In the UK last week blogging outfit Shiny Media went into administration, but across the pond Nick Denton’s Gawker is in rude health despite his apocalyptic predictions.
Last Autumn Denton grabbed a few headlines when he said we should be preparing for a decline of up to 40% in advertising revenues. What he actually said was: “Anyone who isn’t prepared for ads to go down 40% is crazy.”
Well there has certainly been a lot of craziness since. Today Denton reveals the good news. First-half revenues at Gawker were up 45% as its ad growth continues pretty much uninterrupted. Nice work.
He’s even updated his apocalyptic chart. Awesome, you have to respect someone who takes time out from the apocalypse (I mean there’s all that Evian, cans of Heinz baked beans and flashlights to stock up on and that takes time) and updates the chart.
Obviously, Denton didn’t sit around waiting for the apocalypse, he took steps. Were they apocalyptic steps? He cut staff and closed sites as Gawker reduced the number of blogs it publishes from 15 to nine. This included the axing of Defamer.com and incorporating it into Gawker.
But it wasn’t the cuts alone that paid off. As Denton puts it:
“The plunge has already been pretty terrifying for a range of companies from Yahoo and IAC to the newspapers. But I was wrong in one respect: a few premium internet brands, Gawker’s among them, have withstood the advertising apocalypse.”
“Sometimes there’s consolation to be found in congenital pessimism; I’d rather be wrong and thriving than right and dead.”
As for Shiny Media, the sites (like Shiny Shiny) are gathering digital dust despite talk they might be bought. Interesting blog post here, however, by a former Shiny Media staffer who says one of the problems was the errrm lack of traffic and ads.