Vegas Chatter Goes Silent and Vegas Seems a Lot Less Vegas

Popular Las Vegas Web site Vegas Chatter has gone silent, leaving a void where once was news, insight and a vibrant online community.

The last day of operation for Vegas Chatter was July 31, 2015. The site, which operated under the umbrella of Conde Nast, was shut down after a shake-up within the massive media company that includes brands like The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Vogue.

The internal struggles at Conde Nast have had far-reaching effects, but the closure of Vegas Chatter is the only one we care about because, well, Las Vegas.

Vegas Chatter

Vegas Chatter chronicled Las Vegas, from the monumental to the mundane, morning to night. It was, in our opinion, the second best Las Vegas Web site, ever, mainly because we have an inflated view of ourselves. You didn’t already get that from the first person plural thing?

Vegas Chatter was the most popular Las Vegas Web site of its kind, with the most traffic, several times over. Yes, even more than we get, and we get a metric ass-ton.

It was more than a site, however. It was a communityvast, passionate and, you know, vital.

“Vital” isn’t a word we use lightly, either. The news on Vegas Chatter was essential reading for Las Vegas travelers. We also use the word because we’ve heard on many occasions readers considered Vegas Chatter and Vital Vegas complementary to each other, “sister sites” if you will. We’ve always taken that feedback as the highest of compliments.

The Vegas Chatter community existed not only on a Web site, but in other forums as well. Vegas Chatter has nearly 46,000 fans on Facebook, more than 20,000 followers on Twitter and more than 2,000 followers on Instagram.

Vegas Chatter

Vegas Chatter was like an IV drip of Vegas goodness.

That community was essential to Vegas Chatter’s success. Tipsters delivered gold each day, and the site’s contributing writers were often plucked from the community’s ranks.

The writers for the site were, for the most part, volunteers. They were given a small stipend of $15-20 for each published article, but it was clear the writers built Vegas Chatter into a powerhouse site because they were, and are, passionate about Las Vegas.

Vegas Chatter truly shined under the guiding hand of former editor Rebecca Frisch (pictured below). Frisch has since moved on to a new life in Snoqualmie, Washington, wherever the hell that might actually be.

Frisch turned the challenge of covering a travel destination into a game which she dominated, despite our best efforts.

Ours was a relationship of friendship as well as friendly competition. Being the first to share a story, or getting an exclusive, was a source of pride for each of us. It’s like that mountain man said in “Jeremiah Johnson.” He said, “a tribe’s greatness is figured on how mighty its enemies be.” Which doesn’t really apply since there were no enemies involved, but we loved that movie, and you get the point.

Vegas Chatter

Thanks to you both, for everything. More from Juliana Shallcross in a minute.

Vegas Chatter did have its detractors, though. If you do anything on the Internet, you have to attract haters. It’s the law. Frisch and her team always handled trolls with grace. You get to have an opinion about a thing when you can do it better, and few have or will.

We’ll always be in the debt of Rebecca Frisch and Vegas Chatter, for several reasons, but especially because the site showed frequent generosity by linking to our site, and others, to give credit where it was due. Less enlightened sites often don’t link out to other sites, under the false impression such outgoing links send visitors away. Frisch understood the importance of linking to sources and sent untold traffic our way. We tried to do the same in return, but it was always a lopsided relationship.

Specifically, since we launched our site in July of 2013, more than 29,000 visits to Vital Vegas have come through links on Vegas Chatter.

The shock of Frisch’s departure barely had time to sink in and now Vegas Chatter fans are dealing with another blow. Our daily ritual of checking the non-stop flow of news has suddenly turned into the sound of crickets. Crickets don’t know a damned thing about Las Vegas shows, hotels, restaurants and construction walls.

The one truth about Las Vegas, of course, is the only constant is change. We honestly never thought we’d be saying that about Vegas Chatter, but we are.

Vegas Chatter is being absorbed into another Web site, CNTraveler.com. The good folks at Conde Nast would like that to provide consolation, but it doesn’t, of course.

Brad Rickman, Digital Director at Conde Nast Traveler (CNT), said, “As CNT’s identity has evolved and our digital presence has grown and matured, it seems wisest to consolidate efforts and resources toward growing one travel business rather than four. We’ve expanded our digital editorial team and extended the network of contributors with whom we work.” In other words, the decision to shutter Vegas Chatter might be good business, but that doesn’t make it sting any less.

Rickman says that while no new content will be produced for Vegas Chatter, the site’s existing articles will continue to be accessible “in an archival state.” At the moment, the site is still live, with a notation across the top: “Archive only, fresh content at CNTraveler.com.”

Update (10/5/15): Vegas Chatter has been taken offline completely.

It’s worth noting this blog is definitely not going to be the one to point out how awkward the initialism “CNT” is.

Vegas Chatter

Even these cupcakes are sad about Vegas Chatter closing up shop and cupcakes are the most emotionally resilient of all baked goods.

Another friend of ours, Juliana Shallcross, was the Managing Editor of Vegas Chatter (and Hotel Chatter), and she commented, “We’ve had an amazing run and the good far outweighs the bad. We created a thriving community of Vegas visitors and Vegas locals that was unlike any other. I was lucky enough to work with some of the best people, both in and out of Vegas, who love this city with all their heart.”

So, now what? For those of us who have followed Vegas Chatter religiously for years, it’s time to seek out new Las Vegas resources. New sites and podcasts and Twitter feeds crop up all the time. They aren’t Vegas Chatter, but we’ll figure something out.

Of late, we’ve been flattered by an influx of readers asking if we’ll be taking up the mantle of Vegas Chatter, our “sister site.” Oh, hell, no, we reply. Just in terms of the sheer quantity of content, Vegas Chatter was in a class all by itself.

We love being a part of the Las Vegas conversation, of course, but our site is a hobby (we have a day job), a place to show off some photography and write some dopey jokes. Generating five or more stories a day, as Vegas Chatter did, is a lot of work. We prefer drinking and frequent naps.

Don't cry

Learn to live with disappointment.

We’d love to snatch up some of the Vegas Chatter writers to contribute to our site, but then it would have less us, and what’s the fun in that? We trust Vegas Chatter’s contributors will find an outlet for their passion. In fact, our friend Marc Meltzer already has with EdgeVegas.com.

Update: Another Las Vegas Web site has, in fact, snapped up several Vegas Chatter writers, and has taken its rightful place as a great source for Las Vegas news, VegasBright.com.

For now, we’re going to kick back and lift a glass of Captain and diet to Vegas Chatter.

Vegas Chatter’s motto was, “So bright you can see it from space.” The good news is that light can’t really be extinguished. Why? Because Vegas Chatter is us, the community of people obsessed with Las Vegas.

You might say Vegas Chatter was like a neon tube. News and opinions were the argon and xenon gas inside. We, all of us, are the electrical current that makes the neon glow. The more we share, the more useful information we impart to others, the more we contribute to the collective magic of Las Vegas, the brighter the light shines!

Which, we realize, is a horrible, horrible metaphor. What, you thought we were going to write an homage to Vegas Chatter sober?

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35 thoughts on “Vegas Chatter Goes Silent and Vegas Seems a Lot Less Vegas

  1. Kevin McShane

    Really cool of you to say those things. Will check your site frequently and if there is anything the fans of this site can do to help contribute to the content let me and us know.

    Reply
  2. Deena Ann

    That was a good and well written read. I enjoyed that. Just so sad VC is gone. I will try to have my morning coffee on VV now. Thanks for welcome the VC reads here.

    Reply
  3. boulder steve

    Thanks for the well written tribute and funny..after all this is Vital Vegas..tribute to our departed friend Vegas Chatter..R.I.P.

    Reply
  4. Funkhouser

    Very classy article Scott. I am going to sorely miss VC and to the VC haters, F’em! It’s greatness was almost eclipsed by Pulse of Vegas, which is now a soulless echo.

    Reply
  5. SpR

    Vitalvegas, trip advisor forums and Vegaschatter are essential daily reads for me, any recommendations for sites that can replace Vegaschatter? I need my fix!

    Reply
  6. AccessVegas

    Interesting that a “Monster” killed a very fair (non-judgemental but informative) post I made over at another site. VegasChatter was always more than fair.

    BTW… who goes by the name of Monster? The rest of us seem to like people knowing who the hell we are.

    But I digress…

    Unfortunate that the handful of haters they had will see VC as a failure. Fortunate that the rest of us know that it was a combination of our beloved 702Becca leaving town, and Conde Naste removing a few outlets that were unfortunately — in the broad scope of their huge empire — a “rounding error” in what they made or lost. And, what they had to keep an eye on.

    There was no Rebecca II out there. Nor will there ever be as far as Las Vegas is concerned.

    The void will probably go empty. The Greenspuns are too stupid to fill it, and the R-J parent company is still trying to find the footing they lost when they let go of LasVegas.com.

    The LVCVA? They are still cashing the bonus money from “What Happens Here Stays Here” 10 years ago. (Granted, we’d all like to work for that gravy train).

    So… life goes on.

    But just like life after the implosion of The Sands (I was the last non-employee to ever set foot in the Copa Room)… it won’t quite be the same.

    Reply
  7. franko

    great article, however now knowing that the staff was basically volunteer, I’m even more pissed off that the plug was pulled.

    Reply
  8. FYMYAWF

    You said what we were all thinking, Scott. Agree with AccessVegas that the quality went down after 702Becca left the site, but it was still the primary spot I hit daily to keep up with Vegas news.

    Agree that VC was unparalleled at the sheer quantity of posts, understand that only a sizable staff of writers can keep up with that pace, but it’s nice knowing that VV will be around to break news and supply a chuckle a few times a week.

    Reply
  9. Rooster

    Very eloquent article about a site that meant a lot to all of us, unlike the other site where monster dude used VC’s shutting down to cry about how they kicked his butt and stole his lunch money.

    I found your site about the same time I found them, and I’ve enjoyed both for a couple years now. At least now I still have one place to go for my Vegas fix. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  10. Jim Lee

    I laughed out loud at the initialism comment about “CNT”. I read about the VC going away and immediately thought of your site to give me my Vegas fix. You are now my new homepage.

    Reply
  11. danielwellwood

    Hello,
    I visited VC everyday (sometimes 2 or 3 times a day). I loved that site and found this to be a very sweet article. I’ve been looking to fill the VC void and tried another site with nothing but horrible things to say about VC which was an absolute turn off and on top of that the layout of the site was terrible. I’m glad I found this site. well written articles, great layout, and a sense of caring about fellow Vegas lovers. will definitely be back.

    Reply
    1. Scott Roeben

      Thanks for the kind words. There’s something for everyone online, of course. We enjoy everyone who’s contributing in a constructive way to the Vegas conversation. Appreciate your taking the time to comment!

      Reply
  12. Misslaydj

    Still bummed. I get you want to make sure you keep the site yours but maybe a post here an there from the old VC writers might be a good idea. I mean so sad. I’ve used this site and VC for years.

    Reply
  13. Donna McNamara

    I miss Vegas Chatter. I read it 2 or 3 times a day. I loved looking at the pictures. This was a beautiful article about it. I will be checking you out from now on. I’m glad to have another nice site to read.

    Reply

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