Readers will 'eventually choose the juicy truth over a heartwarming hoax,' says Nick Denton

In an email to staffers Tuesday, Gawker Media honcho Nick Denton said it was "bad news" that BuzzFeed beat Gawker in traffic in November. Upworthy, which he describes as "even smarmier than Buzzfeed," is "nipping at our heels," Denton writes.

But Gawker sites had 106 million unique visitors last month, he writes, and its Kinja platform will likely even the race. While Gawker is "not completely averse to crowd-pleasing," Denton writes, Deadspin's Manti Teo story shows "the crowd will eventually choose the juicy truth over a heartwarming hoax."

Full memo:

The bad news... We got overtaken by Buzzfeed in November. They surged to 133m global uniques. Damn. That's impressive. And Upworthy -- even smarmier than Buzzfeed -- .is nipping at our heels.

They'll likely stay ahead until Kinja comes into its own next year. The race is on.

The good news: even with Kinja still under construction, Gawker & Co surpassed previous levels, with 106m global uniques in November.

That's a great foundation for expansion, one that most media companies would kill for, even if they're more likely to die for it.

The Gawker Media network ranks at 21 in the US as measured by Quantcast, the highest rank we've seen. And this is cool: among mobile users, Gawker, Gizmodo, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Jezebel and Jalopnik were all among Quantcast's top 100 sites.

Buzzfeed and Upworthy may be the most shameless, but we're ourselves not completely averse to crowd-pleasing.

Neetzan's media technique -- ethical viral engineering, I call it -- received some deserved recognition in the Wall Street Journal today. And Jesus and Casey at Sploid already added more than 4m US uniques to Gizmodo in November.

Kinja -- which enlists readers as contributors to listicles as well as other collaborative editorial projects -- will take us the next level up.

And ultimately -- as Deadspin demonstrated with the story of Manti Teo's girlfriend -- the crowd will eventually choose the juicy truth over a heartwarming hoax.

See you at next week's all-hands and the holiday party if not before!


Related: Is viral content the next bubble?

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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