Flip.com Cuts Staff, Joins Undead Pool

CondéNet has slashed the headcount at Flip.com, its self-expression site for teen girls, from 18 to two. Yet despite having been dealt what would seem a killing blow, the venture hopes to find new life as a content sharing application on social networking platforms. As such, I guess you could say it officially joins the undead pool, where it will no doubt swim groaning, rigor mortis-hindered laps alongside the Facebook mainstay Zombies app.

When it launched a year ago, Flip.com was showered with media attention, including from this publication. The site’s core product is a set of multimedia creation tools allowing its mostly teen visitors to create “flipbooks” — actually slide shows that use a nifty page turning animation between screens. Flip users have created approximately 82,000 flipbooks in the past year, CondéNet said, and the site’s reported unique monthly audience is around 300,000.

CondéNet began courting advertisers with the new venture very early… as much as eight months before Flip.com actually launched in February 2007. J&J’s Clean & Clear was the site’s first advertiser through its agency OMD Digital. Under the launch sponsorship, the acne cream brand tested most of the site’s available formats, including run of site banners and sponsored creative assets teens could incorporate into their slide shows.

Flip.com continue to have a standalone Web site, but all its resources (such as they are) will go toward the app strategy and associated ad products. Who knows, that may turn out to be a smart move given the trend toward portability of Web content and services. But it’s hard to imagine the project will accomplish much with such a tiny staff.

“We will have probably two headcount on it — but it might be ‘pieces’ of several people as opposed to two individuals,” Sarah Chubb, president of CondéNet, said in an e-mailed statement.

Chubb said ad details for the widget strategy will follow.

“We have advertisers now and are moving ahead with what needs to shift given this change,” she added. “It is our intention to offer smart ad packages for this iteration of flip, as we did for the original version.”

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