It hasn’t been that long since America Online bought Jason Calacanis’s Weblogs Inc. stable for a reported $25-million (U.S.) — and now comes another deal that is the polar opposite. From whom? None other than Jason’s old nemesis and polar opposite himself, Nick Denton of Gawker.com and Gizmodo.com and so many other great blogs. When Jason sold his company and became part of AOL, Mr. Denton made it clear that he thought that was a mistake, and many seemed to agree — and so instead of selling, Nick has partnered with Yahoo to distribute his blog postings from a number of blogs through various Yahoo hubs (the news comes via buzzmachine.com and before that via paidcontent.org).
As the ever-astute Jeff Jarvis of buzzmachine.com points out in a post on the topic, Nick’s choice seems to be the smarter of the two. Yes, the Weblogs Inc. team cashed in for a big payout, but for a blog network it seems to make much more sense to piggy-back on the distribution and marketing of a giant such as Yahoo or AOL, not get swallowed up by it. As Scott Moore of Yahoo tells Rafat Ali at paidcontent.org, the move is part of a strategy to become “more blog aware and blogcentric,” and it is not an exclusive deal, meaning Gawker Media can do similar deals with others. For what it’s worth, I would vote with Nick on this one. Susan Mernit seems to like it too.
Update: Jason Calacanis has posted his thoughts on the Gawker/Yahoo deal, and he says it’s great news for the medium. He also notes that his deal with AOL allows him to do distribution deals with whoever he wants — which may be true, but ownership is still different than partnering.