Here's what they do. When they don't have an ad to fill a space, they fill it with artwork instead. The artwork in the ad block links to a profile about the artist and a link to the artist's web site and contact info.
According to Christopher Batty, VP of Sales at Gawker.com , "for a variety of reasons too boring to explain its a virtual impossibility to sell all our ad space at any given time. Most publishers sell off the "remnant" cheaply to ad networks that run direct marketing (that doesn't matter when or where even it goes). We thought that was kind of ghetto and not so cool to our brand sponsors that generously support us so this idea of giving it away to artists..."
I've visited Gawker countless times in the past few days, mostly to catch up on all my celebrity friends (who regularly complain that I don't stay in touch with them enough), and I feel like there's more artwork than ads. So I can testify that Gawker is running a lot of these "art blocks."
I have to hand it to Christopher Batty and Liz Dimmitt (of Gumshoe LLC ), the curator of Gawker Artists. It's an amazing concept. WAY more of this should exist.
You can signup to have your artwork featured here . You have to make 3 different specifically sized images of your artwork to fill the various standard ad block sizes. You can all add your Dripbook URL as a web site.
Have fun. Good to see that now and again the right thing happens.