Gawker Media's Nick Denton is taking a defensive crouch ahead of the gathering economic storm. In a memo to staff (first posted by SAI), Denton announced that the blog network would lay off 19 people at certain blogs that have proven difficult to commercialize, including ValleyWag, Consumerist and Fleshbot. At the same time, the network will be adding 10 staffers at its more commercially-oriented sites: Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker and Gawker. Earlier this year, the company sold off three sites, and it has pruned the hedges in the past, but Denton predicts it'll be different this time: But now the credit crisis is clearly going to affect every sector of the economy. Advertising buys typically plunge after the Christmas shopping season, and 2009 is obviously going to be exceptionally difficult. We have to prepare for the worst, now, rather than when the worst comes upon us." In addition, the company is eliminating traffic bonuses, while increasing base pay, to avoid a major discrepancy between costs and income for the coming quarter. Over at ValleyWag, Owen Thomas notes that they've laid off three of their 5 editors, turning it into a two-man show.
By Joseph Weisenthal