Danger: Gawker Dating to Encourage Commenter Reproduction

Should you be afraid? Already, close to 1,600 comments show that Gawker commenters are desperate to date. Fortunately, they seem inclined to stick to each other.

If you’ve never waded into the endless comments on a Gawker blog post, now may be the time. In addition to snark and desperate cries for attention, you may find the love of your life next few minutes. The gossip blog has just launched a dating service that is low on frills and seems to be something of an afterthought. But, it’s a good one. Already, 1,593 comments have been left, though it’s pretty obvious that the main goal is 15 minutes of fame on the web rather than 15 minutes of bliss (but who’s counting) with someone you’ll regret later.

One commenter, @Lillabitt, puts it best: “I’m petrified of not getting any responses and even more petrified of getting some.”

So, why did Gawker step into the online dating pool? Well, it was an easy move, given that another blog in the network, io9, has been facilitating commenter dating for a while. In case it doesn’t work for Gawker, the inaugural post did contain some damage control, calling the commenter dating service “something of a social experiment.”

When I saw this story, aside from the fear of Gawker commenters actually getting dates, I struggled to figure out how this fits with Nick Denton‘s strategy for growing net-new uniques. Sure, this will drum up some page views, but it seems unlikely to attract new visitors.

Whether it’s a move to churn out some impressions for ad revenue, a way to score some easy content or even a small test for a new vertical, the invitation is decidedly Gawker-esque:

“Hook up, date, get married, have miserable acrimonious divorces, take it as far as you want! The staff might occasionally pop in and choose to highlight a particularly good posting, but don’t worry: We’ll never make fun of your crushing loneliness. We’ll just help you alleviate it!”

And who knows, maybe your divorce will grace the front page of the redesigned Gawker environment!

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