Yesterday we chatted up Gridskipper assistant editor Hunter Walker on IM to see what he had to say about life in the wake of Monday’s sale of the site and fellow former Gawker Media properties Wonkette and Idolator. He let us know and raised us his take on where Gawker the company, as well as Gawker the site, is going these days (quick answer: nowhere good if you prefer your blogs free of every Internet meme that sweeps the Web at traffic-spiking 12-hour intervals) and the “fallacy” of pageviews as a metric for Gawker and other blogs. As Walker put it three days after his blog was unloaded by Gawker Media founder Nick Denton, for whom the pageview reigns supreme, “It really amazes me that there’s any advertiser out there who doesn’t recognize the difference between views and unique visitors.”
“Gawker’s increasingly moving towards having more social networking features,” Walker said, “and becoming more of a message board and commenter community than a traditional blog.” What that results in, he says, is inflated pageviews courtesy of the same commenters returning to see who’s responded to their own statements again and again. “These rabid commenters — the LOLcait types — how many pageviews does one of those people represent? They’re churning the posts over and over. Unique visitors [are] really the only measure of traffic,” he said, pointing out that it was “shortsighted” of Denton to sell Wonkette, Idolator and Gridskipper.
“[Denton] said in the email announcing the sale that he has ‘almost a million’ unique visitors for each site on the network — another great stat, right,” Walker said. “How many of those unique visitors for each site are really unique across the whole network? I’d imagine a fair portion of Lifehacker’s visitors are also on Gizmodo. I think the visitors on Jezebel and Wonkette, Consumerist and [Gridskipper] really are more unique.”
So, with its “more unique” visitors, how does Walker think Gridskipper will fare within the Curbed fold — and, does he want to be a part of it? “That remains to be seen whether they want me: or whether I want them,” he said. “I love the site, and if I really do leave my first discussions with [Curbed] still confident in this impression I have now — that they’re willing to give the right resources to the site: and that they have a good vision for the content — I’d be glad if they’d have me. Gridskipper in the right hands has a lot more potential.”