Blog Post

eBaum’s World’s Long Saga Comes to a Close with Layoffs

The staff of long-running video and web ephemera site eBaum’s World was let go on Friday by its acquirer ZVUE, according to blog posts by staff members including eBaum’s founder Eric Bauman. Web commenters are crowing about Bauman’s complaints that eBaum’s was stolen out from under him, as eBaum’s was often criticized for allegedly ripping other people’s web content without attribution.

HandHeld Entertainment/ZVUE, a maker of media players and a conglomeration of various web sites, bought eBaum’s World for $15 million in cash, $2.5 million in stock and a potential earn-out of $50 million in August 2007, after eBaum’s had been on the block for quite a while. The site was to accompany its acquirer’s other web properties like Putfile and At the time, eBaum’s claimed 10 million uniques per month, though comScore said it was more like 2.3 million.

In 2008 ZVUE’s stock price sank below $1, and it received multiple warnings from NASDAQ, restructured, raised funding, saw board members and execs quit, and appointed new leadership. The company announced it would put Rochester, N.Y.-based Bauman in charge of its web operations (previously run out of San Francisco) and grouped its properties and other entertainment sites together as the PopSauce ad network.

Bauman (known as eBaum) wrote on Friday,

As you may have heard our parent company (ZVUE) has decided to let myself and the rest of my team go. We have been running eBaum’s World for 10+ years so this is a very sad time for all of us.

Another former staff member added that some employees were offered the chance to stay on to run the site with a new team, but they all declined. They were apparently told that the Rochester office was being closed for “operational and financial” issues, though we have not yet confirmed the eBaum’s office closure with ZVUE.

The former eBaum’s staff looks to keep the web curation dream alive independently on a new, barely developed site,

Though some commenters offered Bauman their condolences, many more seemed to think the occasion a sort of overdue justice for the ripped-off content the site had been known for. eBaum’s had often posted its own watermarked versions of other people’s videos from around the web and racked up massive views for them, especially in the early days of web video before people were more savvy about building up their own distribution on sites like YouTube. “Glad to see karma catch up to him. He’s been stealing content from people for years,” said one Digg commenter.

Whatever your judgment, though, Bauman certainly made out well from selling his site, and besides, eBaum’s World had lost relevance as the world of web video expanded.

9 Responses to “eBaum’s World’s Long Saga Comes to a Close with Layoffs”

  1. Liz
    the way you worded it, it sounds like you were using comScore as a way to cast doubt on the claimed figures. I just don’t see the need to add it, it detracts from an otherwise great article, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want people quoting the little figure for NewTeeVee from comScore in the same way :-)

    PS: it doesn’t just undercount, it’s not even remotely wedded to reality. Quantcast undercounts, not comScore.

  2. This is a big deal and marks an important win for copyright holders who have struggled to find value in putting their shows online. Thanks for the post, Liz.
    For a sustainable market to develop for digital distribution content owners have to know that their IP will be protected. Rogue sites who build their brand and business on the backs of producers by ripping and rebranding copyrighted content are stumbling blocks in the way of viable digital economics.
    This news, coupled with the big players developing real technological solutions to protect content (read YouTube’s excellent Content ID system) and the evolution of sensible, digital copyright laws (read Creative Commons) are positive signs for those of us invested in building a market for digital video.

  3. Liz
    good post, but this lets it down “eBaum’s claimed 10 million uniques per month, though comScore said it was more like 2.3 million”.

    comScore isn’t a great source, and you should know better. For example, comScore says NewTeeVee has 33,000 unique visitors/ mth, and yet Quantcast (direct measure, although undercounts slightly) puts your people figure (you’re blocking the rest of the stats) at 401k. So am I to presume then, based on your comment, that your traffic is worse than a spam blog on blogger, or 401k uniques or there about?

    I’ve got no particular time for Ebaums, but fairs fair with the snide comments. If you believe, honestly that comScore is a fair measure, let me know when Om puts the site on the market, at 33k uniques per month I’m betting it will go cheaply ;-)