Gawker Media’s roll out of a new design at the beginning of February 2011 has cost the new media giant dearly, with online tracking tools showing that many of its sites have bled traffic in the past 5 weeks.
Top of the list is gadget blog Gizmodo, which according to Alexa has dropped a whopping 69.5% of page views in the month to March 10. Alexa also notes pageviews dropping by 67.1% on Gawker.com, 66.3% on Kotaku, 65.9% on Jezebel, 63.1% on Deadspin, and 61.3% on io9. Lifehacker seems to have survived the template change more lightly, dropping only 40.6% of its pageviews.
We do respect the argument that Alexa isn’t the most accurate of analytics tools, but the drops are also reflected on Quantcast, which while in our opinion significantly under counts traffic, does give an overall idea as to which direction traffic is heading. In the case of the entire Gawker Media network, via direct measure, Quantcast records a fall from around 31 million people visiting sites in February to roughly 24 million as of today, a drop of approx 23%. Impressions have dropped from roughly 440m per month to 350m per month over the same period, a drop of 20%.
Founder and CEO Nick Denton confirmed an initial drop, stating to the PaidContent conference at the beginning of March that traffic was down around 25%, but he’s confident the traffic will return.
Nearly 2 weeks later and the Gawker sites would appear to have declined even further.
Nick Denton should be congratulated for his ongoing efforts to push blog design and new media in new directions, and he has done so very successfully over the years. Based on these numbers though we think this time he may have pushed too far, and it clearly will be hurting his bottom line. Our bet is we’ll see a return to the old design, or yet another new design within the next couple of months from Gawker Media as Denton starts counting the costs of his bold gamble with the new template.