Add the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today to the growing list of old-media titans surpassed by Gawker media, as Nick Denton's empire of snark angles to become one of the leading content producers online. Gawker, which once began as a Manhattan media gossip site, now claims more unique monthly visitors (18.9 million) than all newspapers except The New York Times (and, if it counts, fellow new-media creation, The Huffington Post).
In a traffic memo that wound up in the hands of The Awl's Choire Sicha (whose site, ironically, resembles the purported "golden age" of Gawker), Nick Denton explains how his network of websites beat out some of the most venerable names in news. Apparently, using baseball imagery, it's due to multiple "singles" and a "few home runs" sprinkled in:
It's not that we benefited from any gigantic stories. The top 10 are the usual mix of helpful (how to opt out of Facebook Places) and surprising (Greek statues were tacky, Justin Bieber sounds cooler slowed down) and gratuitous (yet more athlete dong.)
He also casually outlined his plan for taking on potential rivals AOL and Yahoo! as they ramp-up their content production efforts:
A note of caution, however: the newspapers are now the least of our competition. The inflated expectations of investors and executives may one day explode the Huffington Post. And Yahoo and AOL are in long-term decline. But they are all increasingly in our business. And we have a long way to go before we can surpass them.
(As an Awl commenter pointed out: The fact that Gawker is beating out newspapers for unique visitors is no doubt a feat, but notably absent from the comparison chart Denton provides is the gossip juggernaut, and competitor, TMZ.)