Services & Software

Gawker to absorb Defamer gossip blog

Gawker Media had put the Hollywood gossip site up for sale as part of an effort to reduce the size of the blog network's portfolio.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. PST with Denton e-mail.

Gawker Media has apparently had a change of heart regarding the sale of its Defamer gossip site and decided to fold it into the larger company.

Nick Denton, founder and president of Gawker Media, announced the move Sunday in a company blog:

It's Oscars day, a good a time as any to do this: Hollywood gossip site Defamer is being merged into Gawker, the company's flagship gossip title. The four-year-old title will continue as Gawker's entertainment column; the movie-industry stories will remain showcased on but the sites will be staffed and managed as one.

Gawker now draws more than 3m visitors a month -- four times the audience it had in 2007. More than three-quarters of Gawker's readership is from outside New York. The inclusion of Defamer's Hollywood gossip -- following an expansion of political coverage last year and the incorporation of Valleywag -- reflects Gawker's evolution into a national gossip site.

In an e-mail to CNET News, Denton denied the notion that he couldn't find a buyer, saying that he had "two serious bids. But ad revenues (were) better than expected, so less pressure to cut costs."

Denton, who has been reducing the size of the blog network, announced his intention to sell the blog last December when it sold its Consumerist blog to the publisher of Consumer Reports. That sale followed his decision to shut down Valleywag, the blog network's Silicon Valley gossip title, and fold its operations into Gawker. Denton also sold off three of its smallest blogs last April, blaming the softening online advertising market for the sales.

Denton's handling of Gawker has been frugal, continually consolidating resources toward the blogs that were pulling in traffic and ad dollars. Early last October, Denton orchestrated a personnel shuffling that saw 14 percent of the company's editorial staff laid off but new hires made at some of the most successful titles like gadget blog Gizmodo and feminist chronicle Jezebel.