Gawker.com and its archives were sold to Bryan Goldberg, the founder of Bustle and Bleacher Report, for $1.35 million in a closed-door auction. The initial bidding was led by a $1.13 million offer from marketer Kevin Lee, who intended to turn the site into what he called “Gawker for Good,” a celebrity-driven site that would donate half of its net advertising revenue to charity. Gawker stopped publishing in 2016, after a lawsuit brought against the company by Hulk Hogan and funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel forced it to declare bankruptcy.
Given that his career has been based on creating content farms, Goldberg’s reputation in media circles is, to put it lightly, not great. He was the subject of a lacerating 2013 New Yorker profile, and described as a “notable mansplainer” in The Atlantic. He was also singled out repeatedly for criticism by Gawker. In a series of posts on Gawker and ValleyWag, Goldberg was skewered as a “self-serving misogynist” and “not a smart man ... who mocks himself better than his critics ever could.”
This is not a good sign for the site’s archives. Heading into the auction there appeared to be few—if any—good possible outcomes. But, with the exception of being purchased by Thiel himself (who pulled out of the bidding in April), this is about as ominous as it gets.