Kotaku, Deadspin, hit by punitive measures over advert protests

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Kotaku, Deadspin, and other websites in the same network have recently come under fire from their owners after staging a protest against intrusive and “atrocious” sound-on autoplay adverts added to the websites.

The issue started with new adverts which were recently added to the websites which autoplay with sound on. These “objectively bad” adverts were met with a poor response not only from readers of the websites in the G/O Media network but also by staff. In response to these adverts, posts across the network were uploaded to raise the issue with their new owners, a “new private equity owner management team”, and advise readers to send their feedback to the owners.

The post, titled ‘A Note to Our Readers’ was posted across G/O Media sites, such as Kotaku, Deadspin, and Jezebel, advising that readers get in touch with the owners at private equity firm Great Hill Partners. 

The post has since been removed from all sites, though the union which supports and works with G/O Media staff has preserved it on Twitter:

Deadspin, in particular, took the protest a step further, after allegedly being told to ‘stick to sports’ coverage, they instead turned their front page into a protest in itself.

The result of this being that the editor for Deadspin, Barry Petchesky, was fired for, in his own words, ‘not sticking to sports’. This isn’t the first time Deadspin have clashed with their owners, with a post titled ‘This Is How Things Work Now At G/O Media’ being posted earlier in August casting a critical eye over their new owners.

We have yet to see how this will affect Kotaku, though staff such as celebrated journalist Jason Schreier expressed uncertainty about the future, along with his thanks for the readership over the years:

That said, Kotaku’s Editor-in-chief, Stephen Totilo, expressed his determination to continue the fight at Kotaku:

We’ll be keeping our eyes on this story as it develops, and as always you can get all your updates right here on the newsroom.