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Gawker.com
December 18, 2002 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Gawker.com has arrived. All about New York, "Condé Nastiness, downwardly-mobile i-bankers, real estate porn -- the serious stuff". It's all good. It also looks like the latest attempt to make a living out of blogging. Will that ever happen?
posted by zimbobzim (47 comments total)

 
That weblog is a yuppie disaster.
posted by the fire you left me at 10:50 AM on December 18, 2002


It's not so bad. But yeah, it does lean to the yuppish side of things. I inhabit (more or less, long story) , a different NYC.

I have an idea for something similar documenting that New York. I even have a great title. Which I'm not revealing cause someone will steal it.
posted by jonmc at 10:57 AM on December 18, 2002


I like it: it's the online New York Observer for the weblog set. I'll definitely be reading. I am a little worried that, as New York Magazine and the New York Observer get shallower and shallower, that we're all following suit. I mean, there IS a recession going on. ;)

Two things though: it's not really a weblog, though, is it, without permanent links to posts, or at least days? And also, it's busted for IE 5.2/osx.2, the sidebar and other stuff is all clumped at the bottom.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:01 AM on December 18, 2002


this page does not load on my stupid IE for mac.
posted by sodalinda at 11:05 AM on December 18, 2002


Designed by our very own Jason Kottke.
posted by riffola at 11:14 AM on December 18, 2002


I think there are permanent links to posts - in the post headlines. And there's nothing wrong with yuppies, if they bring in the advertisers that is. You would have thought they would have spotted the browser problem though.
posted by zimbobzim at 11:21 AM on December 18, 2002


Gawker.com seems to be the web equivalent of Rodger Swanson from the film Rodger Dodger. I hope that I never meet anyone like him, and I hope I never see that website again. Gag me with a bourgeois spoon!
posted by ArcAm at 11:25 AM on December 18, 2002


Thumbs up. It reads rather like Ellis's American Psycho. Actually if you view this page immediately after the German cannibal thing, it reads exactly like American Psycho.
posted by mmcg at 11:25 AM on December 18, 2002


Was 'oursocalledlife.com' taken, then?
posted by riviera at 11:31 AM on December 18, 2002


it's busted for IE 5.2/osx.2

Insert obligatory Chimera plug.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:38 AM on December 18, 2002


Contrast this site with City Blogs, if you like.
posted by jonah at 11:39 AM on December 18, 2002


Oh, you're right, the headlines are links. It would have taken me a while to get that. Duh me.

Anyway, you're right on the money with the Bret Easton Ellis aesthetic. It's like the late 80s never stopped! Yay! More coke and degradation! More dead supermodels! More walkers and laxative-popping socialites!

Oh there we go. Looks much better in Opera.

What does it mean when a weblog has an editor and a publisher? Ah, answer here: they want to make money. Good luck with that!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 12:15 PM on December 18, 2002


The phrase "real estate porn" makes me want to vomit.
posted by four panels at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2002


I like it.

In contrast to 90% of the blogs out there, this guy actually does some interesting stuff sometimes. I don't live in NYC anymore, but I'll keep my eye out on this blog for events I might want to attend or things I may want to do. Sometimes I take day trips to NYC.

Witold
posted by Witold at 12:33 PM on December 18, 2002


It needs a stronger voice. It's early -- no doubt it will develop one -- but, reading that page now, all the items feel disconnected, with nothing (at least, nothing apparent to me) tieing them all together. (Random pieces of Hollywood gossip? Maryland inmates' reading habits? Any time they strayed from the NYC angle, I felt lost.)

Then again, maybe a strong voice is just a question of familiarity.

Also, did anyone else get confused by the banner ad at the top of the content column? I didn't realize it was an ad until I tried to figure out just what the hell it was. (Though part of that might be because my browser (IE5/Mac, also) didn't display the right-hand column properly until I refreshed.)
posted by mattpfeff at 12:49 PM on December 18, 2002


Yes, the positioning/context of the ad is confusing for a first time visitor.
posted by xiffix at 1:20 PM on December 18, 2002


I'm, um, the writer. "editor" is a perhaps a bit of a misnomer, but we thought it sounded better than "entire freelance writing staff."

re: yuppie disaster. yeah, that was kind of the point.

it's satire. bad satire, perhaps (depending on your perspective) but satire, nonetheless.

re: making a living. we hope to make money off it--at least enough to break even, but we're not exactly leasing the G5 yet. I get paid to do it, but I'm a freelance writer. it's not a full-time job. i wouldn't say i'm "making a living" blogging, and i wouldn't say i plan to.

nick's other blog, gizmodo, is nearly breaking even, with no actual marketing. (These things are pretty inexpensive to maintain, even when you're paying people to write.) the idea isn't build a media empire out of a single blog, (a la andrew sullivan) but to use it as a means to other things. nick's core project is more like his old company, Moreover.

feedback is much appreciated.
posted by lizs at 1:34 PM on December 18, 2002


I think it's ok, for what it is...i'd love to see more original content, or even more commentary on the links (or was it my browser?)...watching the growth of it shd be interesting....

Meanwhile, i wholeheartedly recommend Flavorpill.
(most of all because even tho it's just about events, it gets me involved--with contests, etc.) It's not just something to read passively. (kinda like why i like it here!)
posted by amberglow at 2:54 PM on December 18, 2002


oop--it was my browser...reloading made the whole right side appear! Now i like it better : > (and keep up the gossip roundup!)
posted by amberglow at 2:58 PM on December 18, 2002


i kinda liked worldnewyork when it was around :D needs mo nickles!
posted by kliuless at 4:50 PM on December 18, 2002


Reads sorta like a vintage MAD magazine, slightly sophomoric, but it didn't inspire me to actually visit any links.
posted by DBAPaul at 5:11 PM on December 18, 2002


It's good so long as it doesn't recirculate the usual NYC people, sites, news, and Web developers! (So far so good!) I'd lose the blogrolling entirely, actually - it would make for a more interesting design and a more newsworthy and content-focused site.
posted by boardman at 5:22 PM on December 18, 2002


Re: blogrolling, why are there links to Google, Yahoo, Kottke, Amazon, eBay and the New York Times? It would be funny if the links didn't work correctly, a la early Suck, but this is just high school Web page "hyper-linking."
posted by boardman at 5:29 PM on December 18, 2002


Who better to produce a website about New York City but someone from the Alabama as editor, dot-com multimillionare from UK as publisher, and dot-com guy from Minneapolis via San Francisco as designer? I think we're all smelling the sweet smell of success here.

Sincerely, best of luck to them. If they can't make it, shitheads like the rest of us don't stand a chance.
posted by crunchland at 6:26 PM on December 18, 2002


i kinda liked worldnewyork when it was around :D needs mo nickles!

Thank you, my pet. It's been a year since I killed it (for the third time, actually). I still get email asking me when it's going to be restarted, and comments like yours. Maybe soon, when I can fully flesh out the new blog paradigm... We'll see.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:19 PM on December 18, 2002


Mo, can I sign up somewhere so you can send out an email and let me and anyone else who wants to know, know when it'll be back?
posted by riffola at 10:21 PM on December 18, 2002


Another
Trendy
Apple-Polishing
Sycophantic
Glibster Swishing
Arch-Eyebrowed
Elbow-Nudging
Almanac
For
Clingy
Winking
Insiders.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

It's just such a magical city. Look at all the lights...
posted by Opus Dark at 1:16 AM on December 19, 2002


It seems nice enough and I wish them every success, but I can't help but think the design is under par for Kottke.

Wow, I just went to Nick Denton's homepage.. he looks like fellow-Brit DJ Chris Moyles! And you can read a classic Denton article about Kottke in the Guardian here!

Either way, the Web needs more sites like this. London could certainly do with one, as it doesn't even have anything approaching the coolness of CraigsList.
posted by wackybrit at 3:31 AM on December 19, 2002


What happened to the Metatalk discussion about this post and Kottke's Metafilter comment?
posted by Voyageman at 3:11 PM on December 19, 2002


Just visited Denton's site where he mentions Gawker.

"It's target audience is the city's media and financial elite," says he.

"Oh, really? How dreadful..." says I.

NYC is a fascinating place. Gawker, however, is boring and pretentious. A friend of mine referred to Gawker as "quasi-noxious", which seems about right.

Oh, and if Gawker didn't come off as snooty enough, you should read the chat session they posted. I'll copy it here, in part because it makes it easier to read, and in part because I don't want to give Gawker the link.

lizsnyc: wow. number 1 on blogdex. whose swiss bank account did we stuff for that?
ndenton: no one important. some geek. number one on popdex, too.
lizsnyc: someone on metafilter says they hope they never see the site again.
ndenton: key phrase: "someone on metafilter."
lizsnyc: valid point.
ndenton: lots of people appear to like it. then again, lots of people are pathological liars.
lizsnyc: and we would know.
ndenton: no idea what you're talking about.
lizsnyc: if we get lots of traffic and make no money, does that mean we can acquire Time Warner? there's certainly a precedent.
ndenton: would we *want* to acquire Time Warner?
lizsnyc: valid point.

(Hint to lizsnyc & ndenton - Great way to make friends... arrogant pricks. This is content?! You suck.)

I got my NYC fix though... Linda Wolfe sent me the latest BB GUN, because she is a very nice person. She also knows lots of cool people, which is why members of Sonic Youth contribute to her zine. Check it out if you get the chance.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:48 PM on December 19, 2002


this page does not load on my stupid IE for mac

It should load fine now. IE on the Mac didn't like one of the divs I was using. Taking it out seems to have solved the problem. Further bug reports are welcome.

"Oh, really? How dreadful..." says I.

Why is that dreadful? NYC's media and financial elite gotta have something to read too. Besides, they'd probably think your Linda Wolfe/"lots of cool people"/Sonic Youth namedropping is dreadful.

I can't help but think the design is under par for Kottke

How so? (I mean this in a constructive way, not in a "oh yeah, you think you could do any better?" way. Always looking to improve, learn from mistakes, etc.)
posted by jkottke at 4:38 PM on December 19, 2002


Jason -

Just 'cause you have a target market doesn't make it so, and the idea of targetting "NYC's media and financial elite" is a pretty poor one. NYC's media and financial elite have better things to do with their time than read your weblog, especially considering what you currently have to offer them. Most of the people who will read it will be (surprise!) webloggers from NYC.

What really turns me off about gawker is the rather smug, elitist, "what we say matters" tone of the site so far. It's so thick that even NYC's media and financial elite will find it a turnoff.

Truth is, what you say doesn't matter all that much. What your readers have to say and what you could learn from them is probably a thousand times more interesting and relevant. Posting private chatlogs as content? Give me a break...

And yeah, while your design is functional, it is also boring, in almost exactly the same way that NYC is not... Nothing about the design says NYC to me, with the possible exception of the text. Frankly, WholeLottaNothing's design says more unintentionally about S.F. than Gawker says about NYC on purpose... and Matt doesn't even live there anymore.

I do mean all this in a constructive way, however. That will be 25 cents, please.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:32 PM on December 19, 2002


"They'd probably think your Linda Wolfe/"lots of cool people"/Sonic Youth namedropping is dreadful."

Jason, the media and financial elite probably wouldn't even know who Sonic Youth is... however, the readers of gawker probably would know, as they are neither the media nor the financial elite.

...and as for Linda Wolfe knowing Sonic Youth, it's not an attempt at namedropping. Linda is married to Bob Bert, who was in Sonic Youth, which is why they get contributions from people like Thurston Moore, Chris Buck, Kim Gordon, Richard Kern, etc.

There's another idea for gawker. Get some interesting contributions. Better yet, let the audience do more of the work, because they know better than you what interests them.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:45 PM on December 19, 2002


I am in the media elite and I love it.

Well I think I'm in the media elite and I like it so far, to be honest.
posted by cell divide at 5:58 PM on December 19, 2002


What really turns me off about gawker is the rather smug, elitist, "what we say matters" tone of the site so far. It's so thick that even NYC's media and financial elite will find it a turnoff.

You're just a touch off base here. Nevermind how you read the site's tone (I don't read it that way at all, and to be honest I think few New Yorkers would); the thing is that if anything the biggest risk facing a site like this would be that it fail to be brassy enough to speak to that audience. It's all about attitude. If Gawker's too meek and respectful, it'll fall on its face.

ndenton: key phrase: "someone on metafilter."

This also read badly to me. Overall I don't imagine it's meant as any serious slam on MeFi -- seems more like a typical (New York-like, actually), "They don't like it? Who gives a shit what they say"-type remark -- but it's too easy to read it as a cut, harshing on MeFites being the pastime it seems to be these days. But Nick should give lizs a raise if she's got to both write and edit....
posted by mattpfeff at 7:15 PM on December 19, 2002


I got it! It's like Playboy, right?

Where you read about making the perfect martini and choosing the best audio equipment for $30,000 and how to buy a Ferrari and how to convince your girlfriend to do a menage à trois; even though you only drink beer, all the audio equipment you can afford is a sony discman, your car is rotting in the street because you don't have money for a mechanic and you don't even have a girlfriend to start with.

It's like Playboy. We read it, and we make believe we are part of NYC's financial and media elite.

Even though they do not read it.
posted by falameufilho at 6:13 AM on December 20, 2002


"designed by our own Jason Kottke"

Who doesn't seem especially fondof Metafilter.
posted by mecran01 at 10:34 AM on December 20, 2002


Starting to sound very much like East Coast Biggies ve West Coast Tupacs.
posted by Voyageman at 2:26 PM on December 20, 2002


Who doesn't seem especially fondof Metafilter.

I've seen this repeated in a few places, but no matter how many times I read Jason's post, I see no hint of negativity towards MetaFilter. He's just saying there are a lot of words here, whole book amounts of words.

A good deal of people are misinterpretting Jason's post (if I don't take any offense whatsoever, what is everyone else reading into it?) and misinterpretting gawker. Gawker is playful, goofy, gossipy fun. It's supposed to be fluff. It's self-aware fluff for the sake of fluff. Sure maybe it's a bit of a wankjob, but it's always in jest. I find it highly entertaining, and I hate to say it, but I found Nick Denton's comments entertaining as well.
posted by mathowie at 2:32 PM on December 20, 2002


Starting to sound very much like East Coast Biggies ve West Coast Tupacs.
...except that we've got Kottke on the East Coast now. And the MetaFilter server lives in... you guessed it, New York City. On the Upper West Side, no less. Seems more like the problem, as ever, is that the folks in the flyover zone just don't get it.
posted by anildash at 3:10 PM on December 20, 2002


I can't tell, are any of the people writing/running Gawker actually located here in NYC?
posted by astruc at 3:57 PM on December 20, 2002


Actually I quite liked it. I thought some of the metaphysical imagary was particularly impressive ...
posted by feelinglistless at 6:00 PM on December 20, 2002


It's very attractive and yet just sort of snooty, in a way that makes me think of Dave Eggers and the McSweeneys bunch. Clubby, smug, smart, and seemingly not-totally-sincere about anything. Not really out-there enough to be satire; too much of it reads like real NYC posturing. There's a difference between snideness and satire. It reminds me of the few months after Spy Magazine stopped being funny. Then again, for the folks working on it, that might be the good news, I'm no one's target market.

A lot of people in my age group seem to love that sort of thing, it just ldoesn't engage me [and, on a design note, the page scrolls too far]. However, on the bright side, I don't need to read it! Over all I guess it's just a shrug, I'm more of a Hoboken gal myself anyhow.
posted by jessamyn at 7:00 PM on December 20, 2002


too much of it reads like real NYC posturing

Maybe. But not everybody in New York is all sophisticated and shit. I work in the city and I'm so sincere it's pathetic.

Actually, the only way to be a true cultural rebel these days would be to act credulous, earnest and goggle-eyed and to get visibly pants-wetting excited and evangelically vocal about whatever you like and to not give a frogs fat ass about appearances or status. Utter cultural obliviousness is a a plus too.

This all comes naturally to me, so I shall be the bew leader. Actually, a lotta Noo Yawkers are like me. Prolly most of those sophisto hipsters under the surface.

It may impress people when you stare at your shoetops, but it's more fun to look up at all the big buildings says I.
posted by jonmc at 7:23 PM on December 20, 2002


Actually, the only way to be a true cultural rebel these days would be to act credulous, earnest and goggle-eyed and to get visibly pants-wetting excited and evangelically vocal about whatever you like and to not give a frogs fat ass about appearances or status.

Oh, please. That's so 1999.

I confess, I can't bring myself to check out Gawker yet because of all the comparisons made above. I work in big media in New York, but I'm definitely not elite. (Those would be the people in the black Town Cars, right? The ones who get nights and weekends off? The ones who have disposable income? Not that I'm bitter...) (Disclaimer: Actually, I really really like my job.)

It's just my experience that usually anything that straight-facedly markets itself to "elites" is full of self-indulgent, self-important, overweening crap. The media industry, particularly in New York, has enough of this already. It offends my egalitarian streak.

I'm thinking of New York magazine here. I read it regularly since the last guy who lived in my apartment apparently subscribed and hasn't bothered to change his address. I first picked it up (and continue to read it) for the good listings of movies, art stuff, et cetera. But damn near every issue gets thrown across the room at some point because of the pretentious, fatuous tone that predominates. And the assumption that the narrow set chronicled in its pages is the ONLY aspect of New York worth talking about.

But hell, I'm conflicted here. I'll most likely check it out and it might turn into a guilty pleasure. If I can keep from throwing my laptop across the room.
posted by Vidiot at 11:15 PM on December 20, 2002


oh, and I'm looking forward to your site, jonmc..
posted by Vidiot at 11:24 PM on December 20, 2002


Where you read about making the perfect martini and choosing the best audio equipment for $30,000 and how to buy a Ferrari and how to convince your girlfriend to do a menage à trois

See I read that and I thought 'Loaded Online', which would be passe but potentially naughty and compulsive. But no. It's all a bit dull.

From the site: Things The Gawker Editorial Staff May or May Not Have Regrettably Purchased While Intoxicated:

4. Chicken tikka masala at "Curry in a Hurry" on 28th and Lex For a woman (?) of Central European origins.
5. A meal at T.G.I. Friday's. (We were in Prague at the time, paying something like $0.04 for top shelf liquor, and had just experienced a rather traumatizing encounter with Czech food. Surely that excuses it.)
6. A meal at Planet Hollywood. (We were in Amsterdam at the time. We were just drunk. No real excuse there.)


Jesus. These are drinking stories? We went to TGI Friday's? Not funny enough, not dangerous enough, not true enough. Tame, tame, tame.
posted by Summer at 6:28 AM on December 21, 2002


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