Based in LA, the original Defamer blog — part of the Gawker Media stable along with Gawker , Wonkette and Valleywag — takes Hollywood gossip for a smart and riotous spin.
Australia is getting some of the action. Not that there’s been much fanfare — Crikey only discovered the active site yesterday thanks to a bit of procrastinatory internet gambolling. Gawker Media’s gadget blog Gizmodo also has an Australian spin-off.
The two titles are published in Australia by Allure Media — an outfit that was established by Netus, an investment company which sets up proven tech-based business models in the Australian market. Netus, which is financially backed by News Limited, is run by folk like eCorp alumni Daniel Petre and Alison Deans who helped bring eBay to Australia (as MediaConnect/ITJourno (via Squash) has noted).
Crikey understands that Netus initiated the arrangement, approaching Gawker Media to do a licensing deal. And although it’s stopping at two blogs at this stage, Allure Media in fact has “rights to all the Gawker titles”, managing director of Allure Media Chris Janz tells Crikey.
But we shouldn’t expect an Australian Wonkette any time soon. They’re stopping at one gossip publication for now.
Defamer was chosen for Australia, rather than its more famous sister blog Manhattan-based Gawker, because the Hollywood focus translates more easily for an Australian audience. And Defamer Oz will be sharing copy with the US version.
As for the Australian content, it’s in good hands. At the helm is Jess McGuire who established herself as an Australian blogosfigure at pop culture mecca Ausculture which brought us all-important live blogging of Australian Idol and Big Brother, Neighbours wraps, Dolly Parton Appreciation Week and turkeyslapgate.
So will the bitchy and witty Ausculture vibe penetrate Defamer Oz? “I would hope so”, McGuire tells Crikey. There are “no plans of impersonating Mark [Lisanti], editor of Defamer. The good folks that are getting me to do it, knew what they were getting into. I won’t change my writing style too much … Though perhaps I “won’t be as rudely angry about political issues”.
The Defamer approach is to “not ever really be cruel” and “that’s my philosophy” for the Australian edition, she says. The aim is to produce something that’s shamelessly pop culture-based but more clever than one-trick ponies like puerile gossip blog Perez Hilton. “I can’t fathom why the Australian media is bending over backwards for Perez Hilton“, says McGuire. “He’s not a good writer … I have a problem with the media fel-ating him”. There are “far better bloggers in the States writing about pop culture”.
Still, she concedes, “there’s a market for everything”.
And it’s time to see if there’s room for an Australian Defamer. “This is an experiment to see how commercial blogging works here”, says Janz.