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Nick Denton: ‘Our Biggest Competitor in Media is BuzzFeed’

nick_dentonNick Denton, founder of Gawker Media, took to a Gawker Kinja site today to answer questions from readers. It was basically Gawker’s version of Reddit’s popular Ask Me Anything (AMA) series.

Our favorite quote from Denton featured him explaining that “Our biggest competitor in media is BuzzFeed,” because the two companies “represent two very different forces struggling for the soul of Internet media.” Please soak in the irony accordingly.

Below are some other notable moments from Denton’s Q&A.

More on BuzzFeed:

Jonah Peretti’s company is pointless. But he understands the Internet; he manipulates the Facebook ecosystem better than anyone; and he is utterly shameless in his pursuit of viral stories. (Even more shameless than we are, some would say.)

And Buzzfeed is the perfect competitor — highly motivating. It is a fair fight; some earlier rivals like Gothamist required too much puffing up to make a plausible rival. And it’s a meaningful fight, because Gawker Media and Buzzfeed represent two very different forces struggling for the soul of Internet media.

On the thought that he treats writers like commodities:

I believe that flair and diligence should be rewarded, regardless of a writer’s alma mater or social background. To me, a writer is words on a page; and numbers on this screen. That may seem cold; but at least it’s fair.

On the constant changes to Gawker commenting systems:

The next iteration of webchats will probably be the one we stick with. That will show interactions between the original author and readers — the version that is currently live on sites like Valleywag, Kotaku and io9. But it will also append other recommended webchats.

I hope it will combine the best elements of the simple webchat (the clarity of a Q&A focused on one user) and the group chat (diversity of opinion).

So the central feature of Kinja is likely to stabilize. But we have so much more to do: usable image and video annotation; a public messaging app; etc. And we will never reach perfection.

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