Denton changes Gawker's focus to chasing unique users
LONDON - Gawker Media blog network boss Nick Denton is ditching his much beloved page view bonus targets and is instead telling his bloggers to aim for lots of unique users and stories that score well on social media sites.
Gawker: chasing uniques
In a memo leaked to theAWL.com website, Denton described the new target as "US monthly uniques" representing a measure of each site's domestic US audience.
He said over time he wanted bloggers to focus their efforts on stories that have the potential to break on Twitter and Facebook as well as those that could spark TV coverage.
Measurement tools will also be introduced on stories detailing the number of mentions on Twitter and external referrals each news item receives.
Later in the year he intends those stories scoring well with high numbers of uniques or registering prominently on social media sites will get even greater prominence on the front page - and to remain there much longer.
Denton, whose blogging business spans Gawker - which includes Valleywag and Defamer - and the Deadspin, Gizmodo and io9.com blogs said that "some pageviews are worth more than others" and an item that gets picked up and draws in new visitors is worth more than "a catnip slideshow that our existing readers can't help but click upon".
He said the shift would improve Gawker's editorial and "encourage original reporting and original thought".
Denton said: "The system will reward sites which recruit new readers rather than pandering to a well-established clique. Our editorial will be better as a result."
Gawker pays its writers partly with a bonus scheme that previously rewarded staff in terms of pageviews. It is a system Denton has said is a way of "inspiring" young writers.
However, the system has led to charges that Gawker's sites chase high-profile and traffic-winning gossip over original or longer stories.
Denton wrote: "The 2010 system is pretty similar to the one we have had. The individual and site bonuses will be consolidated. Each site will be given a target. The initial target is simply the average US uniques of the last 12 months.... Let's take an example. io9's monthly US uniques started 2008 at about the 800,000 level.
"The target for the first three months of this year is 1.06m. If the site were to hit 1.2m, that would represent 13% over the target. Writers and editors would receive an average of about 13% bonus in addition to their salary or fees."
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