Denton Slims Down Gawker Media: Gridskipper, Idolator, Wonkette Leave The Fold

Blog network Gawker Media is playing gin again, laying down three sites, while picking up none. In an internal email, via SAI, Gawker chief Nick Denton announced that music blog Idolator would be sold to Buzznet (which recently bought music blog Stereogum), travel blog Gridskipper would go to Lockhart Steele’s Curbed network (seems like a more natural fit plus Gawker Media is an investor) and Wonkette, one of the very first Gawker sites, would be taken over by editor Ken Layne, who founded, and will become part of Blogads’s political ad network. No word on sale prices.

Denton’s email isn’t exactly straightforward on the rationale: At one point he mentions that other companies would do a better job of selling ads for the sites, though he also mentions that the move is one of safety, given the state of the economy. As he notes, he said the same thing a couple years ago, the last time the company did a discard. Why not wait, at least till the election, to sell Wonkette? Denton: “Well, since the end of last year, we’ve been expecting a downturn. Scratch that: since the middle of 2006, when we sold off Screenhead, shuttered Sploid and declared we were ‘hunkering down,’ we’ve been waiting for the internet bubble to burst. No, really, this time. And, even if not, better safe than sorry; and better too early than too late.”

The latest moves come amid persistent debate — internal and external — about Gawker’s method of compensating its writers based on the pageviews they generate and a recent per-pageview cut at Valleywag.’s Felix Salmon has done the best job of analyzing the Blogonomics behind Gawker’s compensation scheme.