Jezebel, a sharp and influential feminist voice during the peak of the blogosphere era, will be ceasing operations.

NEW YORK (AP) — Jezebel, the sharp-edged feminist website that found an impassioned and devoted following at the height of the blogosphere era but ended up struggling with its business model, is shutting down after 16 years, its parent company announced Thursday.

The media industry is facing challenges due to a decline in digital advertising, leading to the closure of many websites with a focus on gender. Bitch Media, a platform with a print magazine, website, and podcast, shut down after 25 years due to financial concerns. The Washington Post also merged its publication, The Lily, which focused on gender and identity issues, with its main website last year.

G/O Media announced that 23 employees, including the team at Jezebel, would lose their jobs due to a restructuring plan aimed at managing financial challenges and a challenging digital advertising landscape. The company, based in New York, also disclosed that G/O Media’s editorial director, Merrill Brown, will be leaving.

In 2007, Gawker Media launched Jezebel, which quickly became a prominent platform for feminist discussion. This was years before #Metoo became widespread and brought topics of gender and power to the forefront of media. Jezebel provided a refreshing alternative to traditional women’s magazines, offering sharp commentary on gender issues and coverage of popular culture.

According to Kate Cox, program director for Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Media, the website was attractive to readers due to its blend of style and informative news and commentary. While it covered topics such as abortion, it gained the most attention for its critiques of celebrity culture and the fashion industry, contributing to the widespread discussion of issues like “body shaming” and “rape culture.”

Cox described the content as unique and never seen before. The combination of popular culture and clever writing made it a must-read every day. It broke away from being solely focused on women’s issues and instead highlighted the realistic experiences of women. It portrayed both the lively and challenging aspects of their lives, capturing the spirited energy of the women Cox knew at the time.

Anna Holmes, the original editor-in-chief of Jezebel, shared in a recent New Yorker article that starting the website was a unique chance to establish a women-focused media platform during a time when she had lost faith in the current state of such media in America.

Holmes stated that she desired to incorporate cleverness, intelligence, and frustration in order to offer women, who may have been conditioned to view “feminism” negatively or as something to stay away from, with a framework for analyzing gender and race that was both approachable and enjoyable.

She also pondered on how Jezebel’s interaction with social media caused a merging of Jezebel’s content and the opinions of its loyal followers.

She stated, “I view Jezebel as a spark in an ongoing conversation about gender politics, rather than the downfall of the digital-media era.”

Cox stated that the downfall of Jezebel and similar feminist publications is primarily due to the difficulty of establishing a profitable financial structure for online media platforms, particularly those with a mission-driven focus. This does not necessarily indicate a decrease in demand for stories centered around gender. In fact, Cox pointed out that coverage on topics such as the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has only increased in popularity.

The CEO of G/0 Media, Jim Spanfeller, announced in a company memo that he has made the tough decision to temporarily stop publishing Jezebel due to an unsuccessful attempt to find a buyer for the website. Spanfeller explained that the search was initiated because it became apparent that the website’s target audience and the company’s overall business model did not align.

Cox stated that the statement alluded to challenges in attracting advertisers to websites such as Jezebel. While these sites have a dedicated audience, their controversial content may deter mainstream advertisers. She highlighted “The 19th,” a recently established nonprofit newsroom focused on gender, as a potential successful model due to its combination of membership, philanthropy, and corporate sponsorship.

The Jezebel staff attributed the shutdown to the parent company’s lack of strategic and commercial competence, calling out its leadership for not adapting a business model that aligned better with Jezebel’s goals and target audience.

The writers, represented by WGA East, issued a statement highlighting the shortcomings of the ad-based media model. They emphasized that the closure of Jezebel serves as a reminder of how concerns about preserving a brand’s image can hinder the monetization of important and timely stories.

In 2019, Jezebel joined the G/0 Media group along with Gizmodo, Quartz, the Onion, and the Root. The decision to shut down Jezebel comes after a history of conflicts with G/0 leadership.

Laura Bassett, the temporary leader of Jezebel, stepped down in August and publicly criticized G/O for not treating her team with respect. The current editor-in-chief, Lauren Tousignant, expressed her disappointment and plans to share more thoughts about the shutdown on X (previously known as Twitter) on Thursday.

Rich Juzwiak, a senior writer for Jezebel, said he enjoyed the freedom that came with writing for Jezebel, where he was encouraged to follow his instincts. But he said there was an increasing sense that the site and the parent company had misaligned priorities.

“I do not believe that the closure was unavoidable,” Juzwiak commented. “It seemed like the buyer didn’t even understand what they were purchasing.”