Didit Founder Kevin Lee Bids For Gawker, Securing Additional Backing

Kevin Lee, who founded Didit as a search company in 1996 and transformed it into a content agency, now seems determined to buy the publishing assets of Gawker.com -- so determined that he plans to secure additional financial backing to seal the deal.

The self-proclaimed “marketing mad scientist” -- who spent the first 15 years deeply embedded in search engine marketing and advertising -- moved into content marketing by making about 10 acquisitions and then recently invented a Cause Marketing Powered Publishing (CMPP) platform. Now he wants to test it with Gawker.

“When I realized the Gawker Kickstarter campaign wasn’t going to reach its goal, I reached out to Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor of Gawker, and said I have this crazy idea,” Lee told Search Marketing Daily.

That "crazy idea" includes securing financial backing from an unnamed philanthropist “with deep pockets who likes the idea” that would enable Lee to bid above the $1.13 million-dollar price tag -- the starting stalking horse bid -- if needed.  

The CMPP platform has been under development at another one of Lee’s companies -- Briefme.com. The new venture will donate 50% of net advertising revenue to a list of nonprofit organizations selected by content creators and readers.

Lee told Search Marketing Daily that while he respects Gawker’s original content and plans to preserve the archives, he views the purchase as a way to test the CMPP platform.

Once the sale vets additional live bidders the live auction begins, where people gather and raise their hand as the numbers rise. Lee said the final auction will take place in the middle of July.

Didit has looked at other publishers. Lee said Didit considered purchasing the local news sites “DNAinfo and Gothamist, but the Gawker story is more fun to have it rise from the ashes as something completely new.” He has considered launching CMPP on Briefme.com, which he already owns, and bootstrapping it. Lee is just looking for the best avenue to pursue.

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