Can Oyster Reviews keep its pearl intact in spite of the reduction in staff? After only four months of operation, media reports have announced that between one-third to three-quarters of their employees were given the pink slip this week.
The news that this professional hotel review site is in dire straits is bad news for travelers looking for reviews they can trust. If you haven’t checked out their Hawaii hotel reviews, I suggest you look soon while they are still open for business.
Their blog has made no formal announcement of the cutbacks which leads to more questions regarding their future.
Anonymous reports say staff received an email on Sunday not to show up for work on Monday, and were fired without severance or notice. The company, according to its CEO/founder Elie Seidman, would only confirm that “we’ve decided to slightly slow our rate of new market coverage.”
Oyster, according to their website, had a full-time staff of twenty reporters. Seidman indicated as recently as September, that he planned to have 45 reporters by year-end.
While I was excited by a different take and potential competition for Expedia’s TripAdvisor, it never appeared to me that Oyster had a viable financial model in place to support their growth. Business Week said their business model was “enough to induce apoplexy (stroke).” Perhaps that’s what Oyster too realized, albeit too late.