The challenges of a media company is deciding what you are and what you want to be. And sometimes trying to get out of your own way can cause dysfunction among the different businesses. For the New York Times, it was their hope to augment their print media empire with the purchase of About.com, a digital content company. In the early years, About brought profit to NYT, but recently, it has likely been ignored as NYT focused on its own subscription and advertising issues.
Perhaps some of the blame for About has been "because of a change in the way Google handles search results. That change made About.com content harder to find." For me personally, I found the information from About either dated or so basic to not answer my questions. I most recently tried to find info on gas grills and sought out About for rankings, ratings, and general info on types of grills. I luckily found what I needed through other websites.
I remember when About first appeared. It was the leader in the how to website category, offering tons of information from its experts. But whether it was the change in Google search or the lack of new and updated information across categories, About.com became less relevant. With its planned sale to Answers.com, the New York Times can focus back to its core business and plans to turn themselves from the print leader to the online news leader. And with new management to lead it, About can return to a leadership position.