Reading Markos Moulitsas’ blog post on Daily Kos the other day, I couldn’t help but detect a sense of utter relief. The Daily Kos founder had launched a major site redesign within the last month and he knew the stakes were high. In the post he embedded two screen grabs: 1. The traffic data for Digg after it launched its Version 4 (widely thought to be an abysmal failure), and 2. The traffic data for Gawker.com, which launched its own redesign earlier this month. Both cases painted a drastic picture of how easy it is to alienate readers when rolling out a plethora of features at once. But then Moulitsas displayed his own site’s stats:
we’ve had … steady traffic. No systemic collapse … We may have even gotten a bit of a boost, though I’m going to credit Wisconsin for that. Bottom line, we didn’t suffer a Digg- or Gawker-style collapse. The Daily Kos audience stuck with the site.
Meanwhile, Gawker founder Nick Denton issued his own post commenting on his recent redesign, and this one wasn’t as rosy. He addresses several criticisms against the redesign (here are my own I made a few weeks ago) and what he’ll do to fix it. This includes making it much easier for readers to switch back to the “classic” pre-redesign view of the blog.
After the launch in early February, Denton made a bet with another blogger: “I’m on the record that I think the redesigns will fail. And I’m now officially opening the betting pool. I think Denton is going to be forced to pull back on this. If anyone wants to wager that the redesign don’t get yanked back (or greatly modified) by, let’s say, June 1… I’ll take your bet.”
So does this mean Denton lost the bet?