Denton Snags Sony as Exclusive Blog Sponsor

Nick Denton’s Gawker Media signed Sony as the sole sponsor of a new blog covering software for the non-geek. Called Lifehacker, the site will offer “a more briskly efficient approach to using computers and downloading software,” according to Denton.

Another new Gawker blog, the travel-focused gridskipper, will carry ads from CheapTickets under a smaller deal.

Sony’s buy with Gawker Media marks the company’s first blog marketing foray. Denton described the deal, with Sony’s eSolutions group, as the second or third largest it’s signed with an advertiser and the largest with a consumer electronics company. In addition to owning all ad space on the new site, Sony will buy media on Gawker’s Gizmodo gadget blog. BlackInc Ventures, an interactive sales and business development agency, brokered the buy. Parties didn’t disclose total spend.

“They [Sony] were very interested in doing something before blogging became a common marketing platform,” said Brad Bowers, founding partner of BlackInc. “Given that Gawker is a pretty well established media property as far as blogging goes, they thought it would be a good place to dip their toe in the water.”

Gawker Media innovated the single-advertiser blog with Jalopnik, a gearhead Weblog originally underwritten by Audi. Jalopnik integrated Audi’s logo into its own, a controversial move Gawker later undid. In Sony’s sponsorship of Lifehacker, the brand appears on the masthead but is kept separate from the site’s own identity. Additional Sony creative includes leaderboard, skyscraper, and rectangle ad units.

Denton said Sony and other consumer electronics companies have been pitching products to Gizmodo for over a year. “It’s interesting to see the advertising finally following the PR.”

This particular deal was helped along when Gizmodo scored an interview with Bill Gates earlier this month. “For anyone who’s wondering if [blogs] really have as much influence as people say, an interview like that helps push them over the hump,” Denton said.

Lifehacker is written by Gina Trapani, author of Scribbling.net and a sometimes programmer for Denton’s operation. Other Gawker Media sites include Fleshbot, Gawker, and Wonkette.

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