Nick Douglas axed at Valleywag

Et tu, Nick Denton? It appears that young Nick Douglas, the brash young gossip-monger behind Valleywag, has left the building. Nick the Elder — i.e., Nick Denton, publisher of Valleywag and founder of Gawker Media — has taken over writing duties and Nick the Younger (the former writer for Blogebrity that Denton plucked from obscurity) has moved on.

Where has he moved on to? No word on that — nor on whether the young lad with the rapier keyboard was shown the door (something Denton has a habit of doing with his online proteges from time to time) or left of his own volition. Although since we are dealing with the king of rumour-mongering, I would be remiss if I didn’t pass on a rumour that he was looking at joining a video entity of some kind, a rumour that Dave Winer was circulating awhile back.

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According to Denton — in an interview with Bambi Francisco from Marketwatch — he wants to make Valleywag more about financial gossip instead of just “about sex in the Valley.” He tells Bambi “it would have been nice to get the Google-YouTube deal” or some juicy stories about potential startup acquisitions, and that he’s working on a juicy scoop about John Battelle’s Federated Media. He says that he wants to boost Valleywag’s page views from their current level of about 20,000 (which seems surprisingly small to me).

For more on the brief career of Mr. Douglas, check out an interview R.U. Sirius did for 10ZenMonkeys — in which he talks about Kevin “Tailrank” Burton’s personal life and psychoanalyzes Cory “BoingBoing” Doctorow, among other things — and also a profile in Business Week magazine. Thomas Hawk of Zooomr has some thoughts on Nick’s departure, and wants to know more about it, but I think he’s wasting his time. Nick Denton is the Zen master of PR.

Update:

If this post about John Battelle losing Fark from its stable of properties is anything to go by, I hope Nick the Elder sticks around and writes for Valleywag permanently. Not that I didn’t enjoy Nick Douglas, but it’s exponentially more hilarious to hear Denton talking about how his relationship with Battelle is “passive-aggressive” and how he thought his book on Google was “sycophantic.” Battelle puts up his dukes here.

For insiders (or those with no life whatsoever), I also highly recommend the comments on Nick Denton’s post, in which former Gawker editor Elizabeth Spiers goes after former Dentonite Andrew Krucoff, Matt Haughey disses the new Valleywag design, and Jason Calacanis offers Nick Douglas a job — and notes that he owns nickdenton.net.

Update 2:

10 Zen Monkeys has a post that tries to put to rest some of the rumours about what Nick Douglas (or “Little Nicky” as Jason calls him) is up to, but only succeeds in generating even more. The only comments from Douglas via email are: “I still like Nick Denton” and “I’m wide open for job and gig offers.” Nick has also posted a short goodbye at Valleywag that (as one commenter notes) contains very little of any substance.

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