1. Monday, April 14, 2008

    you know i love my man ken layne 

    so i really appreciate him doing an interview with me for the LA Times blog Web Scout

    here was one of my favorite back-and-forths that we had during our 50 minute google chat:

    Web Scout: Why on earth do you think Denton would sell Wonkette in the middle of a presidential race?

    Ken: It’s a good time for the site to make a move, when everything’s about politics. But Gawker’s ad people just aren’t going to move to D.C. and sell political ads for one site when they’re selling 200-plus million impressions for gadgets and consumer things. So if we’re going to do well, we need ad people who understand political blogs and an agency that sells a ton of political advertising.

    Web Scout: Denton says that he has a hard time selling ads for the three blogs it is selling off, not just yours, so wouldn’t an intelligent man then fire his sales team instead of the blogs?

    Ken: Well, if any of those blogs were doing the kind of traffic Gizmodo does, then yes. I mean, in a way it’s going back to the whole ideal of the news blog: One or two people do the editorial, BlogAds sells the inventory, and you kind of omit the whole “publisher” part of the model. It’s the Matt Drudge/Perez Hilton/Fark way of doing the Internet, which of course is the way I like to work, at home, with my cocktails and e-mail. And necktie and jacket — I always put on my tie before I go to my office. Must have workplace dignity.

    Web Scout: What is your drink of choice nowadays?

    Ken: For live-blogging, it’s Jameson on the rocks. Otherwise, bordeaux and pinot noir.

    Web Scout: Nothing American? Now I see your ways. OK, now according to Technorati, Wonkette is ranked #63, meaning there are only 62 blogs more popular than your site in the whole world. How is it that Denton seems to think that Wonkette, Idolator and Gridskipper combined only account for 3% of Gawker Media’s traffic? Could that be true?

    Ken: There is a Coppola claret that we like a lot, and buy by the case. It’s from California.

    Web Scout: Good save. And Sofia can really stomp a grape, I hear.

    Ken: It is true, the traffic figures. Now, Wonkette is one of the very top politics blogs. We did 6 million pages last month — another record — and 1.2 million unique visitors. We’re a very big politics site, no doubt. But it’s also true that Gawker sites did 200-plus million views last month. And there’s your 3%.

    Obviously, I like political news to be subsidized by fluff. This is why whatever half-naked tart of the month is on the cover of Vanity Fair, but inside you get these great news features and investigations and political rants. I don’t mind that situation. But the truth is that fewer publishers/broadcasters in any medium are willing to subsidize news and politics. Tribune Co. doesn’t want to do it, the TV networks don’t want to do it.

    read the whole thing here and dont miss the part where i asked if Nick Denton sold Wonkette because he was afraid of dissing a black or a woman if one of them became president