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Police.gif Archive today-ico.png GAWKER.COM HE DED!
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Gawker Media is (was lol) an American blog network founded by Nick Denton, a cockmongling, turd-burgling Jew from hell. It comprises 13 or 14 different web sites, which try desperately to churn out snippy, “hip” remarks that will garner pageviews from middle-aged fats in Methtown, USA -- i.e., the only people who still consider Gawker relevant. Above even VICE media, Gawker is the most reviled "news" reporting outlet in existence presently and are only topped by Buzzfeed for the title of clickbait king. Aside from spending all their resources in publishing fluff articles they are prone to becoming obsessed with stories about how other pockets of the Internet are more important than them (GamerGate). All commentators must be a daily cum bucket for the mods and worship all that is spoken on the crap blogs, there is no trolling or lulz in comments EVAR (besides "Jezebel"). Obtaining +v requires a newborn for jew sacrifice and a thorough probing by large webmaster cocks. It's important to note this article is edited at least once a day by contributors to Gawker Media. You can help by reverting their edits, identifiable because they read like advertising copy written by faggot Brooklynites who were unable to land real jobs. If you're looking for a challenge, don't hesitate to drive the founder's daughter into a suicidal cutting rage as she is a tumblr user who will end her life at the drop of a reblog.

Anything published on Gawker can hardly be considered news and won't even be touched by the worst tabloid. Whenever you hear about Gawker it usually has something to do with some new scandal their inept staff has gotten themselves embroiled in, including: bribe, not paying their interns, waving their flaccid dicks at oncoming traffic, threatening their readers and getting the comment section at Jezebel spammed with rape porn.

If you're hiding your ad, what are they paying you for?

Contents

Gawker Journalistic Practices

See also: Gawker Dies 2015
Gawker blackmails people online
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Gawker is to journalism what fucking a toothless crack-whore for $2 and getting herpes and your wallet stolen is to sex.

Gawker has been known to stoop to lows that even the shittiest rag of a newspaper won't reduce itself to. While tabloid journalism seems to have hit rock-bottom, Gawker is always ready to plumb new depths of depravity and hypocrisy by doing things like bribing people, leaking peephole nudes and running borderline porn sites with one hand, all the while running the kind insane feminazi, social justice propaganda sites masquerading as news that call for castration of all men who leak nudes on the other.

All this while their hard-working writers and even editors are busy having verbal slapfights with people on twitter, when they aren't already too busy with getting sued for not paying their interns.

Giant Class-action Lawsuit by Unpaid Interns

In their latest fuck-up, Gawker is doing everything they can to try and hide the fact they are being sued by their unpaid interns, from their unpaid interns.

Recently, the courts ruled that the interns at Gawker, who were not getting paid, have a case against them. Gawker responded by telling the court that working for Gawker is payment in itself, and proceeded to do their best (and fail at) reducing to a minimum the ways in which they have to inform them.

This all despite the fact that Gawker constantly talking about themselves spearheading transparency and criticizing others for not doing the same. This is even more funny if you remember that Gawker has posted Archive today-ico.png article, Archive today-ico.png after article, Archive today-ico.png after article, Archive today-ico.png after article, Archive today-ico.png after article brow-beating other people in the industry for fighting these kinds of cases, not paying their interns or not paying them enough, while they themselves were not paying them at all.

So remember to signal boost this, and is you know anyone who interned at Gawker let them know so they can get in on the action.

Gawker Stalker

Despite Gawker's current grandstanding against such Internets 'horrors' as cyber-bulling and White Knighting against Anonymous, Gawker's initial claim to fame in 2006 was when they started a "stalker map", called "The Gawker Stalker", so Manhattanites could get mobile alerts as to where their fave celebrities were getting Starbucks and shit and go harass them IRL.


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After this interview, Emily Gould had a nervous breakdown an BAAWWWED about it in the Jew York Times. You can help by tracking her down and cyber-bullying her.

Adrian Chen's coverage of Jessica Leonhardt cyberbullying

Old shitty logo
Current Former Gawker Editor in Chief Remy Jew.

Last Thursday, Gawker resident gaysian Adrian Chen decided to farm pageviews by attempting to rile /b/ with his coverage of Ebaums's raid on Jessi Slaughter and trolling of her supposed rapist. While /i/nsurgents and Gawker commenters alike quickly deduced this chink's self-serving plot, a small number of newfags started threads urging a DDoS of Gawker and, predictably, a raid on Chen himself. Gawker contributors, hoping for some of Denton's sweet sweet jewgolds, greedily screencapped these cancerous posts and re-published them as evidence of a /b/-Gawker feud. Of course, in doing so they ignored the replies of the majority of /b/tards who, in a display of uncharacteristic wisdom, saged the cancer and disregarded Chen's attention-whoring. Gawker continues to milk this non-incident, portraying itself as a muckraking martyr standing strong against cyberbullies.

Nuvola
Moar info: Adrian Chen.

Gawker is easily hacked. Use at own risk.

Sunday 12th of December 2010, oh the lulz. Passwords and personal data for 1.3 million, 1.3 MILLION, Gawker Media readers — this includes readers of sites like Gizmodo, Kotaku, and a few other fag sites — have been released as a torrent by a group of hackers called Gnosis, who also managed to gain access to both the Gawker CMS and Gizmodo's Twitter account. Brilliant. You can download the torrent here.

In short: never use Gawker. Log in and post snark at your own damn risk, fgt.

Sued by the Fucking Hulk

After leaking nudes of Hulk Hogan, the hulkster piledrove them into court. At which point they brilliantly tried to pawn the lawsuit costs off on their insurance firm in a way that constitutes insurance fraud and losing another 1/2 million dollars in the process.

But, but, but.....HUZZAH, thanks to the hulk and Peter Thiel, Gawker Media LLC declared bankruptcy! Then sold out to Univision and croaked the Archive today-ico.png big croak!! Moar asshole hipsters on the street eating from garbage cans!!


   
 
In an internal memo obtained by The New York Times, Ziff Davis’s chief executive, Vivek Shah, said that under the terms of a potential agreement, the company would acquire Gawker Media’s properties but none of its liabilities. When discussing its plans for Gawker Media, it referred to the benefits of having all of the company’s blogs, but it conspicuously omitted any mention of its flagship site, Gawker.com.
 

 
 

—HAHAHAHAHA

tl;dr verson:Hulkamania ran wild on Gawker in court, and big leg dropped hipsters onto the unemployment line.

Even The Female Employees Are Sexist Assholes

 
 
But the sniping, backstabbing culture Evans depicts is unique to Gawker, and despite Evans’ thesis, it’s perpetuated by the company’s women, too. A comment on the article names several instances of women writers and editors lobbing mean-spirited blog posts at other women who did nothing to deserve a public shaming. Women writers linked to hacked nude photos of women celebrities—a hallmark of Gawker’s editorial strategy—on multiple occasions; Evans herself sent a boatload of traffic to the shameful “fappening” photos on 4chan last year. Natasha Vargas-Cooper used emails unearthed in the Sony hack to mock the “crotch-intensive” personal hygiene products purchased by former Sony head Amy Pascal. Maureen O’Connor negotiated for nonconsensual nude photos with a creepy celebrity stalker.

It’s impossible to extricate the will of the writer from the directives of the mostly male Gawker leadership, but it’s safe to say that the men of Gawker — including founder Nick Denton — weren’t the only ones nurturing a culture that exploited women in decidedly misogynist ways for traffic. Gawker’s business model rewards the kind of salacious, ethically questionable stories that are particularly harmful to women in the public eye. In Carla Blumenkranz’s n+1 assessment of Gawker from 2002 to 2007, she places some of the blame on former editor Jessica Coen:

Gawker had always sold itself as mean but it now became, actually, very mean. [Former editor Choire] Sicha, who liked to pretend to be a news organization, had sent “correspondents” and “interns” to official media events. Coen found more of them, and she sent them not only to launches and readings but also to private parties, where they took embarrassing party photos. This was the important development: the decision to treat every subject, known or unknown, in public or private situations, with the fascinated ill will that tabloid magazines have for their subjects.

On Twitter today, journalist Melody Kramer shared an old email she received during Coen’s tenure after applying for a Gawker internship in 2005. In the response she received, someone writing from the email address [email protected] invited Kramer and another female applicant to “formally be my bitches” along with the other “editorial punkins.” At 20 years old, Kramer tells me, she just wrote it off as “bizarro.” Now, she thinks it’s “completely inappropriate.”

In her Medium article, Evans relates an anecdote from 2008, when the New York Times Magazine was set to publish a personal essay from former Gawker writer Emily Gould.

Days before the story — which would embarrass both Denton and the company — was published, Denton saw a video of Gould mimicking a blow job on a plastic tube and fed it to Gawker writer Andrew Krucoff to post. Even now, in 2015, while being interviewed for the Oral History, Denton remarked: “Why not? She’s a public person. I’m a public person. This was publicly available.”

That little phrase—why not?—is a neat sum-up of Gawker’s editorial philosophy. Shame that it’s so readily deployed against its female subjects, by men and women writers alike.
 


 

—--[1]

List of Other Scandals and sundry Horse Shit

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We use the same tactic
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Gawker trying to hide their sponsor list
  • Reposting the Tom Cruise Scientology video with no regard for the law.
  • Posting screencaps of the Palin email leaks, again, with no regard for the law.
  • Posting naked videos taken through a peephole of journalist Erin Andrews.
  • Posted video of actor Eric Dane and his wife, naked with a woman who is a former Miss Teen USA and beauty queen.
  • When Wikileaks went down, Gawker blamed the wrong host for it, getting them a bunch of angry calls about a site they didn't own.
  • Leakd some shirtless pics of a congressman that he sent to someone on Craigslist.
  • Bribing mods on reddit and getting all Gawker links banned (a second time).
  • Doxing Violentacrez.
  • Sending a reporter to an electronics trade show to yell, interrupt them and play with the screen with his remote control.
  • Got banned from all Apple events after buying the, then unreleased, iPhone 4 from some guy who found it in a bar.
  • Various writers giving money to or getting money from people they report on.
  • When Max Temkin, creator of "Cards Against Humanity", was accused of rape, Kotaku was quick to point out that he should not be denying the allegations even if they are false.
  • Saying Brad Wardell is guilty of rape before he even went to court (turns out he wasn't).
  • Calling God of War creator David Jaffe a boarderline rapist because of an off-hand comment he made.
  • Buying votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame election in 2013.
  • Reported the death of the girlfriend of linebacker Manti Te'o, which was apparently a hoax. Gawker found no evidence that the girlfriend had ever existed, much less died.
  • Published an article that Cory Gardner, the Republican who ran for senate in Colorado, had faked his high school football career. Cory Gardner tweeted photographic evidence of himself in his football uniform.
  • Offering money for leaked photos.
  • Doxing people.
  • Kicking out the black editor of Jezebel to replace her with a white one.
  • Getting a porn site run by Gawker blacklisted in Australia.
  • Starting shit with other news sources.
  • Twice misreported the identity of the author of the Fake Steve Jobs blog
  • Falsely reported that a drunk employee caused a major power outage by relying on the gossip of an unidentified source. They often have this problem.
  • Getting banned from "Hacker News" for being filled with bullshit.
  • Outing gay people.
  • Writing a story based on a testimony of a guy who slept with right-wing candidate Christine O'Donnell and talking about how she has a hairy pussy.
  • Having their writers being called shit by Pulitzer-Prize winning authors.
  • Outing an accountant for lulz and page views

Gawker's GamerGate Fiasco

On the right: Mallory Blair Greitzer. The Gawker employee currently sleeping with m00t to get ahead at her job (her friend next to her also sleep with internet celebs)
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Gawker Ran ass-first into GamerGate. Both because their ex-employee is now the editor of Polygon, and because their website Kotaku (which is their most profitable site... how sad is that?) was, by-far, the most guilty party in the fiasco, having their writer Nathan Grayson sleep with Zoe Quinn for good reviews of a game he helped make and writing articles at her request to sabotage charities where the money from which would have gone to sick children.

Gawker quickly threw all their websites behind Kotaku and had most of them write articles about how GamerGaters are all a bunch of faggots (despite most of the sites having nothing to do with video games) to create the illusion that this is the opinion of various people and not a single editor running 20 separate sites.

Soon more allegations arose that Gawker is to blame for m00t's GamerGate Sellout because they may be paying him off with money (under the false pretense of investments in his new project) and sex with one of their employees.

But Gawker wasn't done being idiots yet. Gawker personality Sam Biddle stepped in with his retarded opinion, saying that he supports bullying and told people to beat up a nerd, and when his boss was contacted about it he told people to fuck off. Since this was anti-bullying month, it was a perfect chance to fuck over Gawker.

LOL guys we were just joking! About missing Pics

Bye Bye Money

Gawker's advertisers were flooded with emails. The first thing Gawker tried to do, in a classic display of Gawker professionalism, was to hide their list of sponsors. However, Internet Archive was soon used to dig them back up and continue mailing. Soon enough a number of companies announced that they are pulling their ads from the site while others responded to emails by saying that they had pulled their ads from Gawker over a year ago and have no idea why the fuck their name is still listed up there. Again, classic Gawker.
When you are so toxic even EA wants nothing to do with you, then your failure has metastasized.

Even Superman hates Gawker
Bye bye money About missing Pics

After this, Gawker tried to do damage control and said it was all a "joke" and that they were "sorry". But the emails didn't stop and neither did the internet detectives with nothing coming even close to a life, who soon leaked emails between a Gawker's senior staff member and his employees. The most interesting part of the email is the one underlined.

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As you can see, he mistakenly admits that they have been trying to control the narrative about GamerGate using their various sites.

And, since this is Gawker and the people on top have no control over their own fucking staff, the writers ignored what they were told and went on to Archive today-ico.png post an attack article about the people emailing their advertisers, call Intel, which still has ads with them, "Craven idiots", writing an article to bully Wizardchan and try to troll Christina Hoff Sommers on twitter alongside Gawker's fucking editor (and subsequently lose to an old lady at trolling).

Hilariously, Gawker announced later that week that they are promoting him. Even more hilariously, if you look at his title change (from editor to head writer) you will realize this is actually a demotion.

fite me irl fgt

Mega attorney at lol "Mike Cernovich" hates bullies and decided to use this as a way to screw with all of Gawker, which he also despises.

Gawker steals intellectual property
Max Read gives rape advice
List of Gawker articles about how poorly Amazon treats its employees... Heaping pile of irony anyone?

Sam doesn't have any balls so he quickly tucked his tail between his legs when Mike Cernovich challenged the pussybitch to a boxing match. Not even a sweetener of 10,000 dollars for charity made Sam go 3 rounds as he is nothing but a keyboard warrior to a degree that even EDiots would be ashamed. Mike went on to write several articles mocking Gawker's retardation, how they fell for his obvious trap and fucking around with SJW using the fact he's a rich, powerful lawyer to threaten anyone who dares fuck with him with legal action. He dug up tweets of Gawker's Max Read giving rape advice, and this wonderful video of Biddle at his most autistic:

New Tactic: Literally Shilling

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During GamerGate there were a lot of /pol/ style conspiracy theories going around, but there is no way any of them could be true, right? I mean, exposing a group of 150 journalists colluding with one another was merely a coincidence, right? After all, there is no way there could be such a thing as "shills", right? No news site owner in his right mind would literally pay his employees to pretend to be GamerGaters and try to get them to stop, right!?

Wrong.

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Nick Denton actually payed his interns (I bet those are words you never expected to be put together into a sentence) to pretend to be GG supporters and promote in-fighting in GamerGate by starting pointless arguments about what is and isn't right for them to do like a bunch of SJWs. When he felt that this was becoming successful he rushed over to his facebook to brag about it like the most retarded Bond villain in history.

But Nick forgot one thing: All his employees despise him.
And why wouldn't they? He's an angry autistic sperglord who doesn't pay them any money. So, naturally, one of them took a screencap of his private Facebook and leaked it (again).

Nick responded by posting the following butthurt rant, wherein he implicitly threatens to murder whoever leaked it whenever he finds out who he is, before deleting his account.


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Sadly, the person who uncovered this is a massive twat who everyone hates as much as Denton. He lied and said that this was sent to him by Steve Totilo of Kotaku himself, but it was obviously bullshit. He still insists the leak is real (just from someone else), but no one believes him anymore.


The Aftermath of GamerGate

In the process of Gamergate Gawker confirmed they had lost a 7 figure sum and Denton stepped down as president and had to put in place a committee to handle things in the company less like retards.

About Gawker Itself

Now that we've talked about all the borderline illegal shit and various humiliations that Gawker has been a part of, let's talk about the site itself, who and how to use it.

Commenter Auditions

Gawker's ethics policy in a nutshell

Once upon a time, Gawker's commenter audition policy helped the site maintain a media-insider feel, but now it is basically a glorified captcha. Although the comments do seem devoid of spambots, most of the commentators are earnest unfunny libtards who don't even hail from NYC.

If you want to become a Gawker commenter, the first thing you should do is re-assess your priorities seeing as howsi zoophiliac scat porn would be a more dignified choice. But maybe you want to infiltrate Gawker for purposes of trolling, in which case you should just follow these simple guidelines when penning your audition:

  • Mention SI Newhouse, Graydon Carter or the Conde Nast cafeteria. The rest of your comment can be total shit. Gawker has long harbored an obsession with all things Conde, since most of them are too fat to work there.
  • Comment as a gay man. They'll worship you as a sassy affluencer regardless of what you say.
  • Use mostly immaculate spelling and punctuation (Gawker are olds), except when writing about the internets you should throw in some icanhazcheezburger-derived piss-poor caturday-tribute language, channeling your mom who just discovered an impossibly tame image macro and spammed it delightedly to her AOL buddy list.
  • Try to seem knowing and disaffected, except if commenting about Apple or Obama in which case you should bleed sincerity.

Alternatively, if you wish to become an approved Jezebel commenter, rather than opting to place a finger in a Rapex-guarded vagina, follow these rules for super success to-the-max FTW:

  • Share your rape story. Even if you don't have one, try re-imagining that time you were lying in bed with your husband and he rubbed his MANhood against your back whilst you were trying to sleep. In your slumbery state, know that both your free will and faculty for consent were limited. It was a violation, whether or not you are willing or able to come to terms with that. Your husband is a latent rapist. All men are.

Relationship between Gawker and internets

At Jezebel, someone named LaToya posts a women's studies thesis about Gamecrush.

Gawker's internets coverage has been steadily increasing since Project Chanology. The reasons for this are twofold. First, Gawker is desperate to keep its brand young and edgy, and just like the dumbfucks in the old media they are endlessly fascinated by web 2.0, memes etc which they believe are the future. The result is a bunch of pussy 27-year-old Greenpoint residents trying to be youthful and clever by Archive today-ico.png writing their same old posts about Conde Nast (srsly), then filling them with expressions like IDK and then tagging them "epicfail"}} (Then they Archive today-ico.png try to criticize old media for doing the exact same thing). Gawker is like the character Eugene Levy plays in every shitty teen comedy: He vomits up lewd teen lingo in effort to seem "with it" but just ends up embarrassing himself and everyone watching. The second reason for Gawker's rampant homosexual lust over ED, /b/ et al. is that Gawker bloggers are paid based on the number of pageviews they generate, and believe that baiting the chans will earn them a big fat paycheck. You can help by not even visiting these links, since enabling adblock, while helpful, does not diminish pageview count. Raiding gawker and its employees is futile unless you have dogmongling pics of them, since they are all aspiring new media personalities who welcome the traffic and lack any sense of shame.

Gawker site list - Can't keep track of them all:

You're now saved from a horrendous amount of anti-lulz, butthurt and BAWWWW!!. You're welcome.
Nick Denton started it all.

Gawker Media sites the internet actually gives a fuck about:

  • Kotaku: About the latest new games; critique, nostalgia, prediction, design. Always 2 weeks behind in news. Basically the National Enquirer of gaming blogs. Mostly known for its writers exchanging sex for favorable reviews. As Nathan Grayson did with Zoe Quinn, Patricia Hernandez with two of her roomates/lovers and pretty much everyone else on that site who will gladly give you 5 stars for one blowjob.
  • Jezebel: Fat, far-left cumdumpsters who graduated from mediocre liberal arts colleges, wear crap purchased off Etsy and are on a perpetual righteous feminist crusade to get fashion mags to feature more obese nigras. The Gawker commenter-audition filter tries to prevent you from trolling these whores; fortunately, they are weaklings who take everything supersrsly, so it doesn't take much to set them off. Staff writer Tracie Egan once declared in an interview that she was Archive today-ico.png "too smart" to be raped - a comment which outraged much of the readership and led to calls for her resignation - but Nick Denton kept her on staff, because she generates lots of pageview$, which in turn funds his penchant for fudgepacking Manhattan rent boys.

"Jizzebel" is currently known for being Archive today-ico.png the site that calls anything and everything rape.

The rest of the turds:

  • Anthropophage: News for the on-the-go, net-savvy gay German cannibal
  • Consumerist: Like Consumer Reports, for faggots who majored in Marxist Labor Theory at someplace like Tufts. Broke away from Gawker, now owned by Consumer Reports.
  • Deadspin: Sports news and gossip for people who can't read long words.
  • Defamer: It's like a tabloid, but attracts fewer unique visitors.
  • Flagella: A website about celebrities in the protozoan world.
  • Fleshbot: It's a fucking porn site. Gawker, classy as ever. Sold off.
  • Gawker: Still Denton's nominal flagship, the cool kids have jumped ship and it is now infested with soccer moms.
  • Gizmodo Jizzmodo: About the latest gadgets and gizmos, as long as they are made by Apple.
  • Gridskipper: Travel for people who can't afford it because if they were smart enough to make money they wouldn't be reading a Gawker site.
  • io9: Shitty recaps of sci-fi/fantasy TV shows, movie spoilers, transhumanism, science news. Tabloid for people who will never get laid but not even popular enough for you to mention to your nerd friends.
  • Idolator: Basically the same dumb pieces of shit who write Pitchfork.
  • Jalopnik: For automobile fetishists who ride the bus.
  • Lifehacker: hotkeys, useless apps, browser wars, getting your OS to act like a different one, bullshit fringe health advice, projects stolen from Indestructibles.com, reader's opinion of the latest MSPaint clone, sucking Firefox's cock.
  • Partyvan: Sightings of girls in the 'tween set, with speculation about their underwear colors. Failed attempt to get pageviews from people who mistook it for Partyvan.info.
  • Valleywag: Silicon Valley gossip and news. Most boring thing on Gawker.<s> Shut down in 2015.
  • <s>Wonkette: WALNUTS! Warning: Rose to fame by being edited by a modestly non-fugly chick. Now run entirely by an emo fuck. Denton sold the blog to some warmed-over Web 1.0 loser when it became clear he couldn't make any money off of it.

How much money does it make?

As it turns out, The Gawker "empire" is a fucking greenback factory. As Archive today-ico.png leaked by fired editorial director Joel Johnson, on Gawker itself (lolol) (and republished in this Pando post, which took Gawker employees voting to unionize to "shake out":

   
 
Gawker Media is an advertising-based business, with revenues of around 35- to 45-million dollars a year. There are a few other sources of income: a couple of million for international licensing fees (from the companies that publish international versions, such as Kotaku Australia); and affiliate fees, largely from Amazon, that add another 5-10 million a year. Ad revenue has been growing around 30% a year, which is good, despite relatively flat traffic and somewhat primitive (by Ad World standards) offerings. (No video at scale, negligible mobile innovation.)

Most of that revenue gets spent in the following ways: paying for staff; paying for infrastructure, such as web servers or bandwidth; litigating the ever-present lawsuits, often with third-party counsel; and paying for offices, travel, third-party services (like branding agencies and other consultants) and roof-top parties. That typically leaves a relatively tidy profit of 1-2 million dollars per quarter, which is either kept in a bank account or, recently, spent.

A large amount of Gawker Media’s capital over the last few years has been spent on the expansion of its technology divisions, with a roughly 50/50 split in headcount between the U.S. and Hungary. (The Hungarians and their office are, of course, less expensive than equivalent U.S. counterparts.) That is part of the reason why, when asked what Gawker Media has “spent on Kinja,” Denton is keen to equivocate. Little of the capital spent on Kinja has gone to materiel, since, after all, it’s just code running on servers that were already needed to operate the sites. As an relatively uninformed estimate, it is reasonable to presume that something like $10-$20 million has been spent on the development of Kinja (and its precursors) in payroll alone over the last five years. It’s difficult to make a clear estimate, primarily because it’s difficult to quantify the opportunity losses: how much traffic and potential advertising revenue was lost when the sites were down? How many employee hours were wasted pursuing partnership deals that were abandoned? How much of the development cost of Kinja was wasted in pursuit of dead-end experiments or capricious strategy charges versus the work essential to maintain an online media company’s content management system? (I can take a good guess at that last one, actually: I’d say about 75% of the work on Kinja has wasteful.)
 


 
 

   
 
Why didn’t Kinja work? For the same reason that most attempts to grow and mature Gawker Media have never worked: For someone who trades in bravado, Nick Denton is, perversely, a coward.
 

 
 

"Spent"? On what, gay hookers and Adderall popsicles? A hot tub full of Jagermeister? And predictably, Denton Archive today-ico.png used Gawker to respond:

   
 
I hold that we are far the most transparent company in internet media. This conversation is healthy. All conversation is healthy. Air it out. I love that this is Tommy’s instinct too, the instinct of more and more of our colleagues. But this transparency — and the union drive — makes us look unorthodox and scary to those brought up in more traditional corporate environments. We’re transparent to a fault!
 

 
 

—--Fuck you, Nick

THE END

Posted on the site shortly before it went down on August 22, 2016, Nick makes excuses:

Use scrollbar to see the full text

Gawker.com is shutting down today, Monday 22nd August, 2016, some 13 years after it began and two days before the end of my forties. It is the end of an era.

The staff will move to new jobs on other properties in Gawker Media Group, which are lively and intact, and the whole operation will continue under new ownership, after being acquired for $135 million by Univision. But I will not be going with my colleagues. The Gawker domain is also being left behind in bankruptcy. This is the last post.

Peter Thiel has achieved his objectives. His proxy, Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, has a claim on the company and my personal assets after winning a $140 million trial court judgment in his Florida privacy case. Even if that decision is reversed or reduced on appeal, it is too late for Gawker itself. Its former editor, who wrote the story about Hogan, has a $230 million hold on his checking account. The flagship site, a magnet for most of the lawsuits marshaled by Peter Thiel’s lawyer, has for most media companies become simply too dangerous to own.

Peter Thiel has gotten away with what would otherwise be viewed as an act of petty revenge by reframing the debate on his terms. Having spent years on a secret scheme to punish Gawker’s parent company and writers for all manner of stories, Thiel has now cast himself as a billionaire privacy advocate, helping others whose intimate lives have been exposed by the press. It is canny positioning against a site that touted the salutary effects of gossip and an organization that practiced radical transparency.

As former Gawker developer Dustin Curtis says, “Though I find the result abhorrent, this is one of the most beautiful checkmates of all time by Peter Thiel.”

In cultural and business terms, this is an act of destruction, because Gawker.com was a popular and profitable digital media property—before the legal bills mounted. Gawker will be missed. But in dramatic terms, it is a fitting conclusion to this experiment in what happens when you let journalists say what they really think. It is a fitting conclusion to this experiment in what happens when you let journalists say what they really think.

The rest of the staff and the rest of the brands—Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Jezebel, Kotaku, Jalopnik and Deadspin—are in the shelter of a Hispanic media company pursuing the broader multicultural and millennial audience. They are planning their next offsite meeting for Miami; I am relieved they are all safe.

The sacrifice: Gawker has been left behind. The battered flagship—the tattered black pirate flag of H.L. Mencken still flapping—lingers on the web like a ghost ship, the crew evacuated.

How did we get here?

Many liberals and journalists are alarmed by the ease with which a rich and powerful man—a Trump supporter—can use the legal system to destroy an outlet that criticized him and his friends. To my mind, Gawker’s ultimate fate was predestined.

Gawker was not the first blog launched by the company. That was Gizmodo, the technology news site that is the company’s largest property. Gawker was an outlier in what became a collection of bloggy lifestyle magazines covering reader interests like video games, sports, and cars.

But Gawker was the one with the most powerful personality, the most extreme expression of the rebellious writer’s id. It absorbed the century-old tabloid cynicism about human nature, reinforced by instant data about what people actually wanted to read. As a group of journalists who had grown up on the web, it also subscribed to the internet’s most radical ideology, that information wants to be free, and that the truth shall set us free. This was a potent but dangerous combination.

Gawker’s remit was eventually so broad, news and gossip, that subject matter proved no barrier. And Gawker’s web-literate journalists picked up more story ideas from anonymous email tips, obscure web forums or hacker data dumps than they did from interviews or parties. They scorned access. To get an article massaged or fixed, there was nobody behind the scenes to call. Gawker was an island, one publicist said, uncompromised and uncompromising.

Over time, Gawker did develop a layer of editorial management, and adopted the structure of a more recognizable news organization. But the goal remained to reduce the friction between the thought and the page. At the peak of our confidence, we saw ourselves as the freest writers on the internet, beholden to no one but our readers. Gawker was an experiment in journalism free of commercial pressures and the need for respectability, constrained only by law. Journalismism

Because Gawker covered the media from the perspective of a smart outsider, calling out the absurdities of the industry, journalists were soon obsessed. Never underestimate the power of narcissism. In 2003, it did not take long for Elizabeth Spiers to be profiled or for Kurt Andersen, the former editor of Spy magazine, a publication that had inspired her, to turn up at Gawker parties. We called the company Gawker Media Group, to spread the fame to other properties.

To staff the site, we looked for raw writing talent rather than credentials. As Adrian Chen wrote in the New Yorker, Gawker was the best place to become a journalist. Its alumni are everywhere in digital media. Richard Lawson, now at Vanity Fair, had been a secret commenter. Alex Pareene, who brought a sense of the absurd to a presidential campaign that demanded it for sanity’s sake, had started at the company as a 19-year-old dropout from NYU. The embrace of unusual writers led one veteran to describe Gawker as the “island of the misfit toys”. We took that as a compliment.

The young writers shared their generation’s skepticism. According to a Harvard Institute of Politics survey, only one in ten 18-34 year-olds trust the media. The alt right movement, suspicious of the illusion presented by media, refers to the “red pill” that you can take to reveal the reality beneath. Gawker’s politics were progressive, but it shared the belief that the real world was staged. Gawker writers, plugged into the journalists’ gossip networks, looked for the story behind the story, the version that was shared over a drink but less frequently published.

The voice was new, too. Elizabeth Spiers’ items would not have been out of place in the newspaper or magazine diary, except she introduced italicized side-remarks that made the stories seem more intimate, an article annotated by a friend. By the time of Choire Sicha, Gawker had established a whole new news style, which took as much from blogs and messaging as it did from print media. Writers like Richard Lawson, Caity Weaver, and Ashley Feinberg seemed to express themselves in an fresh but coded language new to professional media. As Sydney Ember wrote in the Times, it was “a wry, conversational and brash form of web journalism that would influence publications across the internet.”

The defining tone of a Gawker story was as often rude as wry. When it became powerful enough to merit the New York magazine cover treatment, the package was called “Gawker and The Age of Insolence,” and illustrated with a keyboard of epithets popularized by the blog. Gawker made douche cross over as a word. And that made it easy to accuse Gawker of being unique in another way—uniquely snarky.

One profile of Gawker before the Hogan verdict was titled: Snark on Trial. We argued that snark was simply the word smarmy people used to dismiss criticism. But Peter Thiel could still get nods when he told the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin: “I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.” In his op-ed in the same paper some months later, he referred to Gawker’s “nasty articles that attacked and mocked people.” Mockery, of course, is the cheapest and most available tool that the powerless have against the powerful; it has historically been the one thing that they can’t silence.

It was a matter of pride that Gawker ran stories that could not be published elsewhere.

Tabloid and gossip journalism long predate Gawker, but the site was unique in its scope. TMZ, for instance, focuses its investigative energy on B-list celebrities; and is careful to maintain good relations with Hollywood lawyers and power players. But Gawker writers were not so discriminating. It was a matter of pride that Gawker ran stories that could not be published elsewhere.

They took on all subjects with equal vigor, often taking particular pride in undermining the behind-the-scenes players who had become accustomed to operating the celebrity machinery in anonymity. My friendship with Brian Williams went cold after Gawker published a private email I had forwarded as a tip, in a demonstration by Gawker’s editor that even the publisher’s chatty correspondence was fair game. The celebrities, the politicians, the capitalists, the publicists, the journalists—Gawker viewed them all as subjects, and cultivated none as allies.

The original focus was the executives and editors at the media companies in New York. Valleywag, later merged into Gawker, expanded the scope to include Silicon Valley moguls and venture capitalists, the coming power. And, especially after Gawker went national in 2008 and sought a broader audience, the site also sought to break, rather than just blog, stories about entertainment celebrities and politicians. The site was defined by the sheer range of enemies it had made.

For her farewell post when Gawker still obsessed over Manhattan media, Jessica Coen scorched the publicist Joe Dolce. J.K. Trotter showed which journalists were allowing Hillary Clinton’s spokesman to insert adjectives into their work. Roger Ailes of Fox News hired private investigators to trail John Cook and Hamilton Nolan, after a series of Gawker investigations into the right-wing news network, its on-air talent, and its boss. A misjudged story about a media executive’s secret sex life just last year, a throwback to an earlier web era, set off a swirl of industry outrage.

Then there were celebrities. Tom Scocca’s essay on Bill Cosby prompted a belated evaluation of sexual allegations against the sitcom star. A story about Tom Cruise’s role in the Church of Scientology brought a new audience to Gawker. It also invited more menacing legal threats than we had faced. After a tabloid story in 2009 about a hot-tub party involving two actors and a former beauty queen, we paid out a settlement. It was a warning. Too Insidery

As if media players and celebrities were not enough, Gawker was, by the late 2000s, poking at some truly powerful people. New York’s Vanessa Grigoriadis said Gawker expressed the rage of the creative underclass. It was unsurprising that Gawker focused on the privileges of the princelings, the younger members of America’s increasingly hereditary elite. These were the manifestations, in stories readers could understand, of the dry income inequality that had become the focus of politics and economics. After the Sony hack, Sam Biddle was less interested in the Hollywood industry games revealed by the company’s email traffic than in the deeper story about heredity power revealed by how CEO Michael Lynton got his daughter into Brown.

Gawker shed an enormous amount of light. It punctured hypocrisy and mocked the ridiculous. The site put out 200,000 posts over its life, about thousands of public figures. Some say we made the right enemies, but everybody can agree: even for journalists, we certainly made a lot of them. One was Peter Thiel.

In 2006, Gawker launched a site called Valleywag. Billionaires like Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google were regularly featured, rarely very flatteringly. While New York and Hollywood were used to gossipy journalism, Silicon Valley’s power was new.

Most of the new industrialists and investors were accustomed to deferential trade reporting that stuck close to official talking points, and to reverential magazine profiles. Many were brilliant but fragile geeks, who had grown to enjoy the adulation, and did not appreciate criticism. Information was carefully controlled through non-disclosure agreements, embargoes, and preferential access given to favored journalists. It was not just Steve Jobs that had constructed a reality distortion field around him; many Silicon Valley ventures and reputations depended on careful management of buzz. Valleywag pricked the bubble.

“On one hand the reporting was terribly caustic and brutal and on the other it was really thorough and investigative and accurate in a lot of cases,” said Brandee Barker, former head of global communications at Facebook.

I started Gizmodo first, and loved Lifehacker most, but Gawker was the only site I edited.

In my time at the company, I started Gizmodo first, and loved Lifehacker most, but Gawker was the only site I edited. Valleywag, the Valley gossip column later merged into Gawker, was the only property on which I have ever been a reporter. It was a world I knew from living in the Bay Area from 1997 to 2002. It was there that I first collided with Peter Thiel, whom I knew through Max Levchin and other mutual friends.

The only article Peter Thiel has publicly mentioned as a personal motivation for his extraordinary campaign is one by Owen Thomas, a gay writer for Valleywag, which called for Thiel to be recognized as the world’s most successful gay venture capitalist. That Thiel had a boyfriend was already an open secret in the Valley and the San Francisco gay scene, but Thiel says he had a right to control the sequence of his coming out. That is also the most sympathetic rationale for his animus.

But Valleywag also complicated Thiel’s business ventures, which is the more powerful reason. Writers watched for every problem with Clarium Capital, Thiel’s hedge fund, which failed spectacularly. Even before that, when I was writing on Valleywag in 2006, I heard wind of a rift between Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital and Thiel, who represented a new generation of investor. The story was self-fulfilling: Moritz disrespected Thiel’s partner in the Founder’s Fund, Sean Parker, in front of investors; and Thiel kept Moritz out of Facebook, the best investment opportunity of the decade.

Thiel fancied himself a political thinker. He worried about the weakness of libertarians among female voters, the tendency of mass democracies to constrain individual freedom, or bureaucracies that had stifled the American economy. In the running Valleywag coverage of these pronouncements, Thiel was increasingly portrayed as a crackpot libertarian. His ideas were mocked; it must have been an unpleasant reminder of campus arguments at Stanford, which had led to his first political tract, The Diversity Myth.

In 2009, Thiel said about Valleywag writers:

"I think they should be described as terrorists, not as writers or reporters. I don’t understand the psychology of people who would kill themselves and blow up buildings, and I don’t understand people who would spend their lives being angry; it just seems unhealthy… [Valleywag] scares everybody. It’s bad for the Valley, which is supposed to be about people who are willing to think out loud and be different."

Some Valley venture capitalists like Marc Andreessen played the gossip game, feeding tidbits to a hungry press—myself included. Valuable sources do often get protection from otherwise incorruptible journalists. Peter Thiel would not go that far to solve his image problem. But, on the advice of Eddie Hayes, the New York lawyer and fixer, he gave money to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Gawker’s own Choire Sicha, invited to advise him on media relations, recommended he be more friendly with journalists. He took Valleywag’s Ryan Tate out for a bottle of wine and told him, “See, I do negotiate with terrorists.”

At some point, however, Thiel’s stance hardened, after a friend advised him that he was the only one who could stop Gawker. He connected with Charles Harder, a Hollywood lawyer who had learned from Marty Singer but was ready to take a more hard-knuckled approach on behalf of clients. Litigation finance, once the crime of champerty but now deregulated, provided the template for their business relationship. This was the dark money of media conflict. Thiel could fund potential lawsuits without being exposed himself. It was the same method by which Max Mosley took down Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. Gawker Stalker

In October 2012, a promising opening appeared. Gawker published a tabloid scoop about Hulk Hogan, the Real American hero, in a tryst with his best friend’s wife. The friend, a radio shock jock called Bubba Clem, had set up the encounter, and filmed it.

Hulk Hogan had already, in many graphic interviews, been public about his sex life, and he said he couldn’t remember the specific encounter that Gawker described. The story, a commentary on the public’s fascination with celebrity sex and the mundanity of the reality, was interesting and prompted no immediate backlash. Even Hogan’s lawyers later backed off their criticism of the words. But Gawker had also published an excerpt from the video recording that was long enough to be seized on as gratuitous by Hogan’s lawyers, who made much of the fact that his erect penis was visible for a few frames.

Hogan was the most popular celebrity in Tampa. While a federal judge and a Florida appeals court panel found the story was solidly newsworthy because it touched a matter of public concern, it was always going to be a challenge to go up against Hogan against a home-town jury. When Judge Pamela Campbell allowed Hogan to pursue a privacy case in her circuit court, Thiel’s combination was ready.

The trial has been rehearsed enough. Suffice to say the jury was not shown evidence of Hogan’s true motives in filing suit, to scare leakers and journalists off another more embarrassing recording. Bubba Clem, the intimate who made the recordings, had settled with Hogan; he was permitted to avoid the stand. Gawker, which had been accused of unfairly caricaturing so many others, was itself undone by a few well-chosen quotes.

But there was some karmic irony. Gawker, which had been accused of unfairly caricaturing so many others, was itself undone by a few well-chosen quotes. A journalist’s detachment from the suffering of subjects, without which no critical story would ever be published, was presented as sociopathic. And a dark joke, suitable for a Williamsburg bar but inadvisable for a deposition to be viewed by a Florida jury, left the author of the Hogan story vulnerable to being smeared as a pedophile.

In the court of media and public opinion, the trial played only marginally better. The Tampa Bay Times noted that Judge Campbell was overturned more often than any other judge in her county. There was a consensus that the $140 million verdict was absurdly high compensation for Hogan’s embarrassment. Liberal journalists were outraged when Thiel’s vendetta became public.

But even Gawker’s natural allies had no enthusiasm for a free press defense of a story about a sex tape. Journalists were aware of the public’s growing sensitivity to anything that could be characterized as revenge porn or cyber bullying. As John Herrman noted, the public climate had changed, even in the four years since the Hogan story. Privacy, especially internet privacy, had become the biggest challenge to freedom of expression. When time came to scurry under the shelter of the First Amendment, we did not have that much institutional support. You can’t easily get the privileges of the profession if you pour scorn on its luminaries.

And Gawker’s media enemies made sure that the most compromising moments from the trial got wide distribution. The New York Post, whose editor Col Allan had been called a pig-fucker by Gawker after his newspaper wrongly identified two innocent men as suspects in the Boston bombing, sent its strongest court reporter down to Florida to cover the trial in a manner as gleefully cruel as any overreach Gawker was ever accused of. “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword,” News Corporation’s Jesse Angelo told a former Gawker executive. Allan sent a note to Gawker’s tips line on the day of our bankruptcy, more than three years after the insult: “Squeal, pig fuckers, squeal.”

Some public figures came to the defense of the free press. Jeff Bezos, whose company’s working conditions had been criticized by Gawker, reminded people that it was the ugly speech that most needed protection. “The best defense against speech that you don’t like about yourself as a public figure is to develop a thick skin,” he said. “You can’t stop it.” But many subjects, especially in Silicon Valley, were delighted that Gawker was getting its comeuppance. Even after Thiel’s secret involvement was revealed, they provided moral support for his campaign.

And Now It’s Dead

The greatest compliment one could ever pay to a Gawker writer is fearlessness—the willingness to say what needed to be said irrespective of the consequences. The flip side of that fearlessness, the epithet that even our defenders throw at us, is recklessness. Gawker deliberately pushed the envelope, went further than our establishment forebears, and should be held responsible for the result. Did we invite this fate?

The stories themselves may have been fearless, but they were not reckless. The company as a whole has published nearly a million posts in its existence. Peter Thiel’s lawyers have been scouring the sites on a daily basis for at least four years for stories to sue over. There are few lawsuits but for those filed by Charles Harder, Thiel’s lawyer. He has represented both Hogan and the other two plaintiffs in suits filed against the company, not to mention the legal threats issued on behalf of clients as varied as Lena Dunham, Donald Trump’s alleged hair guru, and a sports-betting entrepreneur.

One can argue about the merits of the Hogan story, and the length of the video excerpt included. But the others are not even controversial among journalists. Of course, Shiva Ayyadurai should not be able to claim he invented email without a reminder that Ray Tomlinson did so a decade earlier. Ashley Terrill, the journalist who is suing Gawker for a behind-the-scenes look at her role in a battle over the legacy and future of the dating app Tinder, has chosen one of Gawker’s most thoroughly researched and nuanced stories to go to court over. For a site as reckless as it is purported to be, there have been no Jayson Blairs, no conflict-of-interest or plagiarism scandals, no career-ending corrections.

Indeed, Gawker’s record for accuracy is excellent. For a site as reckless as it is purported to be, there have been no Jayson Blairs, no conflict-of-interest or plagiarism scandals, no career-ending corrections. The chief rule of establishment journalism that it violated to its detriment, it seems, is the one that recommends against pissing off billionaires.

But Gawker did overextend itself, as an enterprise. We were internet exceptionalists, believing that that from blogs, forums and messaging would emerge a new world of unlimited freedom to associate and to express. We still believed we could, like the early bloggers, say everything. We believed that broader access to confidential information, to the real story, would constrain the powerful and liberate the oppressed.

And we believed that, as a business, this model could work. That being beholden only to our readers was not only an editorial value, but the key to building an audience that advertisers would want to reach in the new medium. We had no list of protected personalities or clients or brands, but we had at our peak a million people each day. The readers were there, and they were our defense against our detractors.

But the readers don’t have the power. It’s difficult to recall now, but at Gawker’s founding there was a sense that the internet was a free space, where anything can be said. An island off the mainland, where people could be themselves. Where writers could say things that would get you fired in an instant from a print publication. Where you could say what you thought without fear of being fired, or sued out of existence. But when you try to make a business out of that freedom, the system will fight you.

As our experience has shown, that freedom was illusory. The system is still there. It pushed back. The power structure remains. There are just some new people at the apex, prime among them the techlords flush with monopoly profits. They are as sensitive to criticism as any other ruling class, but with the confidence that they can transform and disrupt anything, from government to the press.

One of Gawker’s most cherished tags was “How Things Work,” a rubric that applied to posts revealing the sausage-making, the secret ways that power manifests itself. The phrase has a children’s book feel to it, bringing to mind colorful illustrations of animals in human work clothes building houses or delivering mail. Of course it also carries the morbid sense of innocence lost, and the distance between the stories we tell ourselves about the world and the way it actually works. Collapsing that distance is, in many ways, what Gawker has always been about.

And so Gawker’s demise turns out to be the ultimate Gawker story. It shows how things work.

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