Blogonomics: Gawker Media

A surprising number of people seem to care that there’s a bunch of turnover

going on at Gawker: the

latest departures have made both the Observer

and the NYT

today. That very fact proves Gawker’s continuing media-goldfish-bowl relevance:

it’s unthinkable that the equivalent news would ever get this kind of coverage

were editors to have left any of the other thirteen Gawker Media blogs, despite

the fact that Gawker gets just 6.6% of all Gawker Media’s pageviews in a good



There are two competing stories about the Gawker departures, only one of which

is being told. The first, which is true, is that working for Gawker can be a


experience. But there’s a second story, which is also true. Gawker boss

Nick Denton has never made any secret of the fact that he lives for growth in

pageviews. When a site has growing pageviews, everybody working for that site

tends to be very happy. When a site has stagnating pageviews, people working

for that site tend to be rather unhappy. And in November, Gawker’s 8,993,124

pageviews represented the site’s worst showing of the year.

So now Gawker’s looking

for new blood, and especially someone who can turn the franchise around.

"This change of the guard does give us the opportunity to accelerate the

transformation of Gawker from cute blog to fully-fledged news site," Denton

told the NYT, and that makes sense, because the old strategy of accelerating

pageviews by concentrating on the social-media aspects of commenting only served

to turn Gawker into an increasingly-hermetic club with a steadily declining

number of unique visitors.

On the other hand, if the transformation into a news site doesn’t work –

and by work, I mean result in increased pageviews – the new editor might

not last long. It’s possible to stay within the Gawker fold while overseeing

declining traffic, as Mark Lisanti has proved at Defamer.

But it’s a bit like being the CEO of a company with a steadily-falling share

price. Sooner or later, you’re likely to find yourself wanting to move on to

new opportunities.

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