Late last month, we reported that direct to consumer virtual goods sales were now accounting for at least half of Slide’s revenues, and that the company is working on its own payment platform. Today, GigaOm reports that the company has laid off several members of its sales staff. Levchin confirms that the company is refocusing on larger, custom integrations in the $500,000 range instead of lower-margin deals in the $30,000 to $50,000 range.
The changes reflect the difficulties Slide has had selling more “traditional” ad units inside their network of social applications. Nevertheless, the company still claims a monthly audience of over 150 million uniques across Facebook, MySpace, hi5, Orkut, and other social networks – reach that still puts it in a league with only a few other application developers.
While Slide will certainly be focusing on larger, more custom sponsored integrations across its ad network, I continue to think Slide’s virtual goods business and payment products are going to be a much more significant part of the company’s future than most expect. Slide’s executive team built, ran, and sold Paypal, so it’s hard to find a front office more expert in the dynamics of e-commerce, payments, and emerging web platforms.