About a month ago, Gawker Media owner Nick Denton scared the crap out of everyone saying ad revenues could plummet as much as 40% during the current downturn.
But now he tells us Gawker Media’s revenues are actually up — just under 40%, he says.
Specifically, Gawker Media’s November 2008 ad revenues were 39% higher than than they were in November 2007.
So wherefrom all this growth amid all the gloom?
(Before we continue, let’s all pause to wonder if and how much Denton benefits from his own doom and gloom public service announcements. For one, it must nice to be able to blame the pain associated with always painful business model adjustments on a macroeconomic climate. For two, do his pronouncements every petrify the competition into paralysis? Don’t know, but don’t doubt that people feel them physically.)
Denton attributes about 20% of the gains to adding Google ads to each site’s search results. Other big drivers include more sponsored posts and larger ad units, such as marquee-takeovers and expanded leaderboards.
“High-end sites need to run bigger and richer ads — the same way that glossy magazines run gorgeous spreads,” says Denton.
The good November hasn’t put Denton out of his pessimitic mood. Gawker laid off three writers and an editorial assistant this morning anyway. The cuts come from popular and profitible Gawker sites Gawker.com, Jezebel and Gizmodo.
“You could argue that we’re being perversely conservative,” owner Nick Denton tells us.
Gawker editor Sheila McClear, weekend editor Alex Carnevale, and Jezebel editorial assistant Maria-Mercedes Lara have all been let go, while three other editors at Jezebel are being made into part-time employees. At Gizmodo, Gawker Media’s top traffic-getter, reporter Benny Goldman was laid off. Last week, video assistant Nick McGlynn was fired after more than a year at Gawker.