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Consumers Union is buying Consumerist.com from Gawker Media, according to the New York Times — meshing the non-profit publisher’s interest in expanding its reach to a younger online crowd with Nick Denton’s latest blog diet. (The Times, the average age of a print Consumer Reports sub is 60 and ConsumerReports.com is 50, while the snarkier Consumerist draws from the 18-49 crowd.) Kevin McKean, VP and editorial director of Consumers Union, told the NYT the blog would be part of a new division, that the current editors would stay on and that the style would stay the same. Two contributors who were laid off by Gawker will rejoin the site in January. No terms disclosed.
Consumerist went on the block in November, a few weeks after layoffs across Gawker Media, and Consumer Reports had been suggested as a possible — and natural — buyer. Denton told the paper he hopes to sell Hollywood gossip blog Defamer but plans to hold onto Gawker, Jezebel, Gizmodo and others. During the past year, Denton, who went public with his pessimism about online advertising ahead of the curve, sold Wonkette, Idolator and Gridskipper, then turned Valleywag from a standalone blog into one writer and a department on Gawker.com.
Update: From the release: The new non-profit is called Consumer Media LLC and the ownership change takes effect Jan. 1. The three-year-old site claims monthly traffic of 10 million-plus page views; for some reason, CU thinks it’s relevant to say that exceeds sites “operated by many daily newspapers.” Well, yes, and it’s lower than many, too. Neither detail says much about the site. (I understand this reference better after a chat with a CU spokesman — to them, it’s a sign of how fast the site was able to grow without a known brand like an existing newspaper. On the other hand, it was part of well-known web brand Gawker Media.)