Can Gawker's New Content Approach Really Be Called Ecommerce?
By David A. Utter
At the time I'm writing this, the front page of chatty news and gossip site Gawker has singer Beyonce on display, the headline "Beautiful Liar" superimposed over her image. The issue of did she or didn't she lip-sync at President Obama's inauguration remains up for discussion, though evidence seems to indicate the performer mouthed the words to the National Anthem.
I don't know about you but my heart is full of forgiveness. Really. But enough about celebrity. Behind the cheeky facade of Gawker rests the heart of true capitalism. Gawker's top man Nick Denton dropped a memo on the denizens of his empire, one that AdAge picked up and placed on display.
Denton expects his Gawker Media fiefdom to generate at least 10 percent of its 2013 revenue via ecommerce. So far their earliest effort looks a lot like one attempted by scores of people seeking the dream of online revenue - affiliate links to products on Amazon.com.
"We're reaching for 40% revenue growth this year, an acceleration from 26% in 2012. We had six clients spend over $1m with us last year," Denton's memo said. And judging by one job ad posted by Gawker, it looks like content marketing will be the engine driving their efforts.
It appears Denton's strategy will hinge on what's been dubbed "commerce content" in that job posting. The lucky candidate will be helping to build "shopping verticals across the Gawker Media properties":
What is Commerce Content?
It's a brand new thing that merges writing and product curation. Most importantly, it adds value to our readers lives. So commerce content includes everything from posts about the cheapest deal on something our readers need to introducing them to new things they've never seen. It's a new type of service journalism. And yes, we generate revenue when products sell.
Gawker holds an Alexa rank of 350 in the U.S. There's plenty of urban appeal, with Alexa noting "the site is particularly highly ranked in the cities of New York (#164), San Francisco (#203), and Washington (DC) (#241). Visitors to it spend roughly 84 seconds on each pageview and a total of four minutes on the site during each visit."
With someone like Denton making a big bet on content marketing and "product curation" we have to wonder if ecommerce pros who read us also plan to implement such efforts. Is it time to worry less about search results and more about a better user experience with whatever one has up for sale?
About the author:
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to email@example.com and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.
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