Nick Denton surprised some when he revealed he was relaunching Gawker's old tech rumor blog Valleywag this morning, as reported by Business Insider's Alyson Shontell. We asked a pair of old Valleywag editors what they think of the resurrection.
"It's the perfect time to bring back Gawker's Valleywag coverage," Ryan Tate told The Atlantic Wire in an email. "Silicon Valley is more culturally relevant than it's ever been, but its press corps remains remarkably narrow-minded and monotonous." Tate was the final Valleywag writer before Denton folded the vertical completely in February 2011.
Denton seems to agree. He told Business Insider that Valleywag 2.0 probably won't be around forever, but it will last at least until the second tech bubble is finally finished bursting and there's no rubble left to pick through. "This is the right time in the cycle for Valleywag," Denton told them. "As F*cked Company demonstrated ten years ago, an online bulletin board can become the publication of record."
Maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves. In case you don't know, Valleywag was an old Gawker Media site about Silicon Valley founded in 2006. Think the original Gawker ethos combined with a dash of TechCrunch but with way more Michael Arrington abuse. It was shut down as a standalone site in 2009 and turned into a section of Gawker when, full disclosure, our editor Gabriel Snyder was editing Gawker.
One of the big questions surrounding Valleywag's return will be whether or not they have the clout to break real scoops. Tate doesn't see it being too much of an issue, though. "There is plenty of gossip, absurdity, wealth, ostentation, scandal and opportunity for Gawker to feast on out here, much of it unexposed," he said. "So Gawker should get as many tips as ever, despite the break it took as it experimented with its voice and coverage."
The original Valleywag, Nick Douglas, is also bullish on his old blog's return. "Nick's plan is fantastic," Douglas said in an email to The Atlantic Wire. "When I edited Valleywag in 2006, the phrase 'My mom Facebook messaged me from her iPhone about my blog!' would have been a mockable line in a Bruce Sterling fanfic, rather than mundane tweet number 17 on a BuzzFeed list. What I mean is, tech is normal now. The CEOs show up in subway ads outside Silicon Valley. And there's enough drama to actually fill a blog. So this time they won't need to pad the feed with party photos." Valleywag was Douglas' first professional writing job back in 2006 when he was just out of college.
Much of Valleywag's success will likely hinge on who Denton gets to run the ship. Business Insider reported Denton approached two former Valleywag contributors to come back, though it's unclear who they are right now, and if they'll accept the offer. Douglas confirmed he wasn't one of them. "I couldn't possibly name the ideal editor," Douglas said. "Why bother? It's more fun when they rotate out every year." Tate was a bit more coy. "No comment on whether I was approached," he said. "I'm sure Nick will be able to find someone good who doesn't mind swimming against the tide. He always does, doesn't he? :)"