Ken Layne, one of the founders of LAExaminer.com back in the day, has some investors and is taking over Wonkette, the Washington D.C. politics site where he is the managing editor. Wonkette is the blog put on the map by Ana Marie Cox, but Gawker Media chief Nick Denton explains below why he spun it off. Travel site Gridskipper is joining the Curbed family of blogs, and Gawker's music site — Idolator — is going to Buzznet. Some of Denton's memo, via Politico's Michael Calderone:
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.
Music audiences are fragmented across genres; Maura's Idolator gave Stereogum a good run, but a group with a whole array of music sites will command more attention from record labels than we could. In the case of Gridskipper, our urban travel guide, we could never match Curbed in attention to city-specific content and advertising. As for Wonkette: political advertisers are a strange breed; they don't come through the same agencies our sales people deal with.
I'm relieved we've found pretty decent homes for the three sites, and most of their writers, but we're gutted to lose them. Idolator's Pop Critic's Poll was a tremendous coup—and Patric's bleeding-heart logo for the site was one of my favorites. Gridskipper is so far the most sophisticated travel blog: it entirely deserved its inclusion in Time's list of the 50 coolest websites.
And Wonkette is one of the brands with which the company is most associated; people will be shocked that we would ever part with it. The political site has won an array of Bloggies and other awards; it introduced the word ass-fucking into the dictionary of political abuse; the founding editor's slippers are even on display in the new media museum in Washington, DC. And Ken and his team have brought a new liveliness to the site this election season—validated by the record traffic of the last three months.
Layne also was behind the short-lived Sploid and had been part of former mayor Richard Riordan's team on the never-lived printed Los Angeles Examiner.