When Gawker Media founder Nick Denton talks about plummeting display-ad revenuesas he has often recentlylots of people listen for clues about the market. So when Denton reports that his network of blogs is doing better than expected in both revenues and traffic during a month has traditionally been miserable for the indie blog network, it's also bound cause some people to perk up. Jim Romenesko got ahold of Denton's latest memo to the troops, which notes that the company's ad revenues for 2009 are up by about a fifth over last year so far. Traffic to the entire group of blogs amount to nearly 300 million page views in February, up by 34 percent year-over-year.
Denton attributes the performance in part to new, larger ad units and the fact that the sales team has far fewer sites to concentrate on. The company successfully spun off four properties last year: Gridskipper, Idolator, Wonkette and Consumerist; it also consolidated operations and laid off staff at Valleywag, Defamer and Fleshbot. While Denton was cautiously optimistic, he said that the company couldn't afford to "be complacent," and that he'd continue to cut costs as necessary.
Staying slim may be in Gawker's best interest, according to the WSJ, which highlights the fact that some smaller online publishers are faring relatively well in the face of the ad sales crunch. Local sports blog network SB Nation said traffic rose 15 percent from December to January, even as unique visitors to the sports category fell by 2 percent, per *comScore*; CEO Jim Bankoff told the Journal that ad revenues were rising by 25 percent each month. Bankoff noted that the model only worked for publishers that had lower overhead. Meanwhile, music gossip site Musictoob has been paying its two editors for less than a week, but it brokered a content-distribution deal with *Yahoo* Music in February; the Journal says it's strictly a traffic-sharing deal, but the ensuing surge in page views could help Musictoob garner higher CPM prices in the long run.
Photo Credit: Gnerk
By Tameka Kee