TMZ's growth was built upon three gigantic stories: Mel Gibson's meltdown; Michael Richards' racist outburst; and Michael Jackson's death.
We learned our lesson: aggressive news-mongering trumps satirical blogging. Gawker.com's growth since 2008 — from 300,000 people a week in the US to 1.4m — came in steps. After each story-driven spike — Tom Cruise's Scientology pitch video, Montauk Monster, Eric Dane's hot-tub non-orgy, iPad security breach, Christine O'Donnell's Halloween sleepover, etc — the audience settled back down, but at a higher level. The same pattern holds for Deadspin, which has ridden a sensational series of scoops culminating in the revelation that Brett Favre had stalked a buxom sideline reporter.
Not that you thought Gawker was anything but tabloid hackery but now it will be tabloid hackery that de-emphasizes blogging, as explained in this stunning blueprint of the modern internet.
Had a friendly argument recently over whether Vvork.com is a "trending" website. I say no, unless it's the single trend of the persistence of certain art conventions (all-white rooms, photo-documentation, theory references) in the face of changes in the world and the Internet.
As previously discussed, several recent articles have suggested a trend in the use of animated GIFs, by artists and those professionally unburdened by "art," yet you basically never see GIFs on Vvork. Lots of YouTubes yes, because they are a way to transmit video art. But GIFs are flashy and blingy and fun and too many of them would upset the site's core principles of austerity, high seriousness, and respect for institutional authority. That is to say, its enduring monotrend.
Update: jmb notes that vvork has animated GIFs. A page and a half out of hundreds, consider me unimpressed. Actually less than that, because about half the GIFs on those pages don't move. [Minor edits to the post to remove absolutes.]
Update 2: Assuming the search terms are reliable I count 14 posts with moving GIFs out of 4400 posts. A few stills from/links to animated GIFs can be found, so much more "documentary."
Update 3: What set me off (among other things): Ryder Ripps has been doing great GIF work (page back from here for some recent examples), some using FX plugins as a kind of default, others just smart mixing and matching, so of course vvork.com blogs his international collection of facebook songs on youtube. Nothing against that collection, but it's such a predictable choice from them. YouTube collections will always be hot with a certain Net Art curating set; GIFs are harder to get a bead on. Just please don't tell me Vvork is a trend website: somehow they manage to make 4000 artists seem like they're all in the same group.
Update 4: Have been a proud Vvork complainer since Spring 2007; the nature of the griping changes but curiously, the site never does.
Update 5: Changed "never" to "rarely" and then to "basically never." Apologies for the vacillation; am trying to find the right balance between truth and nitpicking.