Funding Friday: Save

I backed this project when it launched last week.

Here’s the pitch:
Gawker isn’t gone, it’s up for auction. The person who drove the site into bankruptcy wants to buy it.
We’re a group of former Gawker Media employees across editorial, tech, and business, and we want to put in our own bid to buy it back.
We believe the site can thrive in an entirely membership funded model.
The Gawker Foundation is a non-profit with a dual mission:
1.) Preserve the archives and make them accessible.
2.) Relaunch the site under the stewardship of former editors, new writers, and an entirely membership-funded model.

Here’s the video:

Click here to back this project.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Michael J Lambie

    Valleywag was what got me interested in startup culture back when i was studying so far from Silicon Valley away in Ann Arbor. Gawker was quite the empire. It would be interesting to see what Peter Thiel would want to do with it. It’s nice that ex-Gawkers are willing to put in a bid! that’s some passion.

  2. Ankur Shrivastava

    Gawker deserves to die. One shouldn’t be allowed to invade another person’s complete privacy in the garb of freedom of speech. If we are so riled up about government/ Facebook having our data and want to protect our privacy against them, media should also be held accountable with same principles. One could’ve backed this project if there were a semblance of a proposed change of approach, or a sorry about how they behaved in the past. No, they just want to make the other party as a complete predator and want to escape ownership of their mistake. What if it were a woman instead of Hulk Hogan? Would this crowdfunding campaign ever fly? Would anyone be proud in claiming that they helped save a media house that invaded a woman’s privacy? And please remember that a powerful person being able to fund litigation against a “free speech media outlet” secretly is a *secondary* issue, so let’s not keep it mixed up forever. Will shutdown of Gawker be something that’s gone too far – not in my opinion. But even if so, it’s a lesson that people’s privacy > questionably-principled-media.

    1. JLM

      .The English language does not have the words to describe how much I agree with you.Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. DJL

        We are going to create a special logarithmic “agreement scale” just for you. As words run out, we move to numbers.

        1. Ankur Shrivastava

          I actually thought I’ll get more hate than agreement for writing the comment! Pleasantly surprised that so many have the same lens on the issue.

          1. DJL

            Like I said in another post. Very rare! (And most other’s posts are much more thoughtful than mine. So I always appreciate the detail to support my already-formed opinion. :>)

          2. sigmaalgebra

            My opinion of nearly all the press and media is lower than(1) Most lawyers.(2) Sewage in the drinking water.(3) Ayatollah Kockamamie.(4) A rabid skunk that wandered into the backyard BBQ.(5) Ding Dung Dong Song Little Rocket Boy in Ping Pong Yang.(6) Chuck Schumer’s favorite “diversity lottery” winner Ali Abdul al Fataw Abu “Death to Infidels” Jihad Bakr Boom Boom bin Car Bomb with training in flying the big jets — as Ali Abdul would say, “Fly? Yes. Land? No.”, borrowing from Indiana Jones. Gee, I’m one of Ali Abdul’s intended infidels. Chucky, no doubt, so are YOU along with your sweethearts Kirsten and Nancy.(7) A radioactive Burmese python snake in a sewer.(8) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi…., but words escape me, and since apparently this media rot is not nearly new I’ll borrow Jefferson’s words as athttp://press-pubs.uchicago….withThomas Jefferson to John Norvell 14 June 1807 Works 10:417–18Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knolege with the lies of the day. I have collected data on specific reasons I hate the NYT, WaPo, and more, but for Gawker, I don’t have URLs, quotes, etc. as evidence.So, on general principles I’d be disposed to agree with you about Gawker, but as it is specifically for Gawker I’m short on facts with details, etc.At one time, I wanted to learn about politics and government, e.g., wanted the news. While trying to learn, at one point I counted up and found that I was subscribing to 22 news related periodicals. When I was in grad school, one summer with my parents in DC, I read The Washington Post daily. From all of that news reading, soon I came to a conclusion: The content was 99 44/100% (the old Ivory soap purity claim) junk and biased, irrational, without good evidence, etc. and lost respect for the media. Since then I have realized my mistakes: I still thought far too highly of the media.I’ve griped about the media, written letters and blog posts, etc. Finally I’ve just settled in on depending on the old philosophical attitude the categorical imperative, I ignore nearly all the news outlets, and if nearly everyone else did the same then the worst of the media would stop.I ignored Gawker, and now maybe they are an example — enough people ignored them that they are going out of business.Likely wide understanding of good information can lead to better government, but somehow not enough people really want the information and not enough media sources provide it. So, essentially the news is just manipulation in a pissing match. The information and facts don’t much matter, and the winner is usually just the better pisser. Sure, we want competence in government, and being good at pissing is one measure of competence; we’ve got horrible government but maybe better than we deserve.So, e.g., for a recent pissing match, there was the issue of Network Neutrality. The leading fact about that debate was the information, small in quantity and low in quality. So, it was really a pissing match, maybe one clique, tribe, or interest group against another.An old joke about, say, the NYT or WaPo, was “Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” Maybe the good news is that with the Internet people with good facts and information can win with a network that sends data at trillions of bits per second. In a sense, that future is one of the supporting pillars of my startup. My startup or not, we will have better government and media just as soon as enough people so insist.Yes, then maybe things will get better and many people will pay more attention to washing their boat or taking a nap and less to media and government. That, too, is an old story as inSometimes attributed to Thomas Jefferson”Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” Ah, not easy for things to get better on average unless things get better for lots of individuals. So, for my part, I should get things better for me: It looks like for my development computer, whatever dumb motherboard problem has caused me so much trouble, is about to be fixed! Looks like I’m about to order some parts for a good, new computer. So, I’ll step back a generation and stay with DDR3 main memory and processor cores that have no hyper threading and run at most one thread at a time. I do want error correcting coding (ECC) main memory. So, likely I’ll get a good case with lots of room for disk drives and good fans for good cooling, a capable Asus motherboard with an AM3+ socket for AMD FX series processors, a 4 or 6 core AMD processor (I’m concerned about the case cooling challenges of their 8 core processor), some SATA hard disk drives at 1-2 TB each, space for a solid state disk drive (SSD) for a special purpose later, 1-2 more USB connected external hard disk drives, mostly for backup, and run Windows 7 64 bit Professional and Windows Server, IIS, SQL Server, etc.That bad motherboard slowed me down; I did too many small fixes that, in the end, were not enough. Now I’ll get a good fix!If people like my work, then that computer should let me go from now to going live and having some good early revenue, maybe $260 K a month from just that server. Sure, long before all the checks for $260 K arrive, I’ll have some more servers on a shelf in a spare bedroom with HVAC, reliable power, etc.

    2. LE

      One shouldn’t be allowed to invade another person’s complete privacy in the garb of freedom of speech.The press does this all the time. Even legit press will publish allegations which damage people’s reputation. Or businesses. They need literally no more than someone who appears to have the markings of legitimacy saying something and then they publish. Then that person (or company) gets ‘tried in the media’ as others repeat the story and it gets legs.The hate of gawker appears to be simply a case (and I was not a reader at all btw) of people thinking that wherever they draw the line is the right place. Like with paying taxes what you do seems ok the other guy who is a bigger pig is the cheat. Same with speeding and so many other things in life. Religious followings and so on.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Ah, you have something in common with my mom: She was bright, insecure, had worked hard: Dropped out of high school at 14 to get a job to help support the family. Later finished high school at night school in secretarial. She was good at secretarial — typing, spelling, bookkeeping, etc. She was highly skilled socially (didn’t teach that to my father, brother, or me) and was terrific at social climbing among the rich people.The thing in common: She distrusted the utility of what was taught in college, concentrated on what was not in such books, and was good at learning and figuring out that knowledge.But, still she saw that a Ph.D. looked like a good ticket to the ends of her interests in social climbing, e.g., financial security, and that is much of why both my brother and I got Ph.D. degrees. In part she was correct: At times in college and through my Ph.D., I did learn some things that should be effective for business, especially now with computing and the Internet.Or if learn a lot of stuff, then maybe some of it will be good and good for you. If you don’t learn anything or learn too little, then none of it will do you any good.

        1. LE

          Your mother like my mother was raised in the golden age where a degree could differentiate you from the blue collar worker. I was raised in a time when being an attorney was a good ticket just a bit south of being a doctor.

  3. jason wright

    I don’t know about this one. you live by the sword and you die by the sword. with great power comes great responsibility. they had the power. did they show responsibility? no.Denton showed Thiel no respect for his personal privacy. what Gawker did there was absolutely outrageous, and the journalists we’re not leaving in protest (that I’m aware of). One has to assume that they approved. If Thiel had had a public policy role conflict of interest angle relating to his private life and relationships then perhaps that might have been a justification, but I’m not aware that there was such a conflict of interest. tell me I missed now we have to save the journalists, and because only they can shine the light of truth on a corrupt industry? it feels like emotional blackmail to me, and very cake and eat it.p.s. Rupert now has money to spend. perhaps he’ll become the funder of ankle biters and disrupt the incumbents. he still has time to atone.

    1. DJL

      I am in awe. I am not sure there has been this much agreement on a topic in the history of AVC.

      1. jason wright

        yep. I was thinking the same thing. these are the moments when we know that we do share in the company of decent of people here on AVC. we should not forget that when other debates become more polarised. there are certain immutable universal rights, and privacy not conflicting with a public interest in one of them.

        1. DJL

          In my humble opinion, we have a lot more in common (as people) than we have differences. It is just that the conversations (driven much by the modern media) have become so polarizing that the true issue gets distorted.

          1. jason wright

            that is so true. we have to guard against being ‘primed’ to serve one camp or another.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Well, with all this Gemütlichkeit, around a campfire, fueled with old Gawker and Sunday NYT copies, joining hands, singing Kumbayah, I’ll disagree a little while we get out the wooden sticks, marshmellows, hot dogs, buns, and apple cider with cinnemon, and girls (yup, that’s the politically INcorrect version of women!)!!!Arguing with the media to make them quit printing sewage reminds me of:what Mark Twain said about trying to teach a pig to sing: It wastes your time and annoys the pig. Besides, what is the potential upside of arguing with the media? On paper, they can’t compete with Charmin, and on the Internet they are useless for wrapping dead fish heads. What possible upside could there ever be from the track records of the NYT, WaPo, LAT, Politico, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, Newsweek, Time?So, from all I can see, the best response to the bad media is just to ignore them. If nearly everyone else also did that, then soon we would have less bad media. Although I don’t know much about Gawker, maybe they are an example.

  4. bsoist

    I am no fan of Thiel or his response to Gawker, but I certainly don’t think what they did to him was right in any sense. And let’s be honest, I might have done the same thing he did in that case.I don’t like the idea of Thiel owning it, but if I had to choose now, I’d prefer that to seeing it go back to the same team.I’d rather just see it go away.

  5. Pete Griffiths

    They behaved badly ‘outing’ people with no respect for their feelings or those of them close to them. Sorry, but I have no sympathy for them.

  6. Salt Shaker

    Prob more inertia and public interest in “Saving Ferris” than “Saving Gawker.” One is a classic, the other classless. Could it be having Gawker on their c/v is a job killer, hence the rallying of wagons?

    1. LE

      I don’t think it’s a job killer at all. You are in a highly competitive field (publishing) where anything that differentiates you from a normal nobody schnook is going to do way more good than bad. Not even close.Let’s take the case of someone working in the Trump whitehouse. Now if you are already branded as a player and a person of formidable ability working in the Trump Whitehouse is probably going to kill more job prospects than it will open better doors. Because those doors are already open for you. You are branded. But say you are a nobody (working for a shit law firm or shit web design firm) and you get a job in the Trump White House. I’d would guarantee that that is going to open doors and opportunity more so than if your resume does not have that. The bigger sun gets the attention and exerts more force (or whatever I am talking about you get the point I am making).Let’s bring Hitler into this now. I can do that if I want to make a point. If you are a big lawyer already you might not take that case. If you are a nobody would be best thing ever to defend Hitler, Manson, Unabomber, Mass Murderers and so on.

      1. JLM

        .”Let’s bring Hitler into this now.”A sentence which will never die of overuse, one hopes.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  7. Michal Illich

    Hmm, reading “The person who drove the site into bankruptcy wants to buy it.” I thought that they mean former CEO of Gawker.Only from the comments here I learned that they probably meant Thiel. Sorry, that’s not how it works. Responsibility about bankruptcy goes to the management of the company. If they lost a case in independent court, the responsibility is still theirs, not the guy’s who sued them.

  8. pointsnfigures

    Desperation saves only happen in hockey

  9. Pianella

    Gawker was really a cesspit of malice and snark. The last straw for me was when the outed a private businessman and sent his life into unnecessary chaos for absolutely no good reason. Of all the failed ventures that deserve to have failed, Gawker takes the cake.

  10. JLM

    .OMG, I would rather write a check to Hillary Clinton for President 2020.What these guys need is one or more of the following:1. Sunlight;2. Wooden stake through the heart;3. A silver bullet which has been dipped in Holy Water;4. Burning at the stake; or,5. Beheading and stuffing their mouth with garlic.If you live in an area which has vampires, you will recognize the remedies.I, personally, have always been a silver bullet guy.Gawker managed to violate every norm of good behavior in record time. Karma.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  11. DJL

    A 3000 word expose on Donald Trumps’ hair. (Featured on their page) How can we live without that?

  12. Dorian Benkoil

    The battle of Wilson vs. Thiel? I was not a fan of the way Gawker did its work, and was subjected to some of their, let me call it vitriol, under an editor who recently got canned for abuses he allegedly committed at Vox Media. That said, I think Fred’s in the right here. I believe in independent journalism and do not want to see those with money able to use those funds to shut it down when that journalism goes against them. Remember, Thiel didn’t win a case for anything Gawker said about him; he instead brought on their demise by funding the legal case of a pro wrestler, whose case was in a jurisdiction that was said to be not sympathetic to media.

    1. Ankur Shrivastava

      1. Outing a crime > 2. People’s privacy > 3. Freedom of speech > 4. Independent journalism > 5. Uncomfortable truths.Firstly, it was not 4 against 5. It was 2 against 4. 2 wins and should be able to beat the shit out of 4.Secondly, it sounds as if a court ruling in the US is impacted by how rich the petitioner is. And that people would like the petitioner to stick to known sources to fund her legal expenses, else it’s okay if she were unable to fight the legal case if she’s poor.

      1. JLM

        .In the US, one does not get the justice they deserve; they get the justice they can afford.Justice may be blind, but she can read the denomination of a bill with her fingertips.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  13. Duncan van der Waals

    Gawker was one of the sleaziest media sites on the Internet. Wanting it to return is like wanting to increase pollution in the air and water.

  14. Dennis Mykytyn

    The fact that they are using a Gawker defaced public sidewalk in their Kickstarter campaign tells you all you need to know about this crowd.

  15. Frank W. Miller

    C’mon, Valleywag was awesome!!

  16. LE

    The ks campaign is a great idea for sure good month long publicity vehicle.Digging in a bit, this is what is going on:…The assets for sale include the Gawker brand, domain name, social media accounts and archive of stories.Comment: I am curious how they can launch under a different brand (if the crowdfunding fails) and use the archive of stories that are sold at the auction. Also anything they use will not be able to sound or be close to ‘gawker’ that will be, for tm purposes, a non-starter.Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc. acquired Gawker Media’s other websites last summer for $135 million. Those sites—Jezebel, Gizmodo, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Jalopnik and Kotaku—were integrated into Univision’s Fusion Media Group and have been operated under a new company, Gizmodo Media Group. But Univision declined to take, leaving the site in the hands of advisers liquidating the media company founded by Nick Denton. The site has been dormant for nearly a year. The terms of the Univision sale restrict anyone from publishing new content on until March 9, 2018And finally this:In bankruptcy, Gawker Media settled with Mr. Bollea, for $31 million. The settlement also entitles Mr. Bollea to 45% of any proceeds from a potential sale of there must be some deep pocket person/group ready to step in and fund the operation and that the ks campaign is just a viability test.If there is any interest by a third party I am not seeing this for going for anything like what they will raise on kickstarter as it has more value than $500k even if they manage to raise that. Another party will just bid a bit more since the value is already proven by the ks campaign in a way.

    1. JLM

      .Yep, the KS campaign discovers the price + $1.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  17. jason wright

    are you backing this Fred?

    1. fredwilson

      yes, of course

      1. jason wright

        thanks. so how do you see it? I agree that independent journalism is essential, but it is not an ‘anything goes’ endorsement. independent journalism needs to hold the irresponsibility of gutter press (British tabloid style) journalism to account. how can it do that when it grossly abuses a person’s privacy? it loses any moral authority it may claim to have.they deserve a second chance? I believe in second chances. we all fu. this one seems disingenuous though.

        1. JLM

          .Before one can debate the issue of independence, one has to explore whether is actually journalism.While journalism should concern itself with “news” and verification of facts, there are other considerations:1. Is it true? Can its fundamental truth be verified?2. Is it unbiased or does the story itself simply mirror a bias?3. Is the story decent? This is, likely, the most difficult to enforce.4. Does the story violate the rights of anyone involved?I would like to add whether the story is intended to be a weapon of pain and hurt, but that would get to the issue of intent.There are many ways a story can be told. No one version is sacrosanct.Given these tests, the pretense that the National Inquirer (or is actually journalism is exploded.My personal test — which has nothing to do with journalism — is — Does the world need this?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Naw, as from the movie Back to Schoolin…”You left out a bunch of stuff!”. Or, also from the video clip, where to find such media?”How about fantasy land?”. Here is some of what you left out:(1) The first obligation of the reporters is to please the editor. The first obligation of the editor is to please the publisher. The first interest of the publisher is more readers for more ad revenue.(2) Never over estimate the maturity, good sense, or rationality of the audience.Remember the wisdom. “A sucker is born every minute.”.(3) Remember, IIRC, from E. Fromm:The fundamental problem of humans is addressing the anxiety from our realization that alone we are vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature and society. Well, that anxiety is the key means of hooking an audience. So, scare the audience with all possible cases of “the hostile forces of nature and society”. So, emphasize earthquakes, tornadoes, Tsunamis, droughts, floods, blizzards, global cooling, global warming, asteroids, famines, epidemics, other cases of disease, crime in the streets, crime on Wall Street, crime in politics, adultery, rape, murder, terrorism, war, etc.(4) The main technique of journalism is to borrow from formula fiction with admirable white hats, a big problem for the white hats, contemptible black hats, the cause of the problems for the white hats. The stories are about making the readers feel afraid of the threat of the black hats and, sometimes, feel good by cutting down the black hats. The media is often right on the edge of inciting vigilante justice.But, like in a good movie, the black hat doesn’t really lose until near the end, and only then does the white hat get knighthood from the queen and the hand of the beautiful woman. Since that is the end of the story, rarely do the newsies provide that.(5) The next technique is to have not just independent stories but series of stories, with a new titillating tidbit each day or two. The next technique is not to report the news but to create the news and then report that. The next technique is not to appeal to the audience but to create some new interests in the audience and then continually feed those interests. The NYT did a lot of all of these for years with global warming.(6) Be not confused: The content is not to provide information, to create an “informed citizenry”, or good government but just to get attention from readers.In this, never over research a story. Never concentrate on the actual information; that is boring and hardly effective at all. Instead, the main content is to be emotional.(7) A lot of why the media get the attention they want is that for much of their audience the media is a form of entertainment, e.g., people wanting not to feel alone (see Fromm above), feel like they have solid, secure understandings without the effort of thinking, evidence, or information. E.g., it’s really common for bored people to watch lots of TV regarding the characters they see there as their important friends.(8) Stories are not to inform the reader but to grab the reader by the heart, the gut, or below the belt, always below the shoulders, never between the ears.(9) Have shocking, deceptive headlines that are right on or over what is legal for a news source.(10) Take sides; appeal to selected cliques, tribes, demographics, political inclinations.(11) Fundamentally the news is manipulation with the goal of money from ad revenue.Ah, I probably left out a bunch of stuff!Sure, here’s some: Fox Babes! Cleavage! Tight skirts above the knee!

          2. jason wright

            it was unremittingly daily.every piece that presents itself as authentic journalism should have a footer indexing the anatomy of its construction. which lobbyist, which PR firm, which ad agency, et al. lift the veil.

  18. chartreuse

    Of all the threads I have read here over the years, this one is the most depressing.The things that really made America great, a robust free press, fully funded public schools, a constant move toward ‘justice for all’and the like, is what a lot of supposedly smart people are rallying against.There are more remedies now for press you feel is unfair than ever before. Besides lawsuits and the like you can post your views on all the various social media platforms that everyone can see. If you are a public figure that the media cares about you surely have followers.We ate on a dangerous and truly unAmerican path. Some of you should be ashamed.

  19. Gawker was wicked

    Gawker was a wicked website that spread unsubstantianted and nasty rumors.Fred Wilson appears to be “losing it.” If Fred Wison wants to oppose Peter Thiel this is not a good way to do it.