Thursday, April 10, 2008


Gridskipper bills itself as "The Urban Travel Guide." That's right folks, they up and whipped out that definite article. The. THERE IS ONLY ONE GUIDE!

Reading Gridskipper is like reading the quirky local newspaper's leisure section... of every city ever. It lets you know what's happening in Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York, and Paris, as well as a host of smaller cities. Founder Nick Denton explains that Gridskipper is "all about giving you the essentials, as opposed to other travel guides that are all inclusive and tough to filter through." (Wait a minute... there is more than one travel guide?!)

The site will tell you where to find Bookshop Caf├ęs in London, tango halls in Berlin, and custom-made perfume in Paris. If you're looking to tour New York's nerdiest hang-outs or ugliest buildings, Gridskipper has you covered. Wonder no more: "Donald Trump [the Building] is so ugly that if ugly was bricks she'd have projects."

Besides cities, Gridskipper also covers tangential travel-related things. Want to know why your travel blog has no traffic? Gridskipper will come right out and tell you 10 Reasons Why Your Travel Blog Sucks.* Likely you're a filthy backpacker, an aspiring elitist, not funny, or you swipe stories and don't link back ("dick move"). Take your pick.

Gridskipper is part of the Gawker Media Sites empire, the online media company founded and owned by Nick Denton. Like most Gawker sites, Gridskipper's content is stronger then the design. The goofy watercolor Gawker masthead and million little pictures constantly keep you guessing as to what is important and content-related and what is an advertisement (Hierarchy? What's a hierarchy?).

Gawker is currently the parent company for the following high-traffic blogs:

  1. The Consumerist
  2. Deadspin
  3. Defamer
  4. Fleshbot
  5. Gawker Blog

  1. Gizmodo
  2. Gridskipper
  3. Idolator
  4. io9
  5. Jalopnik

  1. Jezebel
  2. Kotaku
  3. Lifehacker
  4. Valleywag
  5. Wonkette
Resistance is futile. The spirit of the Gawker sites is perhaps best described by Slate's Jack Schafer: "They're so fixated on the hunting of the snark that they're prepared to flame everybody to a crisp." True. The worst part is, torching everyone works. Gawker delivers acidic bile by the gallon in order to hook readers with its strong voice. (Their high school English teacher would be proud.) The Maddox-like contempt and confusing web design keep you entranced in a guilty-pleasure marathon. Incidentally, it also keeps Nick Denton rich with ad revenue. Not to worry, no price is too large for entertainment!*Ironically, the graphic in that story was swiped from without a link back.

(From my friend JenK, Cool Hunting, Autumn Leaf, and Threadless.)