Gawker readying to retire banner ads

By Claire • NewsCred Blog • May 14, 2012

Gawker, the online news and gossip site, will soon be ditching banner ads in favor of an interactive alternative, according to an article by Poynter.

“We all know the conventional wisdom: the days of the banner advertisement are numbered,” Gawker founder Nick Denton said in a May 10 e-mail to staff. “In two years, our primary offering to marketers will be our discussion platform.”

Gawker's revamped discussion platform offers a new direction for online publications. Rather than offering users a laissez-faire forum, the new system requires the primary commenter to monitor the ensuing conversation. Discussion management, coupled with other forays into sponsored content, offer new revenue streams for the Gawker business.

“We expect that the banner ad business will be supplanted by our content services and content-driven commerce,” Denton said.

Gawker isn't the first business to shift away from banner ads. Facebook launched 'premium social ads' in February, Twitter is now treating ads as content, and brand partnerships make up a great deal of the monetization efforts of the Huffington Post. (The site launched it's Johnson & Johnson-sponsored "global motherhood" page in January, for example.)

For publications these efforts offer a welcome alternative to traditional banner ads, whose click-through rate still hovers near .024 percent.

Image: Financial Times/Flickr

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