Gawker Media

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Gawker Media
Gawker.jpg
Web address Gawker Media
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Blog network
Created by Nick Denton (Publisher)
John Cook (Gawker.com)
Gina Trapani (Lifehacker)
Tommy Craggs (Deadspin)
Stephen Totilo (Kotaku)
Jessica Coen (Jezebel)
Annalee Newitz (io9)
Matt Hardigree (Jalopnik)
Joe Brown (Gizmodo)
Launched January 2003
Current status Active

Gawker Media is a Cayman Islands-incorporated[1] online media company and blog network, founded and owned by Nick Denton based in New York City. It is considered[2] to be one of the most visible and successful blog-oriented media companies.[citation needed] As of March 2012, it is the parent company for eight different weblogs: Gawker.com, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, io9, Kotaku, Jalopnik, and Jezebel. All Gawker articles are licensed on a Creative Commons attribution-NonCommercial license. [3]

Revenue and traffic[edit]

While Denton does not go into detail over Gawker Media's finances, he has downplayed the profit potential of blogs[4], declaring that "[b]logs are likely to be better for readers than for capitalists. While I love the medium, I've always been skeptical about the value of blogs as businesses", on his personal site[5].

However, in the February 20, 2006 issue of New York Magazine, Jossip founder David Hauslaib estimated Gawker.com's annual advertising revenue to be at least $1 million two years ago, and possibly over $2 million a year.[6] Combined with low operating costs—mostly web hosting fees and writer salaries—Denton was already believed to be turning a healthy profit in 2006.[7] In 2009, the corporation was estimated to be worth $300 million, with $60 million in advertising revenues and more than $30 million in operating profit.[3]

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Gawker Media was originally incorporated in Budapest, Hungary, where a small company facility is still maintained. The company was headquartered at Nick Denton's personal residence in the New York neighborhood of SoHo, and it remained there until 2008 when a new base of operations was created in Nolita in Manhattan.[4]

Expansions and contractions[edit]

On April 14, 2008, Gawker.com announced that Gawker Media had sold three sites: Idolator, Gridskipper, and Wonkette. Denton explained the sale by saying, in a memo, "they each had their editorial successes; but someone else will have better luck selling the advertising than we did."[8]

In a fall 2008 memo Denton announced the layoff of "19 of our 133 editorial positions" at Valleywag, Consumerist, Fleshbot and other sites, and the hiring of 10 new employees for the most commercially successful sites—Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, and Gawker—and others which were deemed to promise similar commercial success (Jezebel, io9, Deadspin, and Jalopnik).[5] Denton also announced the suspension of a bonus payment scheme based on pageviews by which Gawker had paid $50,000 a month on the average to its staff, citing a need to generate actual advertising revenue as opposed to just increasing traffic. He explained these decisions by referring to the 2008 credit crisis, but stated that the company was still profitable.[5] In September 2008, Gawker reported 274 million pageviews.[5]

On November 12, 2008, Gawker announced that Valleywag would fold into Gawker.com. The Consumerist was sold to Consumers Union, who took over the site on January 1, 2009. [9]

On February 22, 2009, Gawker announced that Defamer.com would fold into Gawker.com.[6]

In October 2009, Gawker Media websites were infected with malware in the form of fake Suzuki advertisements. The exploits infected unprotected users with spyware and crashed infected computer's browsers. The network apologized by simply stating "Sorry About That. Our ad sales team fell for a malware scam. Sorry if it crashed your computer".[7] Gawker shared the correspondence between the scammers and Gawker via Business Insider.[8]

On February 15, 2010, Gawker announced it had acquired CityFile, an online directory of celebrities and media personalities. Gawker's Editor-in-Chief Gabriel Snyder announced that he was being replaced by CityFile editor Remy Stern.[10]

Sourcecode breach[edit]

On December 11, 2010, the Gawker group's 1.3 million commenter accounts and their entire website source code was released by a hacker group named Gnosis.[9][10] Gawker issued an advisory notice stating: "Our user databases appear to have been compromised. The passwords were encrypted. But simple ones may be vulnerable to a brute-force attack. You should change your Gawker password and on any other sites on which you've used the same passwords".[11] Gawker was found to be using DES-based crypt(3) password hashes with 12 bits of salt.[12] Security researchers found that password-cracking software "John the Ripper" was able to quickly crack over 50% of the passwords from those records with crackable password hashes.[12] Followers of Twitter accounts set up with the same email and password were spammed with advertisements.[13] The Gnosis group notes that with the source code to the Gawker content management system they obtained, it will be easier to develop new exploits.[14]

2011 redesign and traffic loss[edit]

On February 7, 2011, the Gawker sites underwent a major design change and were quickly met with significant backlash from users.[15] A beta run a week earlier on Io9 was also met with the same backlash.[16] Numerous bugs have been noted by users[17][18] which range from making the site unreadable, to unnavigable, to unusable, as well as a sizable increase of in-page pop-up ads covering articles, the removal of Gawker's "Fusion" Option, which allowed users to merge news feeds from multiple Gawker sites, and the increase in difficulty in reading older news posts. Numerous users have called for the old design to be reinstated or made accessible, at least until the new design is operational, having likened the redesign to the failure of New Coke.[15] Pageviews since the redesign have gone down significantly, with many users either leaving the site or viewing international versions of the site, which haven't switched to the new layout.[19][20] Gawker's sites saw an 80% decrease in overall traffic immediately after the change,[21] from 1.75 million average views a day to less than 250,000,[22] with a consistent decrease in overall traffic since, as of March 17, 2011,[19] which has caused Gawker to have a "massive" loss in ad revenue.[22] Founder Nick Denton has insisted that everyone should "Stay cool: we've been through worse backlashes", and it has been revealed that he has created a bet on the new design with New York-based digital media consultant Rex Sorgatz after Sorgatz wrote on his blog that the design would "fall flat", which would see the two check Quantcast on October 1, 2011, and that for every million pageviews/month over or under a total of 510 million starting from February 1, they would have to pay out $10, and that if the design is restored to the original format, Denton forfeits the bets and must pay out $1000. Some have already cried foul of the bet, as the site has tried to introduce a blog view that is a blend of the two formats, but this blend has been poorly received as well.[22] As of June 27, 2011, the total was approximately 220 million pageviews/month for the U.S. domain (as foreign domains have refused to switch to the new design and thus are not counted), and despite a traffic boost in June from E3 2011, the monthly page views were still 10–20 million below those from before the site redesign. By early October 2011, visits had only partially rebounded, and were still generating an average of 200,000 less hits than before the redesign.[23] Denton ended up losing the wager, as it was determined that the total pageviews was 500 million, 10 million short of the agreed number.[24]

As of October 24, 2011, a button in the shape of an eye was placed at the top right hand corner of the webpage, giving the reader the option to choose from three view options: Traditional (entire page scrolls), Two Panes (side bar scrolls independently), or Blog View (listing of stories by date).

As of March 23, 2012, commenting on any Gawker site requires signing in with a Twitter, Facebook, or Google account.[25]

Leaked script[edit]

In January 2014, Quentin Tarantino filed a copyright lawsuit against Gawker Media for distribution of his 146-page script for The Hateful Eight. He claimed to have given the script to one of six few trusted colleagues, including Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen.[26][27] Due to the spreading of his script, Tarantino told the media that he wouldn't continue with the movie. "Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s rights to make a buck," Tarantino said in his lawsuit. "This time they went too far. Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that Plaintiff’s screenplay may have been circulating in Hollywood without his permission, Gawker Media crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire Screenplay illegally."[28][29][30]

List of Gawker Media weblogs[edit]

Current[edit]

  • Cink – Hungarian
  • Deadspin – Sports
    • Screamer – Deadspin's soccer hub
    • The Concourse – Music, food, sports-related pop culture
  • Gawker.com – New York City media and gossip, tabloid
    • Valleywag – San Francisco, Silicon Valley and tech gossip
  • Gizmodo – Gadget and technology lifestyle
    • Sploid – News, futuristic ideas and tech
  • io9 – Science/Science Fiction
  • Jalopnik – Cars and automotive culture
    • Truck Yeah! – Trucks and truck culture
  • Jezebel – Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for women
  • Kotaku – Video games and East Asian pop culture
  • Lifehacker – Productivity tips

Licensed Australian weblogs[edit]

  • Gizmodo Australia – Gadgets and technology
  • Kotaku Australia – Games and gaming industry coverage
  • Lifehacker Australia – Tips, tricks, tutorials, hacks, downloads and guides

Weblogs formerly owned by Gawker[edit]

  • Cityfile
  • Consumerist – Consumer advocate: Now owned by Consumer Reports
  • Defamer – Hollywood news and gossip: Now a tag on Gawker
  • Fleshbot – Pornography: Now owned by editor Lux Alptraum
  • Gawker Artists – Contemporary/Rising Art Registry [11]
  • Gawker.TV – Television and online video
  • Gridskipper – Travel: Now owned by Curbed Network
  • Idolator – Music: Now owned by BuzzMedia
  • Oddjack – Gambling
  • Screenhead – Online video: Now unrelated film site
  • Sploid – News (Operational once again, as of early 2014)
  • Wonkette – Washington D.C. gossip and politics: Now independent

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gawker Media. Using Gawker Media Content
  2. ^ Penenberg, Adam L. "Can Bloggers Strike It Rich?" Wired. September 22, 2005.
  3. ^ Denton, Nick. "Nano Wars" March 8, 2005.[dead link]
  4. ^ Thompson, Clive. "Blogs to Riches – The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom" New York Magazine. February 20, 2006.
  5. ^ Carr, David. "A Blog Mogul Turns Bearish on Blogs", New York Times, July 3, 2006
  6. ^ Pareene, Alex. "Memo: Gawker Sells Three Sites" April 14, 2008.
  1. ^ Gardner, Eric (February 19, 2014) "Gawker to Quentin Tarantino: We're Safely Based in the Cayman Islands" Hollywood Reporter. (Retrieved 3-5-2014.)
  2. ^ Gawker Media is the Goldman Sachs of the Internet, The Awl, July 27, 2009
  3. ^ McIntyre, Douglas A. (2009-11-10). "The Twenty-Five Most Valuable Blogs In America". 24/7 Wall St. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  4. ^ McGrath, Ben (18 October 2010). "Search and Destroy: Nick Denton's blog empire". The New Yorker (Condé Nast): 50–61. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  5. ^ a b c Owen Thomas: Valleywag cuts 60 percent of staff Valleywag, 3 October 2008
  6. ^ "Defamer Folds Into Gawker; Editors to Pursue Careers in Bearded Hip-Hop". gawker.com. 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  7. ^ Popken, Ben (2009-10-27). "Gawker Duped By Malware Gang, Serves Up Infected Suzuki Ads". The Consumerist. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  8. ^ Blodget, Henry (2009-10-26). "Gawker Scammed By Malware Crew Pretending To Be Suzuki". Business Insider. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  9. ^ Techshrimp
  10. ^ "Gawker website Hacked by Gnosis ; Gnosis says they are not 4chan or Anonymous". TechShrimp. 2010-12-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  11. ^ "Commenting Accounts Compromised — Change Your Passwords". Lifehacker. 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  12. ^ a b "Brief Analysis of the Gawker Password Dump". Duo Security. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  13. ^ "Acai Berry spam attack connected with Gawker password hack, says Twitter | Naked Security". Nakedsecurity.sophos.com. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  14. ^ "Gnosis on Gawker Hack, Web Security". Geekosystem. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  15. ^ a b "This is the New Gizmodo". Gizmodo. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  16. ^ "Welcome to the New io9". Gizmodo. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ a b "Gawker.com Site Info". Alexa.com. 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  20. ^ http://gizmodo.com/#!redesign/forum
  21. ^ "Gawker's Traffic Numbers Are Worse Than Anyone Anticipated – Nicholas Jackson". The Atlantic. 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  22. ^ a b c "Gawker Media, Deadspin Redesign Is Apparently Killing Traffic". Obsessed With Sports. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  23. ^ "Gawker.com Traffic and Demographic Statistics by Quantcast". Quantcast.com. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  24. ^ Davis, Noah (October 5, 2011). "Nick Denton Loses Bet That The Gawker Redesign Wouldn't Hurt Traffic". Business Insider. 
  25. ^ "Transitioning Your Commenting Account: The FAQ". Lifehacker.com. 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  26. ^ Quentin Tarantino sues Gawker over Hateful Eight script leak - Arts & Entertainment - CBC News
  27. ^ Gettell, Oliver (January 22, 2014). "Quentin Tarnatino mothballs 'Hateful Eight' after script leak". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  28. ^ Gardner, Eriq (27 January 2014). "Quentin Tarantino Suing Gawker Over Leaked 'Hateful Eight' Script (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  29. ^ Shotwell, James (27 January 2014). "QUENTIN TARANTINO SUING GAWKER FOR SHARING LEAKED ‘HATEFUL EIGHT’ SCRIPT". Under the Gun Review. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  30. ^ O'Connell, Sean (27 January 2014). "Quentin Tarantino Sues Gawker Over The Hateful Eight Script Leak". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 

External links[edit]