ESPN purchased the fivethirtyeight.com domain and URL, Michael Calderone reports.
ESPN is buying the FiveThirtyEight name and URL — not a licensing deal.
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) July 22, 2013
ESPN officially announced Silver’s move from The New York Times Monday after the Times’ Brian Stelter reported it. When announcing his alliance with the Times in 2010, Silver wrote, “The partnership agreement, which is structured as a license, has a term of three years.”
Silver told Poynter in early 2011 that FiveThirtyEight’s traffic grew 40 percent after he moved the blog to the Times. The traffic benefit soon accrued to the Times — on Nov. 5, 20 percent of NYTimes.com visitors stopped at Silver’s blog, Marc Tracy reported.
Silver said on Twitter that ESPN’s Grantland is “a model for what new 538 will look like.” The publication will hire some people, he wrote in the tweet. So it follows that ESPN would want to own the URL. But it’s not like giving up the valuable fivethirtyeight URL would sink future Silver ventures, should he and ESPN divorce.
Natesilver.com is no longer available, according to a WhoIs search. But Natesilver538.com is currently for sale. And drunknatesilver.com, which draws on an actually funny Internet incident from last year, can be yours for $60 or best offer.
Other Nate Silver stuff:
• Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan says Silver never “really fit into the Times culture and I think he was aware of that.”
A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work. The first time I wrote about him I suggested that print readers should have the same access to his writing that online readers were getting. I was surprised to quickly hear by e-mail from three high-profile Times political journalists, criticizing him and his work. They were also tough on me for seeming to endorse what he wrote, since I was suggesting that it get more visibility.
Sullivan writes that she should be counted among those dismayed he’s leaving.
• Time’s James Poniewozik says it may be a mistake to view the competition for Silver as a zero-sum proposition:
The media love to put a face on a story, and the upshot of coverage like this is often to exaggerate the accomplishments and unique infallibility of one person. But not to take away from Silver, other people are part of the same movement; leaving aside sabermetrics in sports, to take just one political-data example, the Princeton Election Consortium has also been remarkably effective at using poll aggregation. So the big question is not “Where does Nate go next?” or even “Who will be the next Nate?” but how will media outlets adopt his ideas—like numeracy as a journalistic skill and the power of big data—as part of standard journalistic practice. Many are already starting to realize that—the New York Times prominent among them. If that’s the trend going forward, Nate Silver can win, and so can the ESPN and New York Times, and so can everyone else.