When Univision bought Gawker Media Group for $135 million in a bankruptcy auction last year, they got a critical piece of technology pretty cheap.
Kinja, the publishing system that Gawker founder Nick Denton reportedly sank millions into before leaving the company, is now being expanded to a broader swath of sites owned by Univision.
Later this year, The Onion, A.V. Club and Clickhole, sites purchased by Univision in January 2016, will begin publishing using Kinja, said Lauren Bertolini, who was named Gizmodo Media Group's chief operating officer in May. Onion, Inc. sites currently use Bulbs, a content management system created by Onion, Inc. whose best features are being incorporated into Kinja, Bertolini said.
Onion, Inc's product team, which Univision inherited in the acquisition of the company, are being combined with Gizmodo Media Group's product team, Bertolini said. Fusion and The Root, Gizmodo Media Group sites that previously used WordPress, have already been moved to Kinja.
Why the focus on using Kinja across the company's portfolio of websites? It has to do with the publishing system's ability to easily integrate links to products on Amazon, which has been a major driver of e-commerce revenue, Bertolini said.
"Every time we make a tool to benefit the editorial team, the e-commerce team benefits from that also," Bertolini said. "One of the things we built in Kinja early on was this idea of insets. If you drop a link into Kinja from The New York Times, we create an inset that has the headline, the thumbnail and the little short summary text."
That feature was eventually incorporated into the company's e-commerce offerings, Bertolini said.
"So when you drop in an Amazon link, like our commerce team does, it creates an inset that has the price," Bertolini said. "It has the product image, it has the product team and it has the buy now button."
As e-commerce has taken root across the publishing industry, with companies including Vox Media and The New York Times jumping aboard, Gizmodo Media Group has benefitted from Denton's early investment in the category. In an interview with Digiday earlier this year, Gizmodo Media Group CEO Raju Narisetti said that he expects e-commerce to comprise 25 percent of the company's 2017 revenue.
That's an indicator Kinja was undervalued by the market when the company was shopping for buyers, said Bertolini, who worked on Kinja for five years during successive jobs at Gawker Media.
"I think, when we're looking at 2018, the question has to be what are elements of Kinja that can extend to the wider Univision family?" Bertolini said.