Torontoist is getting a new lease on life.
The popular urban Hogtown blog seemed destined for the dustbin of cyberspace earlier this month when the site announced it would shut down on Jan. 1, 2009, because of a lack of financial support.
But Torontoist editor David Topping posted a message yesterday saying that after receiving an outpouring of support from readers, the site would not be shutting down but instead would continue operating in 2009.
"It's been a pretty stressful few weeks, I think, for everyone," Mr. Topping said. "There's been a huge amount of interest in keeping us alive in a way that I didn't anticipate."
To keep Torontoist's stories flowing, the 21-year-old Mr. Topping has offered to give up his salary so that he can keep paying his staff what they were making before rumours of the site's closing began to circulate.
But he admits it's little more than a Band-Aid solution and that the site will need a lasting solution either in the form of increased financial support from parent site Gothamist or an increase in local advertising revenue.
"The existing circumstances haven't changed, in fact they may have gotten a little worse in terms of the money we've got to work with on a monthly basis," he said.
"What we're looking for is a long-term solution rather than a short-term one. Ultimately Torontoist is going to survive not because someone else says how great we are but because we can continue to prove it."
Gothamist had directed a series of changes, suggesting that Torontoist become more news focused with a smaller staff of writers, however Mr. Topping rejected those changes.
For now, the site will retain the Torontoist name and its connection to the Gothamist chain of sites - which includes online outlets in 13 different cities. Still, Mr. Topping hasn't ruled out taking the site out from under the Gothamist umbrella, either under the wing of another company or as a standalone entity.
Torontoist is the only one of Gothamist's many sites that is losing money.
Since its launch in 2004, the popular blog has played an increasingly important role in the Toronto media and has been visited by more than 5.6 million readers.