Engadget vs TIMN (or how AOL wrecked a good blog)
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 10:00PM
Matthew Kopelke in Gadgets

Since around 2006 I’ve been a huge fan and reader of tech blog site Engadget. Their coverage of all things tech has easily been best in class for as long as I have been reading it, and certainly they have had their fair share of exclusives over the years that have put every other tech blog into a much lower class. And while I’ve had issues with them over the years for being a bit of an Apple apologist, as well as anti-Microsoft, that is kinda true for virtually all of the tech blogosphere, so I cannot really dislike Engadget for that reason alone.

However, just recently something’s happened that has caused me to really lose faith in Engadget, and sadly it’s not really their fault - it’s their parent company AOL that is doing the damage. Seems a high level decision has been made to introduce a strategy known as “The AOL Way”, which you can read more about here. The short of which is the goal seems to be more work, higher page counts, with the latter being what determines a writer’s future at the company. Whether this means a sacrifice in quality because of quantity I suspect we won’t know for at least a few months.

What we do know right now is that the introduction of this has seen several high-profile and excellent Engadget staffers depart very quickly. This includes Editor In Chief Josh Topolsky, Nilay Patel, Paul Miller, Joanna Stern, Chris Ziegler, and Ross Miller. They’ve all moved on to join SB Nation to start work on a brand new tech news web site - you can read more about the plans by clicking here. This actually quite excites me, simply because these people represent the core group of people I always made a conscious effort to read whenever they posted a story on Engadget. In fact, Josh, Paul, and Nilay are easily the three best tech bloggers out there, and their weekly chats on The Engadget Podcast and the monthly The Engadget Show have always been a highlight of my podcast schedule. So to have them break away and form their own new site is something I very excited about tracking the progress on over at This is my next… as the ideas slowly come to fruition.

But what this all means for Engadget is unclear. It does mean that with the loss of these very unique voices, that site now feels quite hollow and uninviting. It’s just a tech news site, without the spark that Josh and his team brought to it. In fact, it’s hard to see something like The Engadget Show or The Engadget Podcast lasting long without someone as charismatic as Josh driving things. No disrespect to new Editor In Chief Tim Stevens, but he isn’t Josh Topolsky.

So as I delete my various Engadget bookmarks and podcast subscriptions, and start subscribing to the new web site, I am pleased that my favourite tech bloggers are still out there, doing what they do best. It’s just a shame that a quality site like Engadget had to take a massive hit because some moron within AOL decided to make a really crappy business decision. It might take 12 - 18 months for them to realise this, but I honestly believe that “The AOL Way” is the wrong way.

Article originally appeared on The Sunday Talk (http://thesundaytalk.squarespace.com/).
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