Deadspin is Burning

PedroKsBambino

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I'm glad the Ringer exists. Minus the political coverage, they cover the sports/pop culture mix without the overwhelming cynicism that seemed to take over Deadspin. I used to really like the site, but definitely got away from it in the past couple of years. Maybe it was just my tastes that changed. I hope these folks end up ok.
its funny people post about Simmons not evolving and miss that he’s thriving while Deadspin is dying. You don’t have to like Simmons, and you are free to like Magary or Deadspin, but if you can’t recognize one of those successfully evolved while the other two did not you probably should spend a lot more time reading, reflecting, and learning than posting.
 

dirtynine

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What’s stopping the dozen or two core Deadspin contributors (including behind-the-scenes folks) from setting up shop under a new joint venture? I’m sure they could even get a little VC money to give them some runway. There’s a precedent for that (The Verge, The Ringer etc).
 

cromulence

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its funny people post about Simmons not evolving and miss that he’s thriving while Deadspin is dying. You don’t have to like Simmons, and you are free to like Magary or Deadspin, but if you can’t recognize one of those successfully evolved while the other two did not you probably should spend a lot more time reading, reflecting, and learning than posting.
Wow, thanks for the advice. I'm gonna go reflect on this.

:rolleyes:
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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What’s stopping the dozen or two core Deadspin contributors (including behind-the-scenes folks) from setting up shop under a new joint venture? I’m sure they could even get a little VC money to give them some runway. There’s a precedent for that (The Verge, The Ringer etc).
Nothing, really. I think the core members left are waiting to see how this shakes out.

No new venture will succeed without Magary and Roth, though.
 

Cellar-Door

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its funny people post about Simmons not evolving and miss that he’s thriving while Deadspin is dying. You don’t have to like Simmons, and you are free to like Magary or Deadspin, but if you can’t recognize one of those successfully evolved while the other two did not you probably should spend a lot more time reading, reflecting, and learning than posting.
Deadspin is dying not because it didn't evolve. That's why this is a big story among web journalists. Deadspin is an example of how you can have a profitable large scale print venture on the web, Deadspin has always made more than it spends on salary. Deadspin without the externally added debt load or the Hogan decision (which is a parent company issue) would be a raging success, and far more profitable than the Ringer (even though I like and read the Ringer more).

Edit- I have no idea what your Simmons v. Margary beef is, but generally Deadspin has been very successful in itself.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Deadspin is dying not because it didn't evolve. That's why this is a big story among web journalists. Deadspin is an example of how you can have a profitable large scale print venture on the web, Deadspin has always made more than it spends on salary. Deadspin without the externally added debt load or the Hogan decision (which is a parent company issue) would be a raging success, and far more profitable than the Ringer (even though I like and read the Ringer more).
I'm not sure I agree on the business side (or that there's enough visbility into either to have a lot of confidence in either of our perceptions there), but my point was about the people and the writers anyway. Whether or not one thinks it would be successful, the fact is they haven't figured out how to persuade the market or their owners they can be so, and they aren't operating in an effective way (nor have they been). Maybe they'll go out on their own and provei it, but right now it's a tough case to make that they are adapting effectively isn't it?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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What's weird about all of this is that we're all acting as if this is a binary situation - that Deadspin is some paragon of journalism being trampled by a "vulture capitalist" or that the new owners are entrepreneurial visionaries being stymied by anti-competitive forces.

The Deadspin that is being praised here died a decade or so ago when Daulerio flushed it down the toilet. It's arguable that the Hulk Hogan lawsuit resulted in an unconstitutional verdict that ruined the site, but it's hard to argue against the fact that Daulerio and Deadspin had it coming. He was an awful, irresponsible editor who severely damaged people while hiding behind the first amendment. I sympathize with those who were left behind and tried to reclaim the legacy of the site founded by Will Leitch, but only to a point.

Similarly, I don't really have much sympathy for the new owners. They have an absolute right to change strategies, but that change comes with risk. And one of the risks is that employees who had previously been seen as assets will rebel against the notion that they are mere cogs in the machinery.

In reality, there are no larger principles here. Just the deconstruction of a site that was once an innovator, but is now merely an empty husk.
This is where I stand too. I think that if you're looking for someone to blame in this thing, it goes back to Daulerio. If he wasn't such an asshole and tried to piss off as many people as he could, Gawker wouldn't have been (essentially) sued back to the Stone Age and there probably wouldn't be new owners putting the clamp down on their writers.

What I'm trying to figure out is what is the end game of the Deadspin writers. I'm not sure whether they think that their public tantrum and work stoppage is going to do anything. My thought is that if the owners fired Barry, they'll fire the rest of the writers and replace them with people who will create content that the owners want. This doesn't mean that I stand with the owners, far from it, they're pretty much killing a site that is making money over the stupid, "stick to sports" ethos.

These writers are taking a pretty big gamble with their livelihood and careers and to what end? This isn't a March on Selma thing or a crusade for women's rights; when it comes down to it, they're a bunch of people who don't like their new bosses. And I think that we've all been there. I was at a company that was acquired by Oracle and they destroyed the company culture, no more bonuses, cut back on PTO, eliminated the week between Christmas and New Year's as a paid week off, any new ideas and innovations were almost immediately shot down. People took off and the ones that were left were supposed to pick up the slack without any of these recs being filled. You can rage against this machine, or you can move on. Really, when it comes down to it, we're sort of invested in this now, but in a month, a year, five years, will this have even mattered? Maybe this thread will get brought back and we can reminisce about how cool Deadspin used to be, but that's it. Grantland is gone, we mourned it for a few weeks, but moved on. There are a ton of web sites that I'm sure you visited every day that have shuttered up, that you don't think about.

Deadspin will be the same. So, while I'm definitely not on management's side here, I wonder what is the point of this all?
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I think the point of this all is to show their voices won't be neutered, and that the new ownership group won't destroy the concept of something they love without pushback. I'm not sure there's any larger agenda at work here. They feel they've done good work, they don't agree with what the new owners are trying to make them write and they believe the CBA they have backs them up on this.
 

Cellar-Door

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I'm not sure I agree on the business side (or that there's enough visbility into either to have a lot of confidence in either of our perceptions there), but my point was about the people and the writers anyway. Whether or not one thinks it would be successful, the fact is they haven't figured out how to persuade the market or their owners they can be so, and they aren't operating in an effective way (nor have they been). Maybe they'll go out on their own and provei it, but right now it's a tough case to make that they are adapting effectively isn't it?
I mean, what does adapting mean? They've had consistent revenue for years, and the only time they didn't make a profit was the time that they had a major debt load imposed on them. If you mean they aren't bowing to the whims of their PE ownership... sure I guess they didn't adapt, but there hasn't been a major change to the business model until very recently, the business model remained the same, the site contents remained the same, and they returned to profitability.
Now Simmons and HBO are never releasing much Ringer data, but I would guess Deadspin brings in far more revenue considering what little we know (G/O saying they held steady at $80M in revenue, The Ringer saying they got $15M in podcast income a year or 2 ago). And there has been no real decline in Deadspin revenue year over year, so what is the failure to adapt in your mind?
 
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PedroKsBambino

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I mean, what does adapting mean? They've had consistent revenue for years, and the only time they didn't make a profit was the time that they had a major debt load imposed on them. If you mean they aren't bowing to the whims of their PE ownership... sure I guess they didn't adapt, but there hasn't been a major change to the business model until very recently, the business model remained the same, the site contents remained the same, and they returned to profitability.
I asked that question a couple times in the broader discussion about media people and never got an answer. To me, at a minimum, it means operating and being commercially viable as the environment changes around you. So, the deadspin team is currently failing at the first and it remains to be seen how they will do at the second.

People can have whatever view they want of PE generally and of this group in particular, but having and dealing with owners and bosses is part of operating an entity to me. The editorial team and writers who dislike their ownership may well go out on their own and succeed as others have done (people have cited the examples in the thread)---and if so, one can certainly say they've figured out how to deal with their enviornment effectively. What I have seen the last few years, and most pointedly the last few weeks, does not suggest that is the most likely scenario here but we will see.
 

gingerbreadmann

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I think the point of this all is to show their voices won't be neutered, and that the new ownership group won't destroy the concept of something they love without pushback. I'm not sure there's any larger agenda at work here. They feel they've done good work, they don't agree with what the new owners are trying to make them write and they believe the CBA they have backs them up on this.
As you hint at, (and with this being a Gizmodo Media site), of course it's also about Journalism. (Maybe more specifically, the intersection of journalism and capitalism in 2019.) I generally believe journalists are too sanctimonious about their own profession, but with the sudden shuttering of Splinter a few weeks ago, and claims that leadership has encouraged advertiser-driven content, I understand why they've built up so much distrust and anger. It feels at least a little bit bigger than private workplace disagreements to me. Especially when you think of Deadspin as part of the larger family of websites who have all been on the same page during this saga.

I mean, what does adapting mean? They've had consistent revenue for years, and the only time they didn't make a profit was the time that they had a major debt load imposed on them. If you mean they aren't bowing to the whims of their PE ownership... sure I guess they didn't adapt, but there hasn't been a major change to the business model until very recently, the business model remained the same, the site contents remained the same, and they returned to profitability.
I found this passage interesting, from a summary of the situation by CJR:
In recent years, the media business has been plagued by voracious owners swooping into distressed newsrooms and imposing targets that have little to do with journalistic quality. The saddest thing about Deadspin’s situation is that that isn’t what’s happening here. The site, by all accounts, is healthy: it hit a traffic record earlier this year and was nominated (pre-G/O) for a national magazine award. According to staffers, G/O is obsessed with pageviews—and yet Deadspin’s non-sports coverage, which G/O is trying to cut, has consistently outperformed the site’s averages on that score. In her exit post, Greenwell insisted Deadspin’s story is not the cliché of quixotic truth-tellers holding back the tide of financial efficiency; rather, she said, “it’s that the people posing as the experts know less about how to make money than their employees, to whom they won’t listen… They know what they know, and they don’t need to know anything else.”
 
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John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I think the point of this all is to show their voices won't be neutered, and that the new ownership group won't destroy the concept of something they love without pushback. I'm not sure there's any larger agenda at work here. They feel they've done good work, they don't agree with what the new owners are trying to make them write and they believe the CBA they have backs them up on this.
Then at the very most, this will be a pyrrhic victory. I don't want to say that this is stupid, because standing up for what you believe in is never stupid; but I don't know if it's worth it.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Then at the very most, this will be a pyrrhic victory. I don't want to say that this is stupid, because standing up for what you believe in is never stupid; but I don't know if it's worth it.
That is well said.

As you hint at, (and with this being a Gizmodo Media site), of course it's also about Journalism. I generally believe journalists are too sanctimonious about their own profession, but with the sudden shuttering of Splinter a few weeks ago, and claims that leadership has encouraged advertiser-driven content, I understand why they've built up so much distrust and anger. It feels at least a little bit bigger than private workplace disagreements to me. Especially when you think of Deadspin as part of the larger family of websites who have all been on the same page during this saga.


I found this passage interesting, from a summary of the situation by CJR:

In recent years, the media business has been plagued by voracious owners swooping into distressed newsrooms and imposing targets that have little to do with journalistic quality. The saddest thing about Deadspin’s situation is that that isn’t what’s happening here. The site, by all accounts, is healthy: it hit a traffic record earlier this year and was nominated (pre-G/O) for a national magazine award. According to staffers, G/O is obsessed with pageviews—and yet Deadspin’s non-sports coverage, which G/O is trying to cut, has consistently outperformed the site’s averages on that score. In her exit post, Greenwell insisted Deadspin’s story is not the cliché of quixotic truth-tellers holding back the tide of financial efficiency; rather, she said, “it’s that the people posing as the experts know less about how to make money than their employees, to whom they won’t listen… They know what they know, and they don’t need to know anything else.”
Perhaps Greenwell will be proven correct; however, if the employees really know more about how to make money they have a way to show that they are right. I think most of the time the story is more complicated than employees perceive it and so is actually making money in a business.
 

Mystic Merlin

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There is also a point at which employees stop really caring about the financial performance or business strategy per se because they perceive they aren’t valued or respected.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Agreed---it is not at all clear that ownership here has done well in preserving the value of the asset they purchased either. This feels like a lose-lose outcome, or at least the probability is that it is lose-lose right now and that reflects poorly (not necessarily equally poorly, but still not well) on both ownership and the legacy Deadspin writers/editors.
 

Van Everyman

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What's weird about all of this is that we're all acting as if this is a binary situation - that Deadspin is some paragon of journalism being trampled by a "vulture capitalist" or that the new owners are entrepreneurial visionaries being stymied by anti-competitive forces.

The Deadspin that is being praised here died a decade or so ago when Daulerio flushed it down the toilet. It's arguable that the Hulk Hogan lawsuit resulted in an unconstitutional verdict that ruined the site, but it's hard to argue against the fact that Daulerio and Deadspin had it coming. He was an awful, irresponsible editor who severely damaged people while hiding behind the first amendment. I sympathize with those who were left behind and tried to reclaim the legacy of the site founded by Will Leitch, but only to a point.

Similarly, I don't really have much sympathy for the new owners. They have an absolute right to change strategies, but that change comes with risk. And one of the risks is that employees who had previously been seen as assets will rebel against the notion that they are mere cogs in the machinery.

In reality, there are no larger principles here. Just the deconstruction of a site that was once an innovator, but is now merely an empty husk.
Excellent post. I've never been a dedicated reader, but from my vantage point, Deadspin has long been sort of a "best and worst of the Internet" site that continues to this day. When it does things like calling ESPN out for being whores to the leagues it covered or giving people like Diana Moscovitz a platform to talk about really provocative ideas to deal with domestic violence in sports, it serves a really important purpose. That same platform gave people (like Daulerio but many others) the unfettered opportunity to shit all over people and pursue their own agendas (edit: as @kenneycb points out below). But mostly it traffics in amusing sports culture stuff that pokes fun at sports leagues, athletes and owners -- which about 7M Twitter accounts do as well if not better at this point.

Assuming this is the end, it seems to me that Deadspin's legacy will be that it was never quite able to leverage itself from "maverick upstart untethered from the traditional guardrails of journalism" into something better and more important. Like Facebook in a lot of ways, it's never lost that stink of where it came from.
 

kenneycb

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Gawker was a disgusting website that never contributed anything great. Gawker was vindictive, snarky, and mean. It was the worst of the internet, designed to shame whoever was in Gawker's sites at the time. Deadspin, on the other hand, often accomplished great things.

But now it seems like Deadspin is going to follow Gawker out to pasture.
Deadspin was built on the back of airing the dirty laundry of athletes. Some of which was great reporting (e.g., Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger stuff), some of which was shitheaderry (e.g., reading Stuart Scott's phone over his shoulder and reporting that he was likely cheating on his wife with an NFL cheerleader). They were very vindictive, snarky, and mean in the early days.
 

joe dokes

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Then at the very most, this will be a pyrrhic victory. I don't want to say that this is stupid, because standing up for what you believe in is never stupid; but I don't know if it's worth it.
Is growing terribly dissatisfied with one's job that unusual these days? I think (but can't be sure) that the way they're doing this now won't negatively affect their future employment prospects. But shouting from the rooftops "We can't work here under these conditions (which not-incidentally might be violating a CBA)" might possibly change things for the better. (Unlikely, I know). I would assume that few, if any, of the Deadspinners expected to be there for very long as part of the new direction of the new regime. If new owners of, say, the Robb Report suddenly announced they were changing the focus of their magazine to celebrities' sex lives in order to increase investors' rate of return, the staff might protest then flee (if not fired first).
 

Cellar-Door

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That is well said.



Perhaps Greenwell will be proven correct; however, if the employees really know more about how to make money they have a way to show that they are right. I think most of the time the story is more complicated than employees perceive it and so is actually making money in a business.
I guess, to me the issue is this... Deadspin has consistently made good revenue and profits. THh leadership brought in failed in 2009 at Forbes, and were seen even then as behind the times and out of touch, that they are using the same strategies and metrics that lead to the end of their time at Forbes, 10 years later is concerning.So It seems weird to argue, that the people who have been making money don't know how to make money in the business, but that bringing in someone to change the approach that has been making money, to one that failed to make money is some complex system they can't understand.

Basically this would be like Taco Bell getting new ownership whose past experience was running ChiChi's and deciding that the way to make more money was to make Taco Bell into Chi Chi's, we wouldn't say... man those franchisees don't know how to make money, these business geniuses, now they know how to run a Mexican Restaurant chain.
 
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EvilEmpire

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I'm curious about the profitability too. If they are profitable, the moves by management look the worst and don't really make sense to me. If they are losing money, then less so. If they are close to breaking even, than that would be interesting too.

I'd love to see an article like this about Deadspin finances:

 

PedroKsBambino

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I guess, to me the issue is this... Deadspin has consistently made good revenue and profits. THh leadership brought in failed in 2009 at Forbes, and were seen even then as behind the times and out of touch, that they are using the same strategies and metrics that lead to the end of their time at Forbes, 10 years later is concerning.So It seems weird to argue, that the people who have been making money don't know how to make money in the business, but that bringing in someone to change the approach that has been making money, to one that failed to make money is some complex system they can't understand.

Basically this would be like Taco Bell getting new ownership whose past experience was running ChiChi's and deciding that the way to make more money was to make Taco Bell into Chi Chi's, we wouldn't say... man those franchisees don't know how to make money, these business geniuses, now they know how to run a Mexican Restaurant chain.
As others noted, and I did before, your confidence in the financial side is much greater than I have seen or think we can say with confidence. You may be right, but I'm not there. You pretty much are driving everything you say off that conclusion so I share the question others have raised about "on what basis?"

I have not argued what you suggest above, which you probably know---but if not, please reread what i posted.

I have no idea whether the editorial leadership knows how to make money or not, because I don't know the governance and operating decision structure historically (and how to think about the brand value and how that has evolved---positively or negatively---since Leitch left). They may just be the content people and the business leadership may be gone, or they may have been both. You may have enough clarity to be confident there, which is moe info than I have or am aware of. But, consistent with what I said before, I tend to think there's more complexity to it than I think many are suggesting---for example, aren't many of the costs and revenue streams shared across the different brands?

My point, to carry your analogy to where I actually went, is that once Chi Chi's takes over Taco Bell it is an odd position to defend the Taco Bell manager taking a dump on a table in front of guests in the dining room just because he doesn't like the Chi Chi's approach. Even if one assumes the Taco Bell model is better (a fact very much unproven) the response still isn't productive. And to me, the act of doing so suggests a failure to adapt to the changing envrionmnet....
 
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Alcohol&Overcalls

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If employees aren't stakeholders and haven't been invited to contribute to the direction of the business, they absolutely should have no say. Wages and working conditions are a different story to be clear.
I thought this was the most bizarre labor view I had ever read on this site, until ...

However if you want people to invest capital in a venture, they need to be able to run it the way they see fit. Its the foundation of our economy and if you start to restrict that, it will have all sorts of knock on effects that don't just impact the evil finance people but will be felt all the way to the people on the streets.
... c'mon man. "The people on the streets" don't invest capital in any meaningful way, and unrestricted ability to run invested capital "the way they see fit" has more or less created the complete quagmire we currently find ourselves in as a society vis a vis wealth inequality and complete deterioration of worker power.

I get that you're a Wall Street/investment guy, but this is some real tunnel vision - you have to ignore a lot of things to come to these conclusions, and have a very rosy picture of big-c Capital that just isn't justified, either in general or in specific (seriously, read up on the fucks that took over G/O).
 

Alcohol&Overcalls

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I asked that question a couple times in the broader discussion about media people and never got an answer. To me, at a minimum, it means operating and being commercially viable as the environment changes around you. So, the deadspin team is currently failing at the first and it remains to be seen how they will do at the second.
Can you compare, for example, income and profit for Ringer vs. Deadspin before Deadspin's current ownership made their requested changes?

Because if you can't, you're making some very wild assumptions about what is "commercially viable" and what indicates failure.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Can you compare, for example, income and profit for Ringer vs. Deadspin before Deadspin's current ownership made their requested changes?

Because if you can't, you're making some very wild assumptions about what is "commercially viable" and what indicates failure.
To each their own; I think saying "putting up content on an ongoing basis" is a pretty simple and relevant criteria but you do not have to agree. Certainly, as I've noted, we have very imperfect information other than some self-evident things like "is it operating?" and "does it seem to be investing or divesting as best we can see?" However, when both those suggest the conclusion I stated I feel ok about my assessment of the admittedly imperfect data we have.
 

Alcohol&Overcalls

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To each their own; I think saying "putting up content on an ongoing basis" is a pretty simple and relevant criteria but you do not have to agree.
Fair enough - and I'll agree that over the last 24 hours, the Ringer sure has posted more. But my larger point is, why would the relevant criteria be "Whether the new owners, with a history of annihilating websites' business models in exchange for a low-budget clickbait ad model, with mixed success, viewed the current model as profitable enough"?

It feels like begging the question to assume that, because current ownership wanted changes, the previous model was unsuccessful - and because the Ringer has faced no such changes (that we know of), they must be more successful as a result. I may well be missing something in your argument, though?
 

Cellar-Door

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Where are you seeing this about profitability? Nothing's popping up on Google that breaks Deadspin specifically out.
yeah looking back, the info I had was mis-labeled. It was the Gawker portfolio not Deadspin specifically that made a profit.

The only info on Deadspin is from the former EIC Greenwell who noted that Deadspin was profitable every year pre-Hogan verdict.

I will say, I can't imagine that Deadspin is losing money and the other Gawker portfolio projects are making it up for it, given the traffic and time spent data (not 100% accurate, but decent) it and Kotaku are the two crown jewels.
 

Snedds

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Farmers Insurance have pulled a million-dollar ad campaign with G/O Media after this who debactle

That deal was ultimately the tipping point for this whole situation, as the G/O execs forced the autoplay ads onto Deadspin (and across the whole network) to try and game the ad impression metrics so they could meet the expectations of that ad deal. More details here from a WSJ article yesterday.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out now, as a Magary funbag post has now gone up.
 

joe dokes

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It will be interesting to see how this all plays out now, as a Magary funbag post has now gone up.
Includes this caption under a pic of a ref holding a ball:
Picture of a basketball included to signal that this week’s Funbag is sports-related.


And ends with this letter, from "Will":

I’ve never been madder about a media story than about what’s being done to Deadspin. Lump in my throat and too furious to sleep, just thinking about this absolute garbage. Cannot even imagine how it’s making you all feel. I can’t muster up the good-after-bad energy required to scream at your bosses from across the void, but I felt like it would be worthwhile to copy your entire masthead just to say thanks. You are one of the very best collections of writers, artists and thinkers that we have anywhere today. I know I’m not the only one who will continue to try finding a way to your work through whatever inane and dehumanizing obstacles that your purported superiors keep dumping in the middle of our path to each other. What you have created is valued and valuable, rare and special, and I hope you are all as proud of what you’ve built and the fight you’ve been fighting as your readers are of you. You have my deepest admiration and my strongest appreciation for everything you have accomplished to make Deadspin what it is. Simply put: thank you all for making my favorite website.
 
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PedroKsBambino

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Fair enough - and I'll agree that over the last 24 hours, the Ringer sure has posted more. But my larger point is, why would the relevant criteria be "Whether the new owners, with a history of annihilating websites' business models in exchange for a low-budget clickbait ad model, with mixed success, viewed the current model as profitable enough"?

It feels like begging the question to assume that, because current ownership wanted changes, the previous model was unsuccessful - and because the Ringer has faced no such changes (that we know of), they must be more successful as a result. I may well be missing something in your argument, though?
That's not my point, though---it is that the previous Deadspin model has neither proven it can work on its own or been adapted to deal with new management.

Simmons' pissing match with ESPN late in Grantland's life is the best parallel anyone is likely to come up with for what Deadspin's editorial team now faces, and whatever you think of him he proved he was right that he could make it work standing alone with Ther Ringer (at least for now---obviously, that can change). The Deadspin folks may well do the same, but right now they have not. None of this means I think G/O media is doing this well or maximizing the value of the asset they bought, mind you...this is a story with two losers best I can see at the moment, not a winner and a loser.
 

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I thought this was the most bizarre labor view I had ever read on this site, until ...



... c'mon man. "The people on the streets" don't invest capital in any meaningful way, and unrestricted ability to run invested capital "the way they see fit" has more or less created the complete quagmire we currently find ourselves in as a society vis a vis wealth inequality and complete deterioration of worker power.

I get that you're a Wall Street/investment guy, but this is some real tunnel vision - you have to ignore a lot of things to come to these conclusions, and have a very rosy picture of big-c Capital that just isn't justified, either in general or in specific (seriously, read up on the fucks that took over G/O).
A few things to clarify here but I strongly suspect we won't bridge our gap.

First, I don't identify as a "Wall St/Investment guy" or a "vc vulture" person or anything of that sort. I am a worker/labor like many other people. I have had plenty of bosses and employers who have treated their workers terribly or mismanaged "our" business badly. Its sucked and had real life impact on my colleagues and me. That said, I am of the mind that if they didn't break a law or a labor regulation, I had two choices - go find another job or tough it out.

Its apparent that some people think that workers are entitled to more of a say and while each situation is unique, I simply don't see it that way. If I didn't commit capital to a venture, I can certainly make my thoughts known to management but I have zero expectations that they will incorporate that into their thinking.

Regarding your last paragraph, I get that most people on the planet aren't investing in businesses directly or indirectly. However, almost everyone benefits from free markets and the resultant lower costs of capital though its its clearly not in the same way (I too am very concerned about wealth inequality and think its a huge issue globally). However, people who dont buy stocks still benefit from robust financial markets in a number of ways that range from more consumer choices as well as lower consumer borrowing rates and even charitable contributions.

My point is simply that if you restrict investors ability to run a business as they see fit (assuming its in keeping with laws and regulations), the market will demand more premium/aka a higher return to compensate for the increased risks. This tends to affect everyone.

Finally, none of this is to say our system is perfect or even healthy. But changing things to effect a certain outcome or avoid one is very likely to have knock on impacts for a lot more people than just stakeholders.
 

Cellar-Door

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Aug 1, 2006
15,696
That's not my point, though---it is that the previous Deadspin model has neither proven it can work on its own or been adapted to deal with new management.

Simmons' pissing match with ESPN late in Grantland's life is the best parallel anyone is likely to come up with for what Deadspin's editorial team now faces, and whatever you think of him he proved he was right that he could make it work standing alone with Ther Ringer (at least for now---obviously, that can change). The Deadspin folks may well do the same, but right now they have not. None of this means I think G/O media is doing this well or maximizing the value of the asset they bought, mind you...this is a story with two losers best I can see at the moment, not a winner and a loser.
Hasn't it? If we are to believe the EIC at the time, as well as the financial releases of Gawker, it was profitable for many years, right up until it had a massive external debt dumped on it by a parent company. This is the flaw in your argument, you act as if Deadspin is Grantland, which admitedly was a loss leader from day 1. Deadspin was a key part of a highly successful self-sustaining business, and continued to be so until one of the associated businesses lost a massive lawsuit unrelated to Deadspin.

Imagine I sold Tacos in my friend's gas station, I sold tacos and made a decent little profit, the gas station also made a decent little profit. One day it turns out that my friend took out a loan secured by the gas station, went to Vegas and put it all on black. He lost, now someone buys his gas station in bankruptcy and declares that the taco sales will have to cover both expenses and a share of the debt. Does this show that selling tacos at a gas station hasn't proven it can work?
 
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phrenile

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Aug 4, 2005
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Its chilling to think that anyone besides the owners of a business can dictate how a product or service is produced provided that its done so within the framework of existing laws and regulations.
My point is simply that if you restrict investors ability to run a business as they see fit (assuming its in keeping with laws and regulations), the market will demand more premium/aka a higher return to compensate for the increased risks.
You keep begging the question. The Labor Management Relations Act says that collective bargaining agreements are enforceable.
 

Alcohol&Overcalls

Member
SoSH Member
A few things to clarify here but I strongly suspect we won't bridge our gap.

First, I don't identify as a "Wall St/Investment guy" or a "vc vulture" person or anything of that sort. I am a worker/labor like many other people.
I appreciate the detailed response - we might not bridge the gap but we're certainly better off for having the discussion either way.

And my comment wasn't meant as a dagger - my genuine impression from your past posts was that you worked in investments in some way. My apologies for making assumptions!

My point is simply that if you restrict investors ability to run a business as they see fit (assuming its in keeping with laws and regulations), the market will demand more premium/aka a higher return to compensate for the increased risks. This tends to affect everyone.
Yeah, this doesn't make any real sense to me - who is "you" in this sentence? What exactly are the "restrictions" you're so worried about as it pertains to Deadspin's staff revolting against what they perceive to be both poor, shortsighted management and breaking a valid CBA? What do you mean by "laws and regulations"?

You've sort of created an ouroboros of justifications for unfettered capital: you should do what you feel as long as it doesn't break laws and regulations but we shouldn't restrict (even though that's literally the purpose of laws and regulations) because the benefits opaquely inure to everybody, and/or restrictions have unforeseen consequences, and so those restrictions are bad and lack of restrictions is good, and so you should do what you feel as long is it doesn't break laws and regulations ....

(Fake edit: or exactly what phrenile posted)
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I appreciate the detailed response - we might not bridge the gap but we're certainly better off for having the discussion either way.

And my comment wasn't meant as a dagger - my genuine impression from your past posts was that you worked in investments in some way. My apologies for making assumptions!



Yeah, this doesn't make any real sense to me - who is "you" in this sentence? What exactly are the "restrictions" you're so worried about as it pertains to Deadspin's staff revolting against what they perceive to be both poor, shortsighted management and breaking a valid CBA? What do you mean by "laws and regulations"?

You've sort of created an ouroboros of justifications for unfettered capital: you should do what you feel as long as it doesn't break laws and regulations but we shouldn't restrict (even though that's literally the purpose of laws and regulations) because the benefits opaquely inure to everybody, and/or restrictions have unforeseen consequences, and so those restrictions are bad and lack of restrictions is good, and so you should do what you feel as long is it doesn't break laws and regulations ....

(Fake edit: or exactly what phrenile posted)
Two points of clarification.

1. You aren't wrong in that I work in the markets but I don't identify as a "Wall Street" guy. I think that the mistrust of the industry is both well deserved and, at the same time, overdone. Then again, I am not comfortable painting any group with a broad brush.

2. Regarding my views on management and labor, for the purposes of discussion, lets stay on G/O and the GMG union. My view is specific to this topic and its not accurate that to say I back investors vs labor in every instance. In this case, we aren't even talking about actual news or reporting but more editorial decisions around opinion pieces and the advertising around them.

In short, our differences here are really around the CBA. I am very interested to see how enforceable the editorial independence aspect of this agreement is in the eyes of the law.

IANAL (something only a handful of us here on SoSH can say) but it strikes me as a huge problem if the owners of a lifestyle website cannot control the content their property publishes. G/O may be stupid and bad actors. However they should be able to dictate the direction that their business takes provided that they are complying with all laws and regulations.
 

Jeff Van GULLY

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Jul 13, 2005
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What's weird about all of this is that we're all acting as if this is a binary situation - that Deadspin is some paragon of journalism being trampled by a "vulture capitalist" or that the new owners are entrepreneurial visionaries being stymied by anti-competitive forces.

The Deadspin that is being praised here died a decade or so ago when Daulerio flushed it down the toilet. It's arguable that the Hulk Hogan lawsuit resulted in an unconstitutional verdict that ruined the site, but it's hard to argue against the fact that Daulerio and Deadspin had it coming. He was an awful, irresponsible editor who severely damaged people while hiding behind the first amendment. I sympathize with those who were left behind and tried to reclaim the legacy of the site founded by Will Leitch, but only to a point.

Similarly, I don't really have much sympathy for the new owners. They have an absolute right to change strategies, but that change comes with risk. And one of the risks is that employees who had previously been seen as assets will rebel against the notion that they are mere cogs in the machinery.

In reality, there are no larger principles here. Just the deconstruction of a site that was once an innovator, but is now merely an empty husk.

As someone who had the unfortunate luck of knowing and interacting with AJ Daulerio for a few years, I have to say his reputation of being a bad person may be a bit understated. I wish nothing but the worst for that scumbag. He's the Tazmanian Devil of shit and self-loathing powered by molly, cocaine and ego.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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As someone who had the unfortunate luck of knowing and interacting with AJ Daulerio for a few years, I have to say his reputation of being a bad person may be a bit understated. I wish nothing but the worst for that scumbag. He's the Tazmanian Devil of shit and self-loathing powered by molly, cocaine and ego.
Do tell.
 

Alcohol&Overcalls

Member
SoSH Member
In short, our differences here are really around the CBA. I am very interested to see how enforceable the editorial independence aspect of this agreement is in the eyes of the law.

IANAL (something only a handful of us here on SoSH can say) but it strikes me as a huge problem if the owners of a lifestyle website cannot control the content their property publishes. G/O may be stupid and bad actors. However they should be able to dictate the direction that their business takes provided that they are complying with all laws and regulations.
Why wouldn't it be enforceable? We're talking about a binding contract entered into by sophisticated parties - it would be a huge problem if the owners of a lifestyle website can ignore freely-negotiated contract terms simply because they don't like it, or it doesn't make them enough money. Think of the ramifications of that ... (plus they knew, or should have known, about all those details when they bought the company - no excuse there)

Let me put it another way: you keep hedging by saying companies should "comply[] with all laws and regulations" - but what "laws and regulations" could you possibly mean if "obey contractual obligations" isn't one of them? It feels like you mean, like, criminal law - don't murder people. But that's not even remotely the compliance required by a corporation (and, like everyone else, IAAL so that's the lens I'm viewing this through - I'm very interested to see how you're seeing it!). So can you give me an example of what laws and regulations you think should comprise the limits placed on them?
 
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Snedds

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May 11, 2007
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Laura Wags and a bunch of other just resigned, can’t imagine deadspin is going to be around much longer
Just looking at Twitter and so far I've seen the following have quit

Tom Ley
Laura Wagner
Lauren Theisen
Kelsey McKinney
Patrick Redford
Chris Thompson