Nick Denton is the founder of Gawker Media. Gawker Media is the publisher of the eponymous Gawker and gadget sensation Gizmodo. The influential media group now produces eight original brands with a collective audience of over 40 million global readers.
Before this, Nick founded two internet ventures in the late 1990s: Moreover Technologies, the news search provider, acquired by Verisign; and First Tuesday. Nick — who is half-Hungarian — began his media career as a reporter for the Economist and the Financial Times during the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. While the FT’s investment banking correspondent he co-wrote All That Glitters, the account of the rogue trader who brought down Barings Bank.
Interview with Nick Denton
Portada: What would you advise a young professional who wants to be a digital media entrepreneur?
Nick Denton: I’d advise a young professional to be something else before “digital media entrepreneur.”Be a gossip, a gadget obsessive, a retailer of baby clothes, anything really. Being a digital media entrepreneur alone is like being into the feel of paper, it’s a characteristic, not a profession. Most entrepreneurs won’t make as much money as they would have with day jobs in banking or law. So they’d better have some purpose other than merely success in business.
Portada: And for those who are already involved in this industry, what is your view of programmatic trading and ad-networks as a source of revenue for digital publishers? Do they bring in enough revenue to sustain a digital media property?
Nick Denton: Real-time ad exchanges can help in monetizing traffic spikes — something that would be useful when one of our sites has a story like the Manti Teo girlfriend hoax or the discovery of the iPhone prototype. But we threw out the ad networks more than half a decade ago. They cannibalize direct sales and condemn a publisher to existence on the economic margins.
Portada: Is native advertising/ content marketing really the way to go for digital media properties?
Nick Denton: Native advertising is usually just advertorial or sponsored content, repackaged to secure a little attention from the ad trades and media buyers. For advertising to be truly native in an interactive medium, it should be interactive. And I don’t mean that the marketer asks some empty question — what do you think? — and then ignores the answer. New discussion systems such as Branch and Gawker’s Kinja give marketers as well as sources the opportunity to engage intelligently with journalists and readers. That’s the only variety of online marketing that I’d describe as truly native.
Portada: Did you ever think to complement your digital offerings with print or broadcast?
Nick Denton: No. What’s our expertise? Not the production of original video. Or coverage of tedious political ritual. We provide curation and discussion of that video and political events. And in that process we may popularize a TV show or move a story forward. But that’s a by-product of what we do, not the central purpose.
Portada: Regarding your Latin American and US Hispanic ambitions, how is your venture progressing?
Nick Denton: The momentum is gathering. April uniques fores.gizmodo.com were — off a low base — 50% above March. That’s how this starts. And the Kinja discussion platform will allow Hispanic technology influencers to contribute to the stories — rather than just consuming them passively. It’s discussion environments that will prove key in markets which don’t as yet support large paid local-language editorial staffs.