Nick Denton announced that Gawker will be selling two sites from it’s fifteen site blog network. Sploid and Screenhead are both out having not made the cut. In Nick’s words, there are a number of reasons for this sudden change;
1. advertising is a fickle thing. . . Better to sober up now, before the end of the party. Better to switch to water now, there’s money to be made while everyone gets silly.
2. operational costs are increasing. For editorial talent, we now pay within the range of mainstream media. They’re onto me, people no longer thank me for hiring them to work for slave wages.
3. it’s easy enough to start a site; increasingly tough to attract attention. One way to boost circulation is to write about how hard it is to boost circulation.
4. it’s hard to turn around a site. They’re either hits or flops, As much as some think it’s a brand new world, blogs still abide by the business laws of old school media.
5. even successful sites can settle into comfortable habits. . .We want always to be open to new editorial talent. Nothing like a reorg to put the fear of God back into your staff and a cap on those pesky expenses.
This could have been a more private re-shuffling of the deck but instead, it’s been played out all over the blogosphere. Ever in love with the contrarian, the reorg story has been picked up smartly by mainstream media so they can play it out over the long (eg. slow news) weekend. Nick is a really smart player. He has simultaneously told the market that it’s time to take some chips off the table while also tipping his hand to show how much he’s still worth. All the while, he’ll be putting his house in order for the long run.