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Valleywag death signifies tough times online

Valleywag, which became the semi-official scandal sheet for techies and their hangers on, has been sucked back into the Gawker.com mother ship.  Managing editor Owen Thomas will contribute to the broader Gawker.com gossip site. The best commentary on the news was at Ted Dziuba’s Uncov which ran it under the headline: “Valley Wag dies; takes Internet celebrity with it.” Dziuba also ran a list of “Valleywag stars who never mattered and still don’t” including flashes-in-the-pan like Julia Allison, Pownce’s Leah Culver, and (oh yeah) Ted Dziuba.

The demise signifies bad news for e-commerce, indicating that even sites with great readership can’t sustain themselves. Last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers said that online ad revenue was up just 2%  sequentially for the third quarter to $5.9 billion. If that rate bears out for the rest of the year, online ad sales will rise just 10% over last year compared to 23% growth for the previous year. In another bad sign , researcher comScore said that online spending by consumers was down 4% for the first 23 days of November compared to the corresponding year-ago period. Based on those figures, comScore predicts that online retail spending will be flat overall this year.

Yikes.

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