A.J. Daulerio to start up ‘Ratter’

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A.J. Daulerio (Screenshot via Youtube)
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A.J. Daulerio, a former editor of Gawker and Defamer, plans to launch a network of sites under the brand name Ratter, with city-specific sites for Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

Daulerio, who was editorial director of entertainment and music at Spin Media until October, said the sites will train a local tabloid sensibility on stories with national and global viral potential.

“I'm convinced there's a Rob Ford-type story in every city around the world,” Daulerio said. “My hope is that the editors in Ratter cities will be tenacious distractions to their respective power-elites and consistently entertaining to everyone else.”

Daulerio said the sites will get off the ground with funding from angel investors. He's still cobbling together the round but it so far includes Gawker Media, which is contributing $500,000, and media investor Mark Cuban, who has contributed an amount Daulerio would not specify, as well as other investors. Daulerio said the valuation of the company is set at $2.5 million.

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The sites will be built on the Kinja platform developed by Gawker media, "because I know it, I've worked in it, and see its potential as an open-source network, especially on a more local level," Daulerio told Capital.

Launch is planned for mid to late summer.

Though Daulerio is a veteran of Gawker sites, it was actually another media network that sparked his initial inspiration for Ratter.

“I've kicked around the concept for a couple years, which usually started with 'wouldn't it be kind of awesome if Patch.com was more provocative and fucked with people more?'" he said. "It's been altered. Slightly. But the site's main purpose is built around attitude and aggressive reporting. All the editors of the sites need to be terrifying in their approach. Charming, truth-seeking and terrifying.”

But Denton has been closely involved in the conceptualization of the sites, from the Kinja platform to the name.

“Crawler was the name I originally wanted because of its creepy-crawling/Manson family vibe,” he wrote to Capital in a follow-up email. “But the owner of that particular domain wanted millions for it so I started rethinking it. Then Nick Denton, his fiance Derence, and I came up with Ratter. I don't know whose mouth it came out of first but we were all in the same room trying to come up with one, but I'll give them most of the credit for it.”