|Fate||Filed for United States Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection|
|Nick Denton (Publisher)
John Cook (Executive Editor)
Elizabeth Spiers (Gawker.com)
Gina Trapani (Lifehacker)
Tommy Craggs (Deadspin)
Stephen Totilo (Kotaku)
Jessica Coen (Jezebel)
Mike Spinelli (Jalopnik)
Charlie Jane Anders (Gizmodo)
|Revenue||US$ 45 million (2014)|
|Subsidiaries||Gawker.com, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, and Jezebel|
Gawker Media is an online media company and blog network, founded and owned by Nick Denton and based in New York City. Incorporated in the Cayman Islands, as of 2012, it is the parent company for seven different weblogs and many subsites under them: Gawker.com, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, and Jezebel. All Gawker articles are licensed on a Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial license. In 2016, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
- 1 Ownership, finances and traffic
- 2 History
- 3 List of Gawker Media blogs
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Ownership, finances and traffic
While Denton does not go into detail over Gawker Media's finances, he has downplayed the profit potential of blogs, 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.
In an article 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, and possibly over $2 million a year. Combined with low operating costs—mostly web hosting fees and writer salaries—Denton was believed to be turning a healthy profit by 2006. In 2015, Gawker Media LLC released its audited revenue for the past five years. In 2010, its revenue was $20 million and operating income of $2.6 million. Gawker Media's revenues have steadily increased and its audited revenue for 2014 was $45 million with $6.5 million operating income. Business Insider has valued the company at $250 million based upon its 2014 revenue. Denton stated that in 2015 he planned to raise $15 million in debt from various banks so as not to dilute his equitable stake in the company by accepting investments from venture capital firms.
In June 2016, Gawker Media revealed its corporate finances in a motion for a stay of execution of judgment pending appeal and accompanying affidavits filed in the Bollea v. Gawker case in Florida state court. In the filings, the company stated that it could not afford to pay the $140.1 million judgment or the $50 million appeal bond. The company's balance sheet at the time reflected total assets of $33.8 million ($5.3 million cash, $11.9 million accounts receivable, $12.5 million fixed assets), total current liabilities of $27.7 million; and total long-term liabilities of $22.8 million. A bond broker stated in an affidavit that the company's book value was $10 million.
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. That year, he created a new base of operations in Nolita in Manhattan.
On April 14, 2008, Gawker.com announced that Gawker Media had sold three sites: Idolator, Gridskipper, and Wonkette. 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). 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 advertising revenue as opposed to increasing traffic. He explained these decisions by referring to the 2008 credit crisis, but stated that the company was still profitable. In September 2008, Gawker reported 274 million pageviews.
On February 22, 2009, Gawker announced that Defamer.com would fold into Gawker.com.
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 stating "Sorry About That. Our ad sales team fell for a malware scam. Sorry if it crashed your computer". Gawker shared the correspondence between the scammers and Gawker via Business Insider.
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.
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. 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". Gawker was found to be using DES-based crypt(3) password hashes with 12 bits of salt. 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. Followers of Twitter accounts set up with the same email and password were spammed with advertisements. 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.
2011 redesign and traffic loss
As part of a planned overhaul of all Gawker Media sites, on 1 February 2011, some Gawker sites underwent a major design change as part of the larger roll-out. Most notable was the absence of heretofore present Twitter and StumbleUpon sharing buttons. Nick Denton explained that Facebook had been by far the biggest contributor to the sites' traffic and that the other buttons cluttered the interface. This decision lasted three weeks, after which the buttons were reinstated, and more added.
On 7 February 2011, the redesign was rolled out to the remainder of the Gawker sites. The launch was troubled due to server issues. Kotaku.com and io9.com failed to load, displaying links, but no main content, and opening different posts in different tabs did not work, either. The new look emphasised images and de-emphasised the reverse chronological ordering of posts that was typical of blogs. The biggest change was the two-panel layout, consisting of one big story, and a list of headlines on the right. This was seen as an effort to increase the engagement of site visitors, by making the user experience more like that of television. The site redesign also allowed for users to create their own discussion pages, on Gawker's Kinja. Many commenters largely disliked the new design, which was in part attributed to lack of familiarity.
Rex Sorgatz, designer of Mediaite and CMO of Vyou, issued a bet that the redesigns would fail to bring in traffic, and Nick Denton took him up on it. The measure was the number of page views by October recorded on Quantcast. Page views after the redesign declined significantly—Gawker's sites had an 80% decrease in overall traffic immediately after the change and a 50% decrease over two weeks—with many users either leaving the site or viewing international versions of the site, which hadn't switched to the new layout. On 28 February 2011, faced with declining traffic, Gawker sites allowed for visitors to choose between the new design and the old design for viewing the sites. Sorgatz was eventually determined to be the winner of the bet, as at the end of September, 2011, Gawker had only 500 million monthly views, not the 510 million it had had prior to the redesign. However, on 5 October 2011, site traffic returned to its pre-redesign numbers, and as of February 2012, site traffic had increased by 10 million over the previous year, according to Quantcast. As of March 23, 2012, commenting on any Gawker site required signing in with a Twitter, Facebook, or Google account.
Leaked Quentin Tarantino script
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 six trusted colleagues, including Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen. Due to the spreading of his script, Tarantino told the media that he would not 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."
On 22 June 2013, unpaid interns brought a Fair Labor Standards Act action against Gawker Media and founder Nick Denton. As plaintiffs, the interns claimed that their work at sites io9.com, Kotaku.com, Lifehacker.com, and Gawker.TV was "central to Gawker’s business model as an Internet publisher," and that Gawker’s failure to pay them minimum wage for their work therefore violated the FLSA and state labor laws. Although some interns had been paid, the court granted conditional certification of the collective action.
In October 2014, a federal judge ruled that notices could be sent to unpaid interns throughout the company who could potentially want to join the lawsuit. A federal judge later found that the claims of interns who joined the suit as plaintiffs were outside the statute of limitations.
On March 29, 2016, a federal judge ruled in favor of Gawker, noting that the plaintiff had correctly been deemed an intern instead of an employee and was the primary beneficiary of his relationship with Gawker Media.
In June 2015, Gawker editorial staff voted to unionize. Employees joined the Writers Guild of America, East. Approximately three-fourths of employees eligible to vote voted in favor of the decision. Gawker staff announced the vote on May 28, 2015.
Condé Nast executive prostitution claims
In July 2015, Gawker staff writer Jordan Sargent published an article attempting to "out" a married executive at Condé Nast, over a gay porn star’s alleged text correspondence. The post sparked heavy criticism for outing the executive, both internally and from outsiders. Denton removed the story the next day, after Gawker Media's managing partnership voted 4-2 to remove the post—marking the first time the website had "removed a significant news story for any reason other than factual error or legal settlement."
Gawker's Executive Editor and Editor-in-Chief resigned after the story was dropped from Gawker's website.
Hulk Hogan sex tape
On October 4, 2012, Daulerio posted a short clip of Hulk Hogan and Heather Clem, the estranged wife of radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge having sex. Hogan (who went by his real name, Terry Gene Bollea, during the trial) sent Gawker a cease-and-desist order to take the video down, but Denton refused. Denton cited the First Amendment and argued the accompanying commentary had news value. Judge Pamela Campbell issued an injunction ordering Gawker to take down the clip. In April 2013, Gawker wrote, "A judge told us to take down our Hulk Hogan sex tape post. We won't." It also stated that "we are refusing to comply" with the order of the circuit court judge. Hogan filed a lawsuit against Gawker and Denton for violating his privacy, asking for $100 million in damages.
During the trial AJ Daulerio, a former Gawker editor, told the court that there would be a public interest in promoting child pornography of the children of celebrities if they were over the age of four. Daulerio later told the court he was being flippant about child pornography.
In January 2016, Gawker Media received its first outside investment by selling a minority stake to Columbus Nova Technology Partners. Denton stated that the deal was reached in part to bolster its financial position in response to the Hogan case. On March 18, 2016, the jury awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million in compensatory damages. On March 21, the jury awarded Hogan an additional $25 million in punitive damages, including $10 million from Denton personally. Denton said the company would appeal the verdict. On April 5, Gawker began the appeal process.
Teressa Thomas lawsuit
Following the Hulk Hogan lawsuit, Teressa Thomas, a former employee at Yahoo!, filed a lawsuit against Gawker alleging the site said she was dating her boss, and therefore invaded her privacy and defamed her.
2016 Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
On June 10, 2016 Gawker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and reports suggested that the company may be negotiating with potential buyers, including a stalking horse offer from Ziff Davis for "under $100 million".
List of Gawker Media blogs
- Deadspin – Sports
- Gawker.com – New York City media and gossip, tabloid
- Gizmodo – Gadget and technology lifestyle
- Jalopnik – Cars and automotive culture
- Jezebel – Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for women
- Kotaku – Video games and East Asian pop culture
- Lifehacker – Productivity tips
- Gizmodo en Espanol – Hispanic
- Cink – Hungarian
- Gizmodo Australia – Gadgets and technology
- Kotaku Australia – Games and gaming industry coverage
- Lifehacker Australia – Tips, tricks, tutorials, hacks, downloads and guides
Blogs previously operated by Gawker Media
- Sploid – Shut down in 2006
- Screenhead – Shut down in 2006
- Idolator – Sold to Buzz Media in 2008
- Wonkette – Sold to its managing editor Ken Layne in 2008
- Gridskipper – Sold to Curbed in 2008
- Consumerist – Sold to Consumers Union in 2008
- Valleywag – Shut down in 2008
- Defamer – Shut down in 2009
- Fleshbot – Sold to in 2012 to Fleshbot's editor Lux Alptraum
- io9 – Merged into Gizmodo in 2015
- Sterne, Peter (January 28, 2015). "Gawker Media had $6.7 million profit on $45 million revenue in 2014". Politico. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- Gardner, Eric (February 19, 2014) "Gawker to Quentin Tarantino: We're Safely Based in the Cayman Islands", Hollywood Reporter. (Retrieved 3-5-2014.)
- "Using Gawker Media Content". Legal.Kinja.com. Gawker Media.
- "Gawker Media Chapter 11 Petition" (PDF). PacerMonitor. PacerMonitor. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Penenberg, Adam L. (September 22, 2005). "Can Bloggers Strike It Rich?". Wired.
- Denton, Nick (March 8, 2005). "Nano Wars". NickDenton.org. Archived from the original on January 18, 2006.
- Thompson, Clive (February 20, 2006). "Blogs to Riches – The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom". New York Magazine.
- Carr, David. "A Blog Mogul Turns Bearish on Blogs". New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2006.
- Jay Yarow (July 2, 2015). "Gawker reports earnings!". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- Alyson Shontell. "Gawker Media Generated $45 Million In Net Revenue Last Year And It's Raising A $15 Million Round Of Debt". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- Peter Sterne, Gawker Media files for bankruptcy: Company files for Chapter 11 to protect assets from seizure by Hulk Hogan, Politico (June 10, 2016).
- McGrath, Ben (18 October 2010). "Search and Destroy: Nick Denton's blog empire". The New Yorker (Condé Nast): 50–61. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
- Calderone, Michael (April 14, 2008). "Breaking: Gawker Media selling Wonkette blog; spinning off three sites". Politico.com. Capitol News Company LLC.
- Owen Thomas: Valleywag cuts 60 percent of staff Valleywag, 3 October 2008
- "Consumers Union Buys Consumerist". Consumerist.com.
- Abramovitch, Seth (2009-02-22). "Defamer Folds Into Gawker; Editors to Pursue Careers in Bearded Hip-Hop". Gawker.com. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
- Popken, Ben (2009-10-27). "Gawker Duped By Malware Gang, Serves Up Infected Suzuki Ads". The Consumerist. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- Blodget, Henry (2009-10-26). "Gawker Scammed By Malware Crew Pretending To Be Suzuki". Business Insider. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- "Gawker EIC Fired in Cityfile Acquisition". Gawker.com.
- "Gawker website Hacked by Gnosis ; Gnosis says they are not 4chan or Anonymous". TechShrimp. 2010-12-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- "Commenting Accounts Compromised — Change Your Passwords". Lifehacker. 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- "Brief Analysis of the Gawker Password Dump". Duo Security. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "Acai Berry spam attack connected with Gawker password hack, says Twitter | Naked Security". Nakedsecurity.sophos.com. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "Gnosis on Gawker Hack, Web Security". Geekosystem. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Salmon, Felix (2010-12-01). "The new Gawker Media". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Peterson, Latoya (2011-02-08). "How Gawker’s redesign subverts the scannable culture of the Internet it helped create". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- McCarthy, Caroline (2011-02-01). "Twitter buttons disappear from Gawker redesign". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Jeffries, Adrianne (2011-02-25). "gawker redesign Gawker’s Ban on ‘Shiny Bauble’ Share Buttons Lasted One Week". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Covert, James (2011-02-08). "Gawker Web redesign met with Bronx cheers". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Romenesko, Jim (2014-02-28). "Denton: Gawker’s redesign more bruising than it needed to be". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- LaCapria, Kim (2011-02-07). "Are you digging on the Gawker Media extreme makeover?".
- Mims, Christopher (2011-02-11). "Gawker.com's Redesign is the Future of Gawker--Period". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Ellis, Justin (2011-02-12). "Jalopnik redesign shows how Gawker Media plans to open up blogging to its readers". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Leach, Anna (2011-03-29). "Rage against the redesign". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Garber, Megan (2011-02-07). ""It just feels inevitable": Nick Denton on Gawker Media sites’ long-in-the-works new layout". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Observer Staff (2011-02-07). "Nick Denton Bets Cash Gawker Redesign Boosts Pageviews". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- "Gawker's Traffic Numbers Are Worse Than Anyone Anticipated – Nicholas Jackson". The Atlantic. 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Schonfeld, Erick (2011-02-17). "Gawker's Gulp Moment: Big Redesign Is Driving People Away". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- De Rosa, Anthony (2011-03-03). "The rise and fall of Gawker media". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- "Gawker.com Site Info". Alexa.com. 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Stableford, Dylan (2014-02-28). "Gawker Admits Redesign Mistakes, Rolls Out Fixes". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Alvarez, Alex (2011-03-01). "Nick Denton Admits Gawker’s Redesign Wasn’t All They’d Hoped It Be". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Davis, Noah (2011-10-05). "Nick Denton Loses Bet That The Gawker Redesign Wouldn't Hurt Traffic". Retrieved 2014-10-23.
- Olanoff, Drew (2012-02-02). "Remember that Gawker redesign? A year’s worth of data says it worked". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- "Transitioning Your Commenting Account: The FAQ". Lifehacker.com. 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "Quentin Tarantino sues Gawker over Hateful Eight script leak". 27 January 2014.
- Gettell, Oliver (January 22, 2014). "Quentin Tarnatino mothballs 'Hateful Eight' after script leak". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- Gardner, Eriq (27 January 2014). "Quentin Tarantino Suing Gawker Over Leaked 'Hateful Eight' Script (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Shotwell, James (27 January 2014). "Quentin Tarantino Suing Gawker for Sharing Leaked 'Hateful Eight' Script". Under the Gun Review. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- O'Connell, Sean (27 January 2014). "Quentin Tarantino Sues Gawker Over The Hateful Eight Script Leak". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Calder, Rich (2013-06-22). "‘Interns’ suing Gawker". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Smythe, Christie (2013-06-22). "Gawker’s Unpaid Interns Sue After Fox Searchlight Ruling". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Gardner, Eriq. "Gawker Hit With Class Action Lawsuit by Former Interns". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Smith, Allen (2014-08-20). "Gawker Faces Collective Action by Unpaid Interns". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- The HR Specialist: New York Employment Law (2014-10-19). "Gawker is latest target of unpaid intern class action". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
- Gardner, Eriq (March 30, 2016). "Gawker Beats Lawsuit Over Unpaid Internships". Hollywoodreporter.com.
- Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara (4 June 2015). "Gawker Votes to Form Union". Observer. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Naylor, Brian (4 June 2015). "In A First For Online Media, Gawker Writers Join Union". NPR. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Gawker Media Staff (28 May 2015). "How We're Voting on the Union, and Why". Gawker. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Weinstein, Adam (2015-07-17). "Goodbye to All That Gawking". Adam Weinstein. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
- Gawker Media Editorial Staff (2015-07-17). "A Statement From the Gawker Media Editorial Staff". Gawker. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
- "Gawker apologizes, removes article on CFO". USA Today. 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- "Gawker retreats and deletes controversial story". CNN. 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- Grove, Lloyd (2016-03-25). "Gawker’s Season of Fear and Loathing". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
- Daulerio, A. J. (4 October 2012). "Even for a Minute, Watching Hulk Hogan Have Sex in a Canopy Bed is Not Safe For Work but Watch it Anyway". Gawker. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- Georgantopulos, Mary Ann (2015-07-15). ""The Biggest Mistake Of My Life": Court Records Detail The Buildup To Hulk Hogan’s Lawsuit Against Gawker". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- Cook, John. "A Judge Told Us to Take Down Our Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Post. We Won't.". Gawker. Archived from the original on 28 April 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- "A judge told us to take down our Hulk Hogan sex tape post. We won't. gaw.kr/sOyoY6Z". Gawker via Twitter. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Mahler, Jonathan (2015-06-12). "Gawker’s Moment of Truth". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- Amanda Holpuch. "Former Gawker editor: I wouldn't publish the sex tape of a four-year-old". the Guardian.
- "Ex-Gawker Editor Backs Off Testimony in Hulk Hogan Case". The New York Times. 15 March 2016.
- Mathew Ingram (2016-01-20). "Gawker Gets its First Outside Investment Ever, From a Russian Oligarch". Fortune. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- Mullin, Joe (18 March 2016). "$115 million verdict in Hulk Hogan sex-tape lawsuit could wipe out Gawker". Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- "Gawker hit with additional $25m in damages over Hulk Hogan lawsuit". The Guardian. 21 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- "Jury awards Hulk Hogan $115 million as Gawker looks to appeal". capitalnewyork.com. POLITICO.
- Steigrad, Alexandra (2016-05-04). "Gawker Seeks New Trial Against Hulk Hogan, Asks Courts to Relieve Nick Denton of Punitive Damages". WWD.com. Fairchild Publishing, LLC.
- Wagner, Jayce (28 March 2016). "Portland Woman Sues Gawker for Defamation". Willamette Week. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
- "Besieged Gawker Media files for bankruptcy protection". CNBC.com. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- Ember, Sydney (2016-06-10). "Gawker, Filing for Bankruptcy After Hulk Hogan Suit, Is for Sale". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
- Clifford, Stephanie (2008-12-31). "Consumers Union to Buy Gawker Blog Consumerist". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- McCarthy, Caroline (2008-11-13). "End of a snarky era: Gawker shuts down Valleywag". Cnet.com. CBS Interactive Inc.
- Salmon, Felix (2012-02-17). "Gawker Media jettisons its porn blog". Blogs.reuters.com. Reuters.com.
- Official website
- Tom Zeller, Jr.. "A Blog Revolution? Get a Grip", New York Times, May 8, 2005 (registration required)
- Vanessa Grigoriadis, "Everybody Sucks: Gawker and the rage of the creative underclass, New York magazine, October 22, 2007