October 22 was a curious day at QueerSighted, the LGBT Web site launched by AOL with much fanfare last February. In addition to the usual fun stuff regular visitors had come to expect -- viral video clips, “Aberzombie” hotness, and gay personals -- there was an unexpected post on the site’s blog by managing editor Kenneth Hill, bidding his readers adieu.
“This will be my final post on QueerSighted, so I want to say farewell,” it read. “I’m not yet sure where you can find me next, but meanwhile you can keep up with me on my MySpace page. Until I have a new gig to tell you about, I’ll use that to talk about the new-new stuff I want friends (you) to know about.”
Several days later, another post, this time from the “AOL community editorial team,” cryptically promised “changes” at the site, and then on November 1 regular blogger Susan Norfleet posted her own goodbye. Five days later all QueerSighted freelancers, including bloggers, had been notified that their services were no longer needed. While all of this was happening, the G-Sides gay music microsite was dropped from AOL’s main site as well.
“They are completely shutting down QueerSighted and all of their live LGBT pages,” says Richard Rothstein, a New York City–based writer and former contributor to the site’s blog, who was let go with everyone else. “There will be some static material remaining -- or so they’ve told us -- but very minor.”
What was happening at QueerSighted, which, according to one insider, had been boasting 3 million page views a month?