In a region as tight-knit and gossipy as Silicon Valley, Valleywag was inevitable.
The offspring of New York and Washington gossip sites Gawker and Wonkette, Valleywag debuted in January. And the man behind the guilty pleasure, which finds its own pleasure in writing about who's dating whom at Google or that Yahoo CEO Terry Semel tapes his passwords to the bottom of his laptop, is Nick Douglas.
Douglas recently talked to PRWeek about what makes a good story for Valleywag and why he wants more hate mail.
PRWeek: What was the impetus for Valleywag?
Nick Douglas: [Nick Denton, publisher of Gawker Media] has wanted to do a blog about this area for a long time. There used to be good gossip columns here that are no longer around. He had lived here for three years and was involved in startups. He's familiar with the area. There are a lot of bloggers in the Bay Area. But he wanted to do something different, not [just] another tech blog.
PRWeek: How is it similar to, and different from, Wonkette and Gawker?
Douglas: It's very similar in that there is hopefully a witty feel, but also enough of an insider view and information to make it interesting. However, [it shouldn't be so much of an] insider that only a few companies will read it.
I know that Gawker sometimes hires someone who is familiar with the region and sometimes someone from outside the region. I come from outside, which I think is helpful. I'm not some Silicon Valley borg. I'm coming at this with fresh eyes.
PRWeek: How do you decide what to write about?
Douglas: I try to focus on what people want. We generally go for big figures. My mom might not know these names, but most people in Silicon Valley will be familiar with them. There's some inside baseball. It's a good idea to have a balance with the gossip.
PRWeek: What are your favorite topics to cover?
Douglas: I really love writing Yahoo stuff. It's so fun to write about. The people seem really fun. I've gotten dozens of people from Yahoo asking for invitations to comment. I still have not received any from anyone at Google.
PRWeek: How has it been received thus far?
Douglas: I'm disappointed that it's mostly fan mail. If anyone out there thinks we're destroying the essence of the Valley, please write to me.
PRWeek: So you haven't heard from any PR people telling you not to write about their company or client? You haven't received any cease-and-desist letters?
Douglas: Not yet. I'm still waiting for my first cease-and-desist letter. And I'll write about it when I get it. We haven't reached the point yet where anyone would try to stop us. It would be thrilling to be at that point.