In a very amiable dialogue about the nature of “internet success,” Gawker founder Nick Denton told Reuters’ finance blogger Felix Salmon that revenues were expected to be flat this year. Though Salmon floated a number (“It’s about $2 million a month, right?”) Denton wouldn’t budge on amounts (“He’s been trying to get that out of me for years…”).
The two also discussed the Gawker redesign, which was Denton’s way of saying that the blog model is pretty much dead. Salmon disputed that notion. During the session, at the paidContent 2011 conference, Denton couldn’t resist reading an excerpt of something Salmon had written.
Denton: “‘Gawker jumped the shark today…’ — that was written back in 2005 by Felix Salmon.”
Salmon: “Well, to be fair to myself, it hasn’t been the same since then, has it?”
Denton: “One of the smarter pieces you wrote was about the end of micro-publishing. I recommend that people read it. We all believed we could reach small audiences and advertisers would pay for that. But it did not pan out. The internet is mass media. Most of the business we get comes from the agencies, major marketers.”
The talk then turned to Gawker’s competition. Denton was none too shy about sizing them up. He again expressed disappointment that The Huffington Post decided to sell to AOL (NYSE: AOL) instead of continuing to go it alone.
“Arianna Huffington is opportunistic and I mean that in the best way,” Denton said. “They should have gone all the way and become the liberal Fox News. They could have bought MSNBC (NSDQ: CMCSA). As for AOL, well, they haven’t killed anything they bought. The AOL audience skews female audience. They should have bolstered that with magazine titles. Huffington says they’re not ‘lefty’ anymore — but if not, then what’s their purpose? TechCrunch, in my mind, was a prestige buy, so Tim could show it around to his buddies in Silicon Valley.”