ThingWorld Fires 35, Looks For Buyers

ThingWorld, a Watertown, Mass., company that helps sports, entertainment and media businesses distribute digital content to build online marketing campaigns, is laying off 35 employees — 70 percent of its workforce — and is in discussions to sell its technology to unnamed partners.

The majority of cuts will take place at the company’s headquarters. Privately held ThingWorld said it is working to help laid off employees find new jobs.

“We are making difficult decisions to get our expenses in line with revenue and move the company to profitability as we continue sale and/or merger dialogues,” said Stephen D. Moylan, a former InfoWorld chief who who joined ThingWorld as president and CEO in August.

Moylan said ThingWorld is looking for “a key strategic partner to help us grow and scale our business.”

ThingWorld was founded in 1996 as Parable. It offers mutimedia technologies such as “digital collectibles” to help businesses build promotional campaigns with branded online content. Customers such as Major League Baseball and the WWF copyright and “lock” digital content, allowing it to be distributed securely to specified Web communities or portals.

Its decline is the latest in a string of bad news for CMGI, the Andover, Mass., Internet holding company. CMGI, through its @Ventures investment arm, was an early ThingWorld investor.

But if CMGI misjudged the viability of ThingWorld’s business model, it was not alone. Other backers include: Intel, Microsoft, CYRK, Wasserstein Perella & Co., The Kraft Group, FleetBoston, NFL Quarterback Club and Venture Management.

Colin C. Haley is managing editor of boston.internet.com.

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