Hotel-rating site Oyster Hotel Reviews said when it launched in June that one of its goals was to scoop up veteran journalists who were laid off and have them anonymously stay in hotels and critique them. But its shell is cracking, as the company laid off 17 employees Wednesday, including 11 reporters, ValleyWag reported.
Oyster hired veterans of publications including The New York Times, Money, Fast Company, The Village Voice and Rolling Stone, which, it claimed, gave it an advantage over user-submitted sites such as TripAdvisor, according to ValleyWag.
Tipsters told ValleyWag only four reporters remain, adding that the company sent eight non-editorial staffers on an all-expenses trip to Jamaica last month, calling it a gift in lieu of bonuses, and it bought all staffers free lunches every day until late October.
Oyster co-founder Elie Seidman claimed that the site was simply limiting its coverage area.