Deadspin (un)Officially Dead


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32 Responses

  1. Saul Degraw says:

    As far as I know,

    1. Deadspin was profitable;

    2. The most popular posts at Deadspin were often the non-sports ones. Some of these were political, others were not;

    3. Deadspin had a left-wing slant.

    I think the “stick it to sports” memo came because the private equity bros hated the politics of Deadspin despite promising editorial independence (in writing), Splinter was shut down suddenly and without ceremony. There other option is that the private equity bros have a very outdated and stereotypical view of who is a sports fan and they imagine a middle-aged white guy in the exurbs with right-leaning politics.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      There’s a license to print money lying there. Just waiting for someone with enough gumption to pick it up.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

        I can never tell when you are being sarcastic or sincere.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          If what you said is true, then what I said is (mostly) true.

          There will be *SOME* loss in the short term due to having to rebuild the brand. There will be a handful of virality issues due to Deadspin having a number of Real Live Readers who would just automatically retweet Deadspin links knowing that it was good and it’s likely that not 100% of those Real Live Readers will hook up with The New Site (80% of them is a good target for a year later).

          I also don’t know if profitability was going up, staying steady, or slowly lessening.

          *BUT*. Let’s assume that profitability was staying steady or going up.

          If what you said was true, then what I said was (mostly) true.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      or maybe they wanted people to actually write about sports instead of lecturing the audience on how they were all bad people with silly tastes and wrong opinions about everything.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to DensityDuck says:

        I’m going to be honest. I don’t know how easy it is to have a good faith discussion with you on this.

        The number of page views for an article are easy to see. A lot of the non-sports often received more views that the sports articles. One of their most popular pieces was Magary’s haters guide to the Williams-Sonoma catalogue every Christmas.

        These are guys whose job it is to make money. Why would they kill their popular articles?Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          “These are guys whose job it is to make money. Why would they kill their popular articles?”

          Because maybe they figured that Deadspin The Sports Website was the business they were trying to run, not Let’s Pay Some Dudes To Build Their Own Personal Brand And Maybe Sometimes They Write About Sports.

          I mean, Sports Illustrated fired Hunter Thompson, and Sports Illustrated is still around, so, it’s maybe not a brand-killing move to bounce weirdo political satirists off the staff of a sports reporting media company?Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Satre got the current ID of trolls, alt-rigities, anti-anti Trumpers, left haters in general, etc correct a long time ago in anti-Semite and Jew a long time ago:

        “Never believe that anti‐Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly since he believes in words. The anti‐Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument has passed.”

        Just replace anti-Semite with all the terms above and there you go.Report

        • Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          When I was a kid, I tended to overreact and over-invest in most everything. My older brother’s friends noticed this and acted accordingly. In other words, they teased me mercilessly. And the pinnacle of all this was them finding one word that would set me off at any opportunity. You seem to have recreated such a word for yourself.

          Troll. In this case, it should be “droll.”

          Sartre was a bit of an idiot, who couldn’t hold a candle to Camus or de Bouvier, and subsisted on the hatred that he imagined coming at him from mostly disinterested intellectuals. (They were too busy sucking down Gaulousis and secretly admiring Camus’ Facel Vega.)Report

    • Ozzzy! in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Throwing around ‘bros’ as a chirp seems like a stretch. Do you really think the heads of Univision were ‘bros’? There was as much crap thrown by writers then as this time around. Univision failed miserably financially and otherwise owning these sites.

      As for Great Hill – the guys are 50+. Just seems like you are stretching here. Maybe A-holes? Vultures? I guess I just think you made better points prior to hewing back to unneeded (and non-applicable) shade there.

      Re: the meat of it, I asked some questions below. I’d really like to understand why it was a mass-resignation vs. a strike since they were a recognized union.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy! says:

        Alan Goldsher on the twitter tweeted that he had an article up at Deadspin!

        And, moments later, he tweeted this:

        So, it is more than a mass-resignation. It is a strike/mass-resignation.

        (Dude had “scab” tweeted at him multiple times. Striking appears to have evolved in the digital age.)Report

        • Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

          It’s not a strike if you resign. If you resign, you are not covered by your union-enforced CBA?

          I mean, I get what you are implying, but isnt the whole point of them unionizing focused on striking, under federal law as a protected thing, when the CBA is broken by owners?

          Isn’t resigning (besides being a really strong personal statement) a move that effectively voids all the legal and protective laws around how unions and unionized workforces are supposed to interact with management?

          I am actually curious here – I know nothing about how this should be handled, by say, a miners union or elec. brotherhood.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy! says:

            Dude, they were tweeting “scab” at him.

            He wasn’t crossing a picket line. Those people didn’t work there anymore. And yet he went on to tweet about how he was wrong to post something for Deadspin.Report

            • Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

              That is my point and we agree it is a weird artifact that we dont understand? Thats why I keep putting all these question marks in my comments!

              Anyone have a guess as to why it was a mass RESIGNATION instead of a STRIKE?

              Like, did the writers and editors just go fish it and skip the whole strike for concessions part of the union playbook? A ‘burn it down’ action without the normal recourse striking employees have, which is to, you know, keep working there?

              I just have so many questions.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy! says:

                Maybe striking has evolved?

                And social control tools are *PERFECTLY* calibrated for content creators that rely heavily on clicks?

                That’s my best guess.Report

              • Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

                Hadn’t considered that unionizing had evolved all the way around from striking to just quiting, you know, like the employees could have without a union.

                That or the union had zero internal support for a small, digital imprint that has been to the detriment of at least some of all the other union dues paying members’ and publications?

                I really don’t know! It’s a crazy situation. The GMG Union twitter is an interesting follow for the last couple days.Report

              • Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

                So GMG’s Union CBA is public (

                I would guess from reading that the management missives didn’t (in the union’s legal counsel’s opinion) constitute a break from the editorial parts of the CBA, so the non-strike clause was upheld? Makes sense that no one from the employee side has even uttered the word strike personally.

                IDK, it just seems like the system failed this time (or succeeded if you are a person who gets annoyed by bloggers being bloggers and want them to shut the hell up and entertain).

                Strange end to a very strange phenomenon that has left my internetting less full.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy! says:

                If they figured out how to game striking through quitting, they’re pulling something just crazy enough to work.

                Sickouts are something that I remember from my youth in Michigan that were technically not strikes but effectively applied similar pressure on management.

                It makes some weird sort of sense that they’d call the replacement writers “scabs”… because, at this point, the goal is either to get management to capitulate or to get Deadspin to close and they don’t care which.

                And I can’t wait to see what this does to “media” in the coming years.Report

            • Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

              As a side note – did you know yaboy BronzeHammer of Well. Nevertheless. fame was an OG deadspin commentor? He was quite funny then too.Report

    • James K in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Private equity firms are more often butchers than doctors – they aren’t there to heal the patient, but to extract as much value as possible from the carcass.

      I wouldn’t want to rule out managerial incompetence, but it is likely that the owners of Deadspin aren’t thinking of it as a going concern.Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to James K says:

        Going concern? It looks like its a distressed asset. Univision bought Gawker and six other websites for $135 million in a bankruptcy auction, and then closed Gawker. A few years later it sold the six remaining websites plus the Onion (including Clickhole and the A.V. Club) for $20.6 million.

        I wonder what it would cost to buy Deadspin now?Report

  2. Ozzzy! says:

    As a decade plus reader of deadspin, I have seen all the iterations and am sad it is gone.

    I am curious to understand the dynamics here, from a unionized workforce vs. ownership perspective. There was a huge push (even within the site itself and by its writers) to back the unionization. I think this was pre-judgement in the Bollea trial so before they were Univision owned, and pre Great Hill.

    They unionized expressly with the intent of creating a force to counteract the ownership of the publication (really started back when Denton pulled a kinda shitty story on Gawker). Why didn’t they strike over this? Why isn’t this a union vs owners issue? why would they all just quit and not pursue the (to my uninformed knowledge) the obvious path of fighting this as a union?*

    I really don’t know more about this than: Ownership was an issue years ago, they unionized. Ownership changed, several times. Splinter was disbanded. Everyone quit Deadspin. I guess I want to understand how a union should have helped since it clearly didn’t here?

    *CBA is not public, so really just trying to understand how the dynamics here led to the best option being resigning by the staffReport

  3. gregaink says:

    Long time reader of Deadspin. What i most liked about was that weren’t incessant suck ups to the various leagues and owners. I can get scores from espn or a billion other places. I can read jock commentary and x and o stuff in lots of place. But all those places are beholden to the leagues and need access. DS rightly came down on the ownership and the NCAA/ NFL, the two worst league offices. There is plenty of BS in sports that the trad sports sites won’t touch even if they see it.Report

  4. PD Shaw says:

    Good riddance. I stopped reading it many years ago after a misogynistic post belittling a writer asking how MLB can expand its female audience as it had committed while constantly running those old sleazy Paris Hilton commercials for Hardee’s. It was a reasonable post by a young woman sharing her feelings that it makes it seem like a boy’s attraction when they are running them at least once per commercial break during games. Dead Spin unleashed the insults and sexual innuendos, probably so they could show some clickbait pictures of Paris Hilton.

    It wasn’t that I read it much before; I don’t think any of the good on-line baseball media links to Deadspin in any positive fashion, some of the examples clearly made them vulnerable to libel lawsuits if people thought there was any money in there. It seems like they wanted to be provocateurs that moved the conversation, but did think they were serious enough to follow journalistic standards.Report

  5. The Deadspin article I best recall reading was this one: In return for a donation to charity, they got sportswriter Dan Le Batard to let them fill out his Hall of Fame ballot, which they did by polling their readers. It was both a criticism of the process, where a ballot is only given to a randomish collection of old-media figures, and a prank, Mostly a prank.

    The results were telling. Le Batard lost his voting privileges for disrespecting the Hall of Fame by casting a really good ballot that demonstrated how sensible fans can be. Meanwhile, the idiots who cast blank ballots (because they’re all juicing) or voted only for Jack Morris (because he played the game the right way) kept it up. Anyway, it’s this kind of intelligent irreverence that I’ll miss.Report

  6. Damon says:

    Management sets the direction. “In a statement, G/O Media Editorial Director Paul Maidment said Deadspin journalists “should go after every conceivable story, as long as it has something to do with sports” and the company is sorry that some staffers don’t agree “to work within that incredibly broad mandate.”” * That’s pretty broad. Stay in your lane. Don’t like it…EVERYONE is replaceable…especially journalists. I might add this “Megan Greenwell wrote in August after resigning. She said they “genuinely believe that they are rich because they are smart and that they are smart because they are rich, and that anyone less rich is by definition less smart.”” can be said for journalists too because they can write. They often know crap about their subject matter–that’s well documented–but they are journalists and should be listened too. Cough: learn to code.


  7. Out of curiosity, I just looked up the Deadspin coverage of yesterday’s NFL games: Utterly generic. Actually, that is not quite right. Any number of sites have better generic reports. This is sub-replacement level. I assume that they are currently scrambling for writers, so we will see. It will be interesting to see what they end up with, but given that a clear prerequisite for writers will be a willingness to toe the line, I doubt that the content itself will be very interesting. Needing the approval of your masters rarely produces good writing.

    Also for what it is worth, Deadspin back in the day (i.e. last week) was mostly fluff, with one or two acts of real journalism a week. I found the fluff pretty tiresome. The saving grace was that the editors posted prominent banners for the substantive pieces, so they were easy to identify. So many sites work very hard to hide their best work rather than admit that it isn’t all equally good. Deadspin’s approach there was quite refreshing.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Apparently Magary was told his Hater’s guides to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog were also subject to the axe. This makes no sense because those were not political (unless you think anything that snarks against a potential client is bad). Someone else speculated that the owners of Deadspin have a very old-fashioned and stereotypical view of sports fan: older, white, male, probably no college education, conservativ-leaning politics, exurban. The new Deadspin seems to confirm that suspicion.Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    Minor Update: