Just before New Year's, news came out from AlleyInsider and others about the imminent sale of  Defamer, the online wagazine that touts itself as “The L.A. Gossip Rag.” Defamer is among a clutch of Web titles, including Consumerist and Wonkette, that are up for sale or have been folded by Nick Denton. Brit expat Denton, whose flagship site, Gawker, redefined the importance and style of gossip reporting in contemporary life, is the subject of an in-depth profile by the Independent's Ian Burrell.

Among the quotes about Denton's empire, estimated to be worth $150 million:

“Together, the blogs under the Gawker Media banner collectively generate around a quarter of a billion page views per month, outstripping more established news organisation rivals including the Los Angeles Times.”

On Denton's practice of paying writers by the number of page views their stories generate:

“Maggie Shnayerson, an associate editor of Gawker, was emailed by Denton last year with the following message: “I don't think you're suited to the pace of Gawker. Last month, you got about 400,000 page views; this month you're at 160,000. You should be doing some 670,000 views a month to justify your advance.”

Denton's empire now finds itself on the short end of vanishing online display advertising, and has bluntly gauged the staggering odds of survival facing online Web startups: “”Most websites are still way too small to register with the audience-tracking services that [advertising] agencies rely upon.”

LA Weekly