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Gawker Media slims its blog network

Nick Denton, founder of the New York-based blog network, acknowledges tough economic conditions are a reason behind sale of three blogs: Idolator, Gridskipper, and Wonkette.

This post was updated at 8:46 a.m. PDT.

New York blog czar Nick Denton, founder and publisher of Gawker Media, is selling three of the new-media company's properties: Idolator, Gridskipper, and Wonkette.

In an internal e-mail obtained by CNET, Denton explained the sale: "To be blunt: they each had their editorial successes; but someone else will have better luck selling the advertising than we did."

When asked via instant message to comment on prices, Denton replied with "Nope!"

Music blog Idolator will be sold to Buzznet, the pop culture social-media site that has been snapping up content creators like Stereogum; editor Maura Johnston will stay at the helm. The deal, per Silicon Alley Insider, was reportedly completed over the weekend.

Gridskipper, an urban travel blog, will become part of Curbed, the blog network run by former Gawker Media editor Lockhart Steele (and in which Gawker Media has invested).

Of the three, the sale of Wonkette likely came as a surprise to longtime Gawker Media fans. "Wonkette is one of the brands with which the company is most associated; people will be shocked that we would ever part with it," he wrote. "The political site has won an array of Bloggies and other awards; it introduced (an expletive that CNET cannot print) into the dictionary of political abuse; the founding editor (Ana Marie Cox)'s slippers are even on display in the new media museum in Washington, D.C."

The snappy political gossip blog Wonkette, with Cox at the helm, famously outed the "Washingtonienne," an anonymous D.C. sex blogger who dished a little too much dirt about political heavy-hitters. Now it'll be run by current editor Ken Layne as part of the Blogads network, which encompasses a number of other political titles like DailyKos.

Gawker Media has had plenty of successes, like the gadget blog phenomenon Gizmodo and feminist-culture title Jezebel. Its eponymous flagship title continues to be a mildly infamous mainstay of New York media gossip.

But Denton acknowledged that economic conditions are tightening the company's belt. In the middle of 2006 "we declared we were 'hunkering down," he wrote. "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."