Following a reassessment of its business prospects, Random House has restructured the operations of its fodors.com unit, particularly those activities directly associated with its Web site. Effective immediately, Random has stopped developing editorial features exclusively for the site and has also reduced its consumer marketing efforts. As a result of the cutbacks, 13 fodors.com employees will be leaving Random, while a number of technical support people and editors have joined other Random divisions. It is estimated that about a dozen staff members remain dedicated to fodors.com, which continues under the direction of Brent Peich, v-p and general manager.
Fodors.com will continue to adapt content from its books for use on the site, and the company will also make its material available for publication as e-books or through other digital distribution channels. In addition, Random will continue to pursue licensing deals; it already has agreements with American Express, American Airlines and Sprint.
In her memo to employees, Bonnie Ammer, president of the Random House Information Group, said the "difficult Internet business environment" forced Random to evaluate the priorities for its Web site. At one point, Random had hoped that the site could become a self-sustaining, even profitable, unit, but like many Internet ventures, the break-even point kept moving further into the future.