Short answer: We don’t know. Shorter answer: Probably very. Longer answer: Not nearly as rich as whoever pens Shylock Blogging thinks.
Shylock Blogging looks at the traffic on each of Denton’s 14 sites, based on Sitemeter reports, and concludes that Gawker, Defamer, Valleywag etc. are generating 34 million page views a month week (our mistake — blogging is hard!). Based on a $30 cpm, he concludes, the man behind the Gawker blog network is pulling in $52 million a year.
We think that is wildly overstated: The fact that Denton’s rate card lists a $30 cpm has nothing to do with the rates he actually gets. A more reasonable revenue estimate, we hear, would be closer to $6 million a year (and that’s revenue, not profit, and certainly not Denton’s take of the profit).
But that’s still a nice chunk of change. Denton’s no longer paying his writers and editors subsistence wages, but they’re not getting Portfolio-like pay, either. His back-end costs (basically, a couple bunch of tech people and some sales reps) are spread across 14 different properties. And as far as we know, he’s never had to take on investors — we hear he bootstrapped using money he’d made on previous ventures, then reinvested profits.
Earlier this year Wired threw out a $100 million-plus valuation for Gawker et al. Using that $6 million estimate and a 10x-20x multiple, that seems within the realm of reasonable. Regardless, Denton can certainly order as many caviar omelets as he wants.
UPDATE: A helpful, anonymous, poster notes that Gawker Media traffic continues to surge; the network did 150M page views last month.