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Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010
by PopMatters Staff
by Ben McGrath
The New Yorker (18 October 2010)

“For years after starting Gawker Media, the online publishing network, in 2002, Nick Denton ran the company out of his apartment, in SoHo. “He said, ‘If you run it out of your house, then no one expects anything,’ ” Denton’s friend Fredrik Carlström, the film producer and adman, told me. “ ‘If you have an office, people want stuff. They want cell phones, lunch breaks, beer on Fridays.’ ” Gawker Media was a deliberately fly-by-night operation: incorporated in Budapest, where a small team of programmers still works, and relying on elegantly jaded bloggers who considered themselves outsiders with nothing to lose. Early contributors tell stories about bounced checks, and receiving payment straight from the A.T.M. The arrangement, many assumed, was a convenient hedge against potential libel claims. (Scarcely a week passes without one or more of Denton’s nine sites receiving a cease-and-desist letter.) It also helped bolster Denton’s image as a kind of digital-sweatshop operator—he initially paid his bloggers twenty-four thousand dollars a year—and cultivated a helpful sense among contributors that they were the crew of a rogue “pirate ship,” as Gawker people sometimes say, initiating stealth attacks on the ocean liners in midtown.”


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