Caitlin Petre’s comparison of how Gawker and the New York Times use audience metrics for Columbia Journalism’s Tow Center is a long, but interesting read for anyone wanting to nerd-out on Gawker, media, blogging and the Kinja platform.
Of course some of the more fascinating are the blind quotes. One Jezebel staffer would like them to surpass Deadspin; an editor from a smaller site complained that Gawker didn’t re-top their post about a video, which meant they didn’t get extra traffic for something they had covered first. There’s also probably going to be some speculation as to who is quoted saying they hate commenters. (As you might imagine, I have guesses on all three. Though there are others I’m still trying to figure-out, like which television finale caught someone by surprise)
Obviously they’re now “evolving” (more like dismantling) Kinja because it’s been such a failure. The system held a lot of promise and it could still be salvaged, but Nick Denton lost his focus and few, if anyone, within the company could see what it could become. (Denton included)
During my time at Gawker, then-editorial director Joel Johnson emailed each site’s editorial staff about a new policy that writers were expected to participate in the comments section of at least 80 percent of their posts (and called out, by name, those who had failed to meet the target). However, there was no systematic way to measure or quantify the quality of these interactions, and some writers told me it was easy to hit the 80 percent target by responding to comments with, “great point!” or a similarly superficial contribution. To spend more time engaging with commenters, they said, would decrease their post count, which could, in turn, depress their number of unique visitors and their site’s chance of getting a bonus.
It is kind of interesting that there was at least some attempt to reward bloggers for interacting within the comments — Nick once said that it’d be a requirement of further employment and they’d probably have to change compensation — but apparently there was little definition to how the system was administered. (Based on the quote, it sounds like incentive monies may have been given to the site leads and it was up to them how it was to be distributed. They used a similar method for traffic bonuses, maybe six years ago)
Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff there and whether it’s for the gossip, site derision or simply because it’s an excellent glimpse into the current state of media, all or in part, I recommend.
(Note: Report is also downloadable as a pdf and ebook for reading on the go)