Gawker founder Nick Denton is eager to wage battle with viral giant BuzzFeed, declaring the website best-known for listicles and quizzes to be his site’s biggest competitor in the battle for the “soul” of online media.
Denton made his comments during an online question-and-answer session on Tuesday, saying that BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti is “utterly shameless in his pursuit of viral stories.”
Our biggest competitor in media is 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.
Denton hasn’t hidden his disdain for BuzzFeed in the past. He predicted in 2012 that BuzzFeed “will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.” Last summer, Denton contended that BuzzFeed is dependent “on the goodwill of their distribution partners, the dictatorship of the algorithm, and the fatigue of the audience.”
He acknowledged in a memo that surfaced late last year that BuzzFeed had overtaken Gawker in web traffic.
“The race is on,” Denton wrote.