Gawker Media: We’re Where the Boys Are

Blog network Gawker Media has geared up to grab the interest of young men and the advertisers who want to reach them. To do so, the company has launched three new blogs — Jalopnik, Kotaku and Screenhead.

Jalopnik, which features content about cars, launches with an exclusive sponsorship from Audi that’s believed to be the biggest yet for the fledgling publishing company, whose other sites include Gawker, Wonkette and Gizmodo. Launch advertisers for Kotaku, a gaming site, and Screenhead, about TV and Web entertainment, include Second Life, GameFly and CNET.

Gawker Media’s most prominent competitor, Weblogs Inc., already publishes a site about cars, Autoblog, and several about gaming.

“We had these sites in our launch plan, but one thing that was becoming more and more evident was that we had a shortage of inventory, especially in sites aimed at young upscale males,” said Nick Denton, CEO of Gawker Media. “Even though our sites skew toward 18 to 34 and male, and are considerably upscale, it still wasn’t enough. We found ourselves sold out of sites like Gizmodo.”

The deal with Audi, which Denton describes as “the most significant advertiser so far,” has the carmaker’s logo and signature font splashed widely across the Jalopnik site. Audi’s signature interlocking circles appear twice in the Jalopnik logo itself. They, and the Audi name, also appear in the header graphic that delineates one day’s postings from the next. The tagline “Never Follow” is also a part of the graphic. A launch party for the new sites will be held at the Audi showroom in Manhattan, Denton said. The exclusive sponsorship is expected to run at least through the end of the year.

Though advertising is deeply integrated into the new site, it’s just one step short of the custom publishing jobs Gawker Media has done previously. The company launched a blog for Nike’s Art of Speed campaign and created the A Dirty Shame blog for director John Waters’ most recent film.

The new sites are designed mostly to better deliver Gawker Media’s most popular ad units: a 720 x 90 leaderboard, a 120 x 600 skyscraper and a 300 x 250 rectangle. Unlike many blogs, Gawker has not focused exclusively on text links and isn’t yet exploring ads in its Web feeds. Instead it works to get the click and display more graphic ads.

Denton says advertisers are turning to the Web in general and blogs in particular because young men are spending more time on cable TV, on gaming, and online.

“There’s a limit to how much inventory on Comedy Central someone can buy, and the computer game audience is notoriously hard to market to. The medium just doesn’t lend itself well to advertising,” said Denton. “Which leaves online. It just happens that Weblogs are the youngest, fastest growing and most influential of the online sites.”

Jalopnik’s editor, Mike Spinelli, is a blogger for Kotaku will be written by Matt Gallant, who has guest blogged on Gizmodo. Screenhead’s writer goes by the pseudonym Dong Resin.

The launch of the sites will be supported by an ad campaign that will run on other blogs and sites like Nerve, College Humor and Fark. The new properties will also be promoted across all of Gawker Media’s other sites.

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