Thursday evening GayWired.com Editor-At-Large Duane Wells sent an e-mail to their writers to let them know the site "will be going on hiatus effective immediately." Visitors are now greeted with an error message and all the content has been removed.
GayWired.com is owned by Regent Media, the parent company of The Advocate, Out Traveler, and Allyson Publishing.
SheWired.com has also been removed; the site currently throws a virus/malware warning and attempts to re-direct you to another site.* Over twenty other former GayWired affiliated sites also flag content warnings or redirect to TLA Video.
Financial concerns seem to be the downfall of the LGBT site. Many watchers expected the site to be folded into Advocate.com after Regent's purchase of the web properties; the closings would allow the company to focus on their flagship site while removing some competition.
In two e-mails leaked to Bilerico Project, however, it looks as if the site simply wasn't making enough money to cover operations. In one, Wells attempts to set financial records straight and promises to pay past due invoices from as far back as April. The other e-mail tells contributors that the site is being unplugged and promises payment for past invoices.
A request for comment sent to Regent Media was not returned. E-mails after the fold along with a list of sites affected.
*Updated at the end
From: Duane Wells
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 1:41 PM
Subject: Outstanding Invoices...Urgent
First, let me thank all of you for your patience regarding your outstanding invoices. After speaking with many of you personally, I am pretty much aware of where things stand with all of your invoices and what has and has not been paid. However because I am doing a master list of GayWired invoices dating back to April for accounting, I need to double check that accounting has all of your invoices on file by Wednesday so that I can be certain they are in the system and signed off on.
With that in mind, I need each of you to either call me or resend all of your outstanding invoices to me so that I can verify that the master document I have matches my own records and those of accounting. I don't want there to be any further cause for delay so it is important that you get back to me ASAP.
Please know that I am moving this process along as fast as I can and hope that this will be resolved shortly.
From: Duane Wells
Date: Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 7:18 PM
I am writing to let you all know that GayWired.com will be going on hiatus effective immediately. Please hold any further submissions until further notice.
I will be in touch with those of you who have made submissions since August 1 to discuss your invoices for the work you've done this month. For the rest of you, I have been told that your outstanding invoices have been or are in the process of being paid and that several checks have been cut today.
As soon as I have any further information I'll be sure to let you all know. Some of you I will be calling individually but if any of you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Also if any of you have pitches that were intended for GayWired that might be suitable for Advocate.com or OutTraveler.com, please send those along to me for review as well.
Thank you all for your patience and hard work.
All the best,
GayWired Media Portals
(Left without links since the sites throw a malware/virus warning.)
Update: OutQNews reporter Aaron McQuade was able to get an answer from Regent Media.
Stephen Macias - communications director for the site's parent company Here! Media - told OutQ News that the decision has nothing to do with the economy - but with redundancy. He said "How many gay websites can you run before they start cannibalizing each other?" Macias also said contrary to speculation, sister site SheWired.com will not be going anywhere. It just happened to be hit by hackers the same day GayWired was taken down on purpose. Macias said that GayWired's content and writers will all find homes on other Here! websites, like Advocate, Out, and OutTraveler.
Macias said "You can only have so many outfits and wear them all."
I've corrected the above story to reflect that SheWired was being attacked by hackers.