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We hear that writers for CrunchGear, the gadgets blog run by TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington, have had their pay cut by more than half, from $25 a post to $12 $3,000 a month to $1,500. One wonders: Has Arrington simply found that he can get away with paying bloggers less? Or, in cutting his writers' wages, is he tacitly admitting that his efforts to expand his empire — from the niche of covering Web startups to the more popular subjects of cell phones and digital cameras — haven't been successful? Update: We also hear a writer was fired from MobileCrunch, told that the wireless-focused site was on the verge of getting shut down. And now we've heard from CrunchGear and MobileCrunch editor John Biggs. His comments, after the jump.

The big news, Biggs says, is that TechCrunch is giving CrunchGear a dedicated ad sales force and, for the first time, a budget. He's put some writers "on hiatus" until the site's salespeople ramp up, keeping a team of five writers, whom he's now paying on a flat monthly fee, instead of the previous scheme of paying by the post. He's not sure how my source got the impression that his pay was being cut. As for MobileCrunch, he says the site will continue, but he's trying to find the right writer for the topic. (A disclosure: Gawker Media, the publisher of Valleywag, also runs Gizmodo, a competitor to CrunchGear. Biggs is a former Gizmodo editor.)