Yahoo to Add 5 Gawker Media Blogs to Web Site

By David A. Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Yahoo Inc. is adding daily feeds from five popular bloggers to its Web site, the latest move by the Internet giant to spice up its news and entertainment offerings with irreverent content.

The firm's licensing deal with privately held Gawker Media follows Dulles-based America Online Inc.'s recent acquisition of Weblogs Inc., Gawker's biggest competitor. Nick Denton, who owns Gawker and harshly criticized Weblogs for what he termed selling out to conventional media, emphasized that he was licensing, not selling, content from his offbeat network of blogs.

Denton added that Yahoo's mammoth size, with tens of millions of viewers, would dramatically expand the potential audience for his bloggers, who have loyal followings but remain unknown to mainstream Internet users.

"Yahoo has developed a certain weird geek chic," Denton said. "Their philosophy is just edgy enough."

The five Gawker Media Web sites to be featured on Yahoo are Gizmodo, which focuses on gadgets and consumer electronics; Wonkette, an edgy political scandal sheet; Defamer, which tracks gossip and news in Hollywood; Lifehacker, offering reviews of Web sites as well as tips to save time; and Gawker, which takes shots at Manhattan's mainstream media. These sites attract advertising from Nike Inc., Absolut vodka, HBO, Comedy Central and other brands looking for new ways to connect with a young demographic.

"The key to the Yahoo deal is the wider audience out there," Denton said. "This is the same younger audience that responds to 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.' "

Yahoo is one of the world's busiest Internet sites, with computer users regularly accessing the portal to check e-mail accounts, play games, catch up on the latest news, share photos and interact by sharing music online. It is the second biggest Internet search engine, after Google, and profits mainly come from advertising. The addition of blogs to the site is part of an effort to expose users to alternative points of view.

"We serve 30 million unique users a month on Yahoo News," said Scott Moore, head of news content for Yahoo. "There is a segment who will find this appealing and may or may not be aware of it."

Under the leadership of former Hollywood studio executive Terry S. Semel, Yahoo is aggressively seeking to become a more entertaining and inviting destination so that computer users will spend more time there. Yahoo also offers its users fast access to online information through its search engine.

The licensing deal with Gawker follows other Yahoo licensing deals, such as with the Huffington Post, a news Web site operated by Arianna Huffington, as well as the addition of personal-finance columnists and regular video news feeds from ABC and CNN.

Though both make their profits from ads, Yahoo's business strategy contrasts sharply with that of rival search engine Google. While Yahoo is ramping up the free offerings on its Web site and measuring the increasing amount of time users spend there, Google's approach revolves around getting computer users on and off of its site as rapidly as possible and routing them to whatever information they are looking for elsewhere online.

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