ZDNet Tech Update Staff For Sale

Faced with the unemployment line, the entire staff at ZDNet Tech Update Wednesday decided to put themselves up for bid on eBay .

After getting pink slips this month from its parent company, CNET Networks , former senior editor Lee Schlesinger told internetnews.com that the 11-member group has decided to pool their resources and sell themselves off as a group or as contract workers. The wining bid would assume responsibility for annual “salary and benefits in the high six figures.”

“In July, they closed the East Coast office and in January they shut down the West Coast office. We work well together, but none of us have found permanent employment since then, so I thought I’d try something creative,” said Schlesinger.

The group includes four people in San Francisco, including executive editor Rich Castagna, an executive producer and three senior producers; as well as nine staff members in the Boston area including managing editors, a senior content management developer and Schlesinger.

“There is no animosity towards CNET,” Schlesinger said. “They made their business decision and that is all in the past. If any of us will be picked up, it will lead to income. And if your organization only needs employees in San Francisco, those of us in Cambridge would understand.”

The layoffs at ZDNet Tech Update are part of a previously announced plan to cut “slightly less than 5 percent” of CNET’s work force of 1,600. The San Francisco-based company cut about 10 percent of its staff — around 190 workers — last summer.

CNET Vice president of Corporate Communications Martha Papalia said the ZDNet Tech Update site remains a “very popular” part of the company’s site and the company had “no plans to discontinue or sell off the property.”

But, as of mid-day, the listing was pulled from eBay as the three-day bid reached over $20 in bidding with more than 1,000 curious inquiries. Schlesinger said CNET general counsel Sharon Le Duy approached him asking that the posting be removed because it may be “misleading and confusing use of our [CNET’s] brand.

“There could also be confusion as to whether CNET Networks is involved in whatever you’re doing here,” Le Duy said to Schlesinger.

eBay spokesperson Kevin Pursglove said a person identifying themselves as a member of CNET’s corporate communications team contacted the San Jose, Calif.-based online auction site.

However, eBay said it ultimately pulled the item since it “requires additional fees outside the auction format, which circumvents eBay fees.”

Schlesinger has since reposted the bid.

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