On Monday, I was laid off from The Consumerist, the blog Gawker hired me to take over 3 months after they started it in November ‘05. For the next year, it was me as the site lead writing alongside with John Brownlee. John left, and I hired Meghann Marco. The site grew over the next few years and I hired several freelancers, notably Carey Greenberg-Berger, Chris Walters, Laura Northrup, and Alex Chasick, and our comments moderator, Roz. In late ‘08, Gawker put us on the auction block and I had to lay off all the freelancers. Gawker sold the site to Consumer Reports on Jan 1, ‘09. As part of the sale, we got all the writers back and we arose into the Consumer Reports mothership, where our adventures continued. There’s been some churn since then, and now I find myself leaving. Here’s the farewell note I posted on Consumerist this morning:
Dear Consumerist.com readers,
This was my last week writing for you. Keeping up with the word on Main Street has been incredibly rewarding and kept me in touch with the rest of America while perched inside my Brooklyn blog castle. Because even though it’s my byline on my posts, it’s you, the readers, who drive what I write. It’s your stories and comments that make Consumerist great. Thank you for letting me spend 6 years with you. I just hope these monitor-induced double-bags and dark circles under my eyes aren’t permanent.
It’s been my honor to lift up the tales of the little guy and to tilt at the titans by your side. The Goliaths still don’t get how much power you have now that anyone can become a publisher in the time it takes to sign up for a Tumblr account. I hope you’ll keep reminding them. All you need is a good story, perseverance, and cat pictures!
Thanks to everyone at Consumer Reports, especially those involved with buying this site from Gawker and shepherding it into CR’s warm and wooly bosom. Just thought I’d give you a fair warning: you’ll be hearing from my lawye, because I still want a labcoat with my name stitched on it.
Here’s the part in these things where I’m supposed to tell you about the ground-exploding Web5.0 transdimensional hyperrealistic consumer empowerment matrix I’m starting. Except there isn’t one. I’m working on a few different ways to exploit my brain for profit. In the meantime, please stay in touch. I’m writing at benpopkenwrites.com, making funny stuff at benpopkenisjustkidding.com, and my personal landing page and catchall for my endeavors and adventures is iambenpopken.com.
So what’s your favorite whitening and brightening cream? Sound off in the comments.