Valleywag, a widely-read Silicon Valley gossip blog, on Friday lost its editor-in-chief Nick Douglas. Douglas had launched the site in January 2006, after having dropping out of college to pursue the opportunity.
One source familiar with the site said Douglas was fired for not adequately improving the site’s traffic. His dismissal on Friday was a complete surprise, the source says. The blog’s publisher, Nick Denton, who runs Valleywag’s parent company, Gawker Media, says Douglas was not fired over a lack of page views. “Traffic’s been growing, but in order to grow, we have to reach a wider audience,” Denton says.
Denton is posting in the interim, until another editor can be found. He is interviewing people for the position, he says.
Valleywag has been averaging about 17,000 visitors and about 32,000 page views per day. Although those stats stack up well to other Silicon Valley blogs such as VentureBeat, they underperform other Gawker Media properties like political blog Wonkette, which averages 200,000 visitors and 245,000 page views each day during the work week.
“I think Valleywag could be a lot larger than it is,” Denton says. “San Francisco and the bay area are a lot smaller than some other regions, but there’s a lot of interest around the tech space right now.”
Denton says he wants someone older with a stronger reporting background to step into the editor and chief role. He says Douglas’s departure was the product of “A desire for more money stories and less sex.”
Valleywag got a big boom when it first launched for publicizing the news that Google founder Larry Page had been dating Marissa Mayer, a company vice president.
In the private equity world, Douglas broke the news that Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers had booted partner Russ Siegelman. Siegelman remains on the Kleiner Perkins website, but is not listed as one of the principals in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Nick Douglas could not be immediately reached for comment.