Viral phenom Neetzan Zimmerman is leaving Gawker for an as-yet unnamed a start-up that doesn’t compete with Gawker, Gawker editor John Cook announced this afternoon on Twitter.
According to an update from Capital New York’s Matthew Lynch, Mr. Zimmerman will be the editor in chief of Whisper, a social network for people who want to share secrets that has a lot of start-up cash.
“WELP. Neetzan Zimmerman, the Editor of the Internet, is leaving Gawker. I’ll leave it to him to share the details of what he’s doing next,” Mr. Cook wrote in a staff email with the subject line “Nothing Gold Can Stay” that was first posted by Capital New York. “But I will say it’s no surprise that, given the nearly two years he’s had here, Neetzan has been approached by all manner of news and entertainment sites, and happily for us, he’s spurned them all. His next move is to a start-up that is not among our competitors in the news business.”
During his time at Gawker, Mr. Zimmerman racked up the pageviews, prompting The Wall Street Journal‘s Farhad Manjoo to write that he ”may be the most popular blogger working on the Web today.”
Seriously, he’s really good at getting traffic.
In the December WSJ article detailing Mr. Zimmerman’s traffic-generating technique , Mr. Manjoo explained that Mr. Zimmerman is a human who is skilled at getting people to click on and share his posts, not a machine, because, unlike a machine, he is a human and understands humans.
And now Mr. Zimmerman is taking his (super) human traffic generating talent to a (presumably) more profitable venture.
But it’s okay, according to Mr. Cook. Gawker will just have to find another human who is really good at getting posts to go viral. Or maybe a machine? It is 2014, after all.
“Anyway, we’re fucked, start traffic-whoring. BUT SERIOUSLY FOLKS: Neetzan will be a loss, but one of the reasons, beyond his talent, that he’s been the guy pulling in the big numbers here is that he has been the guy tasked with pulling in the big numbers here. That strategy–traffic scapegoating–won’t change. We’ll find others to harness the power of Facebook algorithms and make sure we’re hitting the traffic sweetspots that we need to,” Mr. Cook wrote.
But whatever, just wait for Kinja to come into its own.