Denton has parted ways with titles before, selling Oddjack and shutting down Sploid and Screenhead a few years back. This time he has found new homes for each of his websites. As of today, Wonkette belongs to managing editor Ken Layne. This is the second time Denton has put one of Layneís blogs out to pasture; he was the sole editor of Sploid during its brief-ish run.
During Wonketteís existence I have been an occasional reader and loyal critic. I am a registered commenter on the Gawker network, and every once in awhile I swing by and let them have it. Coincidentally, the most recent time was just last night.
Under Cox, I felt the blog leaned too far to the left while claiming to be non-partisan. Under subsequent editors I let go of that complaint, and moved on to on the fact that it is simply not written for a Beltway audience. It breaks no news and advances no stories; it merely adds a garnish of cheap snark to the dayís headlines. Gawker matters to New York City (well, Manhattan at any rate) and Valleywag matters to the Valley (even if they hate it), but Wonkette offers no special insight on Hollywood for ugly people. Outside itís America, which treats politics like entertainment. Here in the District, Defamer and Deadspin probably matter more, since we donít want to talk shop after hours. But donít take my word for it ó check out the comments at DCist.
The last time Denton tried to make the site relevant to the actual District which it purports to cover, he moved Alex Pareene from New York to DC. Pareene was very funny (and still is on Gawker, for which he writes now) but these new kids ó recent college student Jim Newell and total unknown Sara K. Smith ó are bad Xerox copies. Fittingly, Layne doesnít even live in Washington.
I take Denton entirely at his word in his explanation for selling it:
Why these three sites? To be blunt: they each had their editorial successes; but someone else will have better luck selling the advertising than we did. Ö As for Wonkette: political advertisers are a strange breed; they donít come through the same agencies our sales people deal with.
So now Wonkette returns to Henry Copelandís unique Blogads advertising network, which handles a great deal of political advertising (including Blog P.I., on the infrequent occasions that someone wants to do business with us) and is a much better fit than whatever agency handles Gawkerís advertising.
Ultimately, politics just isnít where the money is. (Donít think for a moment that Mark Penn built that tunnel between his houses in Georgetown with campaign earnings.) But as others note, now is the time to cash out. Traffic is up, likely due to growing interest in the presidential election. And just as you donít want to sell pumpkin futures the day after Halloween, the day before isnít any good either. Better do it while your buyers still have some expectation of getting a return on their investment.
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