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Gawker Redesign a Success?

Denton: Pageviews on the rise

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As you may recall, Gawker Media recently redesigned a number of its web properties in an interesting way that keeps users on the front page. For example, if you go to Gizmodo, and click on one of the headlines in the column, the story appears in the main section of the front page, rather than going to a separate article page.

The redesign (like many redesigns) was met with plenty of user backlash, and many expected it to drop the sites’ pageviews dramatically, leading to some questioning the business sense of the move. In early March, traffic was down by nearly 25%. Now, however, founder Nick Denton has tweeted the following graph, indicating that pageviews are up:

Gawker monthly pageviews up to 482m. Redesign bet: @fimoculous starts paying when they hit 510m. http://twitpic.com/5b0bv2 2 hours ago via Twitpic · powered by @socialditto

Gawker Pageviews Uo

That bit about @fimoculous paying up is in reference to a bet Denton made with Rex Sorgatz. The wager is reported to be somewhere around a grand.

In related news, Gawker Media has reportedly hired Andrew Gorenstein, Senior Executive Director of Digital Sales at Condé Nast as its new chief advertising officer.

“This is no print dinosaur,” Denton is quoted as saying in an internal Gawker email, alluding to the fact that Gorenstein spent his entire time at Condé Nast on the digital side of things, where Denton admits to being jealous of the publisher’s ad sales.

Gawker Redesign a Success?
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  • J. Caj

    Before the redesign, Denton said repeatedly that he was going after unique visitors because, as he rightly pointed out, uniques are what matter to modern advertisers.

    By March it was clear that his redesign was actually driving away uniques. So to save face, he used linking tricks to artificially inflate page views (e.g. a Gawker post linking to a Jezebel post now requires you to visit a middle-man page). Denton trumpeting his page-views is really a sign of his failure.

    Since the redesign, Quantcast shows that daily visitors have been down at least 25% from previous traffic levels. There has been a slight bounce back in recent months as Denton has walked back on his design changes: for instance, the “version 2.0″ of the ‘blog view’ on the website completely removes the (bugged) headline scroll that appears on the right of the articles. The current ‘blog view’ is essentially a cleaned-up version of the Gawker interface circa 2010. Rolling back the design changes seems to have brought back some visitors.

    So, sure, Denton will probably win his bet. The question is whether Gawker Network will survive the (likely) hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue resulting from the exodus of so many visitors.

  • Mike

    Surely the uptick in page views has something to do with the terrible UI the redesign has forced on Gawker readers. Seeing as one cannot really page backward any longer to browse backwards, you are forced to click a link to navigate anywhere you want to go, hence the increase in pageviews, despite actual site traffic being down.

    Determining the success of the redesign by such a metric is essentially rigging the rules of the game to always favor the house. At least in his deluded universe, Nick Denton is never wrong.

  • J. Tyler

    Regarding the redesign, also CA, UK, and AUS were not redesigned. Note the exact time when these sites shot up in site views. The exact date, rather. The redesign is why. Redesign, total failure.

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