The holidays usually mean that December is a slow traffic month around here. But after this month's series of big exclusives, we're ending 2009 with a new monthly traffic record of more than 33 million pageviews which tops McSteamy-driven August.

The secret to beating a month with a 3+ million-hit sex tape turned out to be latching onto a major story and not letting go. Ryan Tate's coverage of Facebook's privacy changes was certainly Gawker's biggest story of the month, from his warning that the social network's new "privacy controls" were really a ploy to get you to overshare to assembling a gallery of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's previously private photos. The Facebook fiasco also gave us another scoop: the first pictures of Yale secret society Skull & Bones at play at their private island (they were really boring!) courtesy Hunter Walker. Other big original pieces helping bring in new readers were: John Cook's scoop about NBC's deal with the White House partycrashers and, of course, Brian Moylan's analysis of Jersey Shore. Oh, and the addition of Richard Blakeley's Gawker.TV has helped, too.

It's a good way to end the year, especially since Gawker's big challenge for 2010 is going to be to take on the multiplying content machines. Where we can't match them in spammy SEO-driven quantity, we can beat them with exclusive reporting and compelling arguments. The last year has shown that works for us. December 2009 traffic is almost 75% higher than our numbers in December 2008. And with 3.3 million uniques over the last month — the number that's going to be the focus starting tomorrow, per Nick Denton — Gawker's nearly doubled its audience in the past year. In all, 2009 was a pretty good year around here.