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.