A Fight for Love and Glory

Yesterday I bounced off a capsule review of the Bloggies to mention plans by blog entrepreneur Nick Denton to add two new, sponsor-supported sites.

Today I ping off Susan Mernit, who writes about plans by MediaBistro ‘s Elizabeth Spiers to launch a New York media trade blog called FishBowlNY. Mernit cites the New York Times as her source, saying the paper “is pitching it as clash of the titans, with Gawker publisher Nick Denton and former employee Spiers going head to head.”

Denton’s early foray into the blogosphere has earned him gobs of exposure. Less has been written about MediaBistro, the New York-operation founded by Laurel Touby. She is a former magazine writer who started organizing cocktail parties for freelancers around 1993. Circa 1997 she created a web site. In 2000 she got $1 million from the Gotham Partners hedge fund and New Republic owner Martin Peretz. Her idea was to create an online freelance marketplace in which MediaBistro would intermediate between editors looking to outsource articles and freelancers seeking assignments. MediaBistro also organizes cocktail parties in various cities, including my town of San Francisco, where media types gather to gossip, job prospect, sip wine and flirt.

Denton’s Gawker recently took a shot at Touby, suggesting one of her photos was perhaps a tad too décolletage. A casual search, however, turned up a post by Mike Stone wondering why Denton would launch the girly-blog site Fleshbot. Stone’s post included another swipe by Jason Calcanis. I noticed yesterday that Nick critiqued one of Jason’s business plans. Personally, I would be shocked, shocked to think that there was backbiting in cyberspace.

In any event, I felt obliged to visit Fleshbot, not because I’m a married, middle-aged man consumed by unrequited lust, but out of a sense of journalistic duty. Having been there I can see why Denton launched the site. It probably draws traffic. I, of course, only read the articles.

In closing, let me point out that Susan Mernit, whose posting spurred this exercise, was nominated for a Bloggie in the “best-kept-secret” category — a point which I mention not so much as a plug for Susan, but rather to suggest there may be a circular method to the MiniMediaGuy’s madness.

Tom Abate
“Cause if you ain’t mass media, you’re mini media.”