and left out only a few years worth of layoffs. How much does Valleywag pay, anyway – not that I’m interested?

I’ve been wanting to redo Owen’s chart for three weeks but as a few of you know I wasn’t quite up to it. So with apologies for my belatedness, here’s the most complete chart of AOL layoffs I think anyone has come up with.

Complete AOL Layoff Chart

(click here for full-sized version)


  • November 1996: 300 – C|Net


  • November 1998: 105 – C|Net



  • January 2001: 2400 – ZDNet
  • August, 2001: 1200 – ZDNet



  • July 2003: 50 – ZDNet
  • December 2003: 450 – C|Net


  • December 2004: 750-950 (depends on source) – 750: C|Net or 950: Slashdot




  • February 2007: 600 – (couldn’t find a working link for this; might not be accurate) Washington Post
  • October 2007: 2000 – Silicon Alley Insider
  • December 2007: 100 – (this figure is pure speculation, but believed to be accurate) Silicon Alley Insider
  • Jan.-Dec. 2007: 2000 (no source, but insiders claim “rolling layoffs”, in which small groups are laid off all year long, were in effect. That figure plus the ones above puts the total body count near 5,000 – assuming AOL’s workforce stood at 12,000 at the beginning of 2007. It is widely held that this is correct.)

Consider this: AOL’s workforce once stood at over 20,000 – and there were possibly as many as 24,000 workers (PDF) but AOL has shed over 16,000 workers in 19 years, leaving just 8,000 still employed worldwide.

For more about the October 2007 layoffs, check my AOL Layoffs section.