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Gawker Blog Network Reshuffles

Nick Denton has a fascinating post regarding a restructuring of the Gawker blog network – it’s called Battening down and in it Nick outlines some of the changes Gawker is making (ending two blogs and reshuffling staff on four others.

The reasons for the changes are five-fold:

  • Decreases in Advertising
  • Increases in Operational costs
  • Despite Cross Promotional Attempts traffic wasn’t sticking on some blogs
  • Difficulty in turning around a title (they are either hits or flops and the die is cast early on)
  • Desire to shake things up a little and get out of ‘comfortable habits’

The two blogs that are ending are up for sale (they are Sploid and Screenhead).

Also a number of bloggers are leaving Gawker, others are reshuffling to new positions and a a few new bloggers are joining to head up and write for different blogs.

It’ll be interesting to see what impact the reshuffle has on the Gawker empire.

Update: The NYT has an article on the reshuffle also.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. The NY Times story you link to I think brings up a very valid quote attributed to Denton;

    “Sites need to be well-managed and well-designed and even then it is harder and harder to launch a site. The world does not need more blogs,” adding that if you count all the pages on MySpace, “there is approximately one reader for every blog out there.”

    An existing (and popular) blog network allows new blogs get an artificial “leg-up” that independent blogs are unable to avail themselves to — while the leg-up’s upside is obvious, the down-side is it can be a rather expensive way to find out something won’t reach critical mass…

    “The world does not need more blogs” — now that’s a great t-shirt slogan

  2. Nick Denton’s spot on. Once you get beyond problogging, you hit problems with scale and start taking on the cost structures of mainstream media. That’s a whole new world.

    Like others, I’ve been thinking hard about this tipping point recently and the question distils down to: will the eventual returns equal the effort and costs required? If you have links into companies like AOL, as Jason Calacanis had, maybe it’s a good move. Otherwise … I don’t have the answer at this point.

  3. I feel that they should change their commenting poilicy and make it accessible to every visitor. Blogging is supposed to be the interactive platform where anyone can participate. Second thing is that They should also increase the salary of the bloggers. This way then can keep their experienced bloggers.

  4. Again my comment disappeared. I wish I could know the reason. I comment here almost daily and I am a registered user of ProBlogger too. This anti Spam software has something terrible.

  5. razib – sometimes your comments are going to moderation – please don’t take offense at this. It usually takes me just an hour or so to moderate them – have patience please.

  6. Oh great, I happened to like Sploid. Now where do I get the money to buy a blog?

  7. Their policies hurt them. The designs are all over the place. You can’t comment unless you are invited and it’s just recycled content. You can get the same videos and news articles on better sites with open commenting.

    They shouldn’t complain about stickiness when they almost shove new users out of their site themselves.

    And what kind of silliness is this: “The world does not need more blogs”. I think what he meant was that “the world does not need more blogs that pull articles from other sites and then don’t even allow comments”

  8. I think I know why Screenhead didn’t do well: it was that bizarre off-putting graphic they use at the top of the page. Seriously, I don’t know if that content is great or not, because I can’t visit that site without getting freaked out.

  9. Nick Aziz says: 07/04/2006 at 4:38 am

    Too often blog networks think just because they have one successful site that other ones will come automatically. Even if you look at WIN’s Bloggingstocks, the traffic is not impressive at all. Nor is AutoblogGreen. Nor are the dozens of other random little sites they have.

    Denton is a smart man and he has always kept his network fairly tight. His approach has been to go after “big fish”, and this restruturing reflects that.

    The problem with Screenhead and Sploid was a lack of focus. It just looks like a bunch of random crap strewn together. The whole Gawker approach is also a little odd, if you ask me. I’d bet they’d have a lot more readers if their sites were written and designed normally — but instead their whole concept has been built around wacky writing, so i guess that’s what they’re stuck with now.

    But back to the issue of blog networks and succesful sites — blog networks are a GREAT way to fund and promote new sites. You can have huge sucess if you do it right. But it all comes down to being GOOD. A site has to be good in its own right or it won’t take off. If you have a great site and you promote it with a big network, it will get huge. If you have a lame site, no network — not even plugging on the front page of AOL — will make up for that.

  10. Nick Aziz says: 07/04/2006 at 4:42 am

    I think Denton has realized he needs to stick to what he does best. Perhaps the gawker model is not applicable to all topics.

  11. After checking out the two blogs for sale, I can’t say I was impressed. They look like those websites that will pretty much post anything for attention. There was no real substantial content, and I really don’t see the benefit of visiting those blogs would have on a reader (unless you find those things humorous, I guess).

    I don’t want to be a “stick in the mud” but a blog should inform the reader about a particular subject or issue – not post gross pictures just for shock value.

    When I update my blog, I try to give my readers something they can take away with them long after closing their internet browser.

  12. Michael Hampton: Dude, we do what we can do. Thank you for liking our site.

    Brad: Dude, we are a tabloid news site. Of course we post stuff that our readers might want to read. What do you want us to do, post tax tables or charts?

    And who are these people typing stuff on this site?

  13. “The World does not need more blogs”.

    I have to completely disagree with this. Great blogs are always welcome. There are great bogs that add a lot of value to you and there are dozens of millons that don’t add any value at all. For the ones that don’t add much value, they better be done for reasons other than bringing in money, otherwise they will eventually flop.

    Individual blogs (professional or not) will fail or suceed and that does not mean the end of blogging is anywhere near. The blogosphere will not stop growing because somebody is on a bad mood. Even if that somebody is supposed to be a blogging king.

    Just as a reference, I don’t blog professionally, but I love Darren’s stuff.

  14. Am I the only one who’s a little shocked that Gizmodo is their lowest-traffic site and Valleywag is their highest?

    Or maybe I’m reading the graph wrong…

  15. Wait. Yes, I am reading the graph wrong. :p

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