When Gawker Media went bankrupt in 2016, every site except the flagship, Gawker.com, was scooped up by Univision. While Univision is having its own problems (the company’s debt has forced the newly formed Gizmodo Media Group to downsize), Gawker.com has existed in limbo, its archive online as it awaited today’s auction.
Now, Gawker’s extensive archive has a new owner: web entrepreneur Bryan Goldberg, the founder of sports site Bleacher Report and women’s interest site Bustle. Goldberg reportedly bought the site for $1.35 million. He outbid marketing firm Didit, which set a stalking-horse bid of roughly $1.1 million, as well as, uh, Online Logo Maker LLC.
Goldberg did not respond to request for comment, but in an email to Bustle employees, he said he purchased Gawker under a new holding company, separate from Bustle. He said he has no immediate plans to relaunch Gawker.
That Goldberg would purchase Gawker for what is, in business terms, chump change makes a certain amount of sense. He gets a larger archive of search-engine-optimized blog posts that he can monetize with ads (or whatever). The Gawker domain and its dormant posts still carry at least a little weight; there’s just a bit more traffic to be wrung from them.
If he was feeling more vindictive, he could also have taken a more Thiel-ish approach and disappeared the site’s various critical blog posts about himself and his companies. In 2013, Goldberg announced his intent to launch Bustle with a blog post that could best be summarized as “Women be readin’!” and Gawker mocked him often for it. “Who Gave This Asshole $6.5 Million to Launch a Bro-Tastic Lady Site?” asks one headline. “Bustle’s CEO Is Even More of a Self-Serving Misogynist Than You Feared,” reads another. He was called “not a smart man” and a “clueless scamp.”
Or maybe he’ll enjoy the satisfaction of owning what is, in digital-media terms, the skull of a former enemy. Online Logo Maker LLC must be kicking itself.