The two top content generators—er, editors at AOL's massively popular tech blog Engadget, Josh Topolsky (pictured) and Nilay Patel, have quit, according to All Things Digital. We were hoping for a juicy tale of combat with AOL's new content manager, Arianna Huffington's Blackberry, but the departure has more to do with AOL's lame corporatism. It can't be a coincidence that this comes just a month after new AOL boss Tim Armstrong unveiled his insane scheme to squeeze way more content and pageviews from fewer bloggers (aka "The AOL Way"). Well, here's fewer bloggers.
The most telling photo from Gizmodo's live coverage at Apple's Cupertino product launch event today. I promise you this: If Apple PR ever goofs and lets Valleywag into a freaking Steve Jobs keynote, I'll keep my MacBook closed, turn off Twitter, and pay attention to The Man. Can you think of a better caption for this photo? Leave it in the comments. The best one will become the new headline. Yesterday's winner: WagCurious, for "You must be this tall to ride Alex Albrecht." (Photo by Gizmodo)
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.
New Facebook ads play video and allow user comments. Inside Facebook's Justin Smith gushes over the new format, saying it has the "potential to drive much more engagement than any ad product on the site ever before has." Though that's not saying much, considering Facebook ads' notoriously low click through rates, we're still skeptical. Except for Valleywag's, of course, Internet commenters are trolls who hate life. Exposing Madison Avenue's clients to them is not going to make brands more comfortable advertising on Facebook. There's also precedent. Gadget blog Engadget, which for its size, does much better than Facebook with advertising, tried allowing users to comment on ads back in 2005. Called "Focus Ads," the product no longer exists.
"I've decided to step down as editor of this publication in late August so as to start a new company," writes Engadget editor Ryan Block, confirming earlier rumors. In theory, his replacement is ready. In practice, having worked with the guy, I'm sure it's going to be tough to match his 24x7 obsession with winning at everything. Here's the newsy part of Block's goodbye post:
Ryan Block, the perpetually-in-hyperdrive head of consumer electronics superblog Engadget, is quitting the site after two years to launch a new site with his predecessor, blog millionaire and RCRD LBL founder Peter Rojas. A TechCrunch report stops short of further facts, but correctly dismisses the notion that Block's plans can be reverse-engineered by looking up the 39 domain names he owns — do you really believe Mr Always-On didn't think of that angle?
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.
An Apple ad bashing Microsoft's Vista OS, captured in the video above, became a viral sensation almost immediately after its launch, AdWeek reports. Running on CNET, Engadget and PCWorld, video of the the ad caught on with YouTube and blogs, including Valleywag. The only problem? While Vista may crash your PC, according to Apple, Apple's ad tended to crash users' browsers. Engadget editor Ryan Block went so far as to pull the ad temporarily and apologize to readers.
In an effort to fight off the rise of the machines, Valleywag editor Owen Thomas knocked over a monitor that cost more than his salary (that's just our little joke, Owen doesn't have a salary) at the NewTeeVee conference held by his former writer Om Malik. Former Valleywag target Ryan Block, editor of Valleywag owner Gawker Media's blog Gizmodo competitor Engadget, took this photo of the aftermath with all the love in his heart.
Engadget founder and newly married uberhipster Peter Rojas's Internet-only music label RCRD LBL will launch this November. Creative director Elliot Aronow parrots what little has been revealed of the venture: a network of ad-supported online music labels and blogs offering free, exclusive music from artist both famous and unknown. He should have thrown in "It's like a filtered YouTube" for good measure. [PSFK]