Click to viewKnow that old saying "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? Former Engadget editor Ryan Block has put it into practice by tapping former Gizmodo editor Brian Lam — now the site's editorial director — to help advise them on their new gadget startup gdgt. In doing so, Block has ended — or at least set aside — a long-term gadget-blog rivalry which frothed with animosity. (Gizmodo, like Valleywag, is published by Gawker Media.) At times, the competition got dirty — like the time Block created an anonymous blog slamming Lam for a post about the iPhone.Block has since confessed to the stunt. In a post on Lam's hire, Block says "Brian Lam and I are actually pals outside of work — have been for years." But back in 2006, a tipster told Valleywag, Block created a blog called Boycott Gizmodo! and a Digg account with the same name that he used to promote blog's one and only post to Digg's front page. "The time has come to Boycott Gizmodo," reads the post. "Not only did Brian Lam and Gizmodo purposefully deceive long standing readers such as myself about the iPhone, they did a terrible job of covering their tracks." (Lam's post promised readers news about an "iPhone" device on a Friday, before the launch of the actual device — and then, on a Monday, revealed that Cisco owned a trademark on the term, long attached to speculation about an Apple cell phone, and had released an iPhone-branded product. The companies long since settled the matter, giving Apple rights to the iPhone name) We asked Block if he was the author of the blog. In response, Block told us, "Brian and I have always been friends who knew where to draw the line." Block also just published a confessional blog post titled "Bygones and rivalries," in which he confessed to authoring the "Boycott Gizmodo!" blog. He also offered another anecdote from a rivalry we're all going to miss.
After two years at the helm of the gadget blog, Gizmodo editor Brian Lam has gotten himself kicked upstairs. The former Wired staffer will now focus on live event coverage as an assistant managing editor for our mutual parent company, Gawker Media. Lam will also retain an "editorial director" title at Gizmodo — I'm not sure what that means except someone's been reading too many Condé Nast mastheads. Lam became a gadget-geek cult hero for his aggressive competition with former Engadget editor Ryan Block, who split last month to launch a startup called GDGT. (Lam's even helping Block out as an advisor.) Here's an excerpt of the announcement from Gawker's internal mailing list.
The April issue of Wired has a lengthy piece on gadget blogs. Most of the focus is on Gizmodo (disclosure: Valleywag is owned by Gawker Media, parent company to Gizmodo) and the rise of the gadget blogs in influence and reach. It's worth a read, but if you're too busy frantically reloading Engadget and Gizmodo to read the whole thing, we've tagged the high points below.
Blogging can be tiring, especially when you blog blog blog almost nonstop like Gizmodo's Brian Lam. When you're reporting from a show like CES where there is so much stuff to cover, you have to grab a few minutes to rest whenever you can. Don't worry, Brian. It'll all be over soon. Lam told us he used to tease Walt Mossberg about his age but stopped when he realized that the 60-year-old Wall Street Journal columnist has more energy than he does. (Photo by Curtis Walker)
What a Christmas present: Gizmodo editor Brian Lam has been fake-quoted by The Onion. Paul Boutin, our very special correspondent, still talks about the day — five years ago, people — that he got the Onion treatment. And yes, I'm jealous. (Disclosure: Gawker Media publishes both Valleywag and Gizmodo, which means I get to rag on Lam about this at staff meetings.)
"Quick, post the pictures before you sober up!" the ever-helpful Paul Boutin emails me. I'd love to, Paul, but it seems that Brian Lam, gadget expert, forgot to put charged-up batteries in this superhigh-tech, amazingly unusable Sony camera he lent me. Thanks, Brian. This is why he's running a gadget blog and I make fun of venture capitalists for a living, people.
Gizmodo editor Brian Lam and I had the following conversation on AIM this morning:
Chastened by the $4 billion loss it inflicted on Apple shares in May, Engadget has started more rigorous factchecking. Of other blogs. Our sister site Gizmodo was taken in by a fraudulent tipster — a 16-year-old Australian with the same name as a Google product manager, which lent his email just enough credibility for a Gizmodo writer to run it. Editor Brian Lam, embarrassed, issued a complete retraction. Boy, do I know how that feels. Of course, Gizmodo's item ran on a Sunday, when it couldn't affect the public markets — and the minor Apple hardware updates promised in the faux tip were unlikely to move the stock, in any event. Memo to my Gizmodo colleagues: Next time you screw up, try to make it matter a bit more, will you?
Fans of Time Inc. tech title Business 2.0 have taken the bold step of starting a Facebook group to show their support for the troubled publication. So far, the group has amassed over 50 members, including Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner, Quittner's wife, New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla, Gizmodo editor Brian Lam, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, and LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman. Oh, and former Business 2.0 editor and my new boss Owen Thomas. Let's hope this roster of Valley luminaries is more effective than other futile Facebook groups, such as the 29,359 people who believe strongly in removing the "is" from the Facebook status message.