In Nick Denton’s explanation for launching the blog he points out that his ad sales team have been asking for a shopping site, but that:
To the extent that it’s a shopping site, it’s a shopping hate site. It won’t be popular with advertisers, or our ad sales staff. But it will, at least, be therapeutic. And, in our own way, we’ll be doing something to fix the capitalist system.
Then Steve Rubel of MicroPersuasion comments on The Consumerist and says:
My question is who will want to advertise on it?
My answer is, who cares? Denton has the right idea here. Gawker didn’t get where they are by pandering to advertisers. They create blogs that are interesting for people to read. Without people reading your blogs, nobody will want to advertise on it.
Basically, if The Consumerist launched as a new blog that was happy go lucky about commerce and just applauded all the companies advertising on it, it wouldn’t go far. People would realize it was just a shill site to attract advertisers.
Gawker has chosen to tell it like it is, and if advertisers come, so be it. The only way to get conversions and reach goals is to cater to the customer, which is the visitor reading the blog in the case of The Consumerist. If it’s a successful blog, then the advertisers will come. They might not be the commerce companies that the blog is criticizing, but they’ll be somebody who’s willing to pay money to get in front of the eyeballs of their audience.