AOL promised to be a source of endless drama in 2011 (or amusement, depending on your point of view), and so far it has not disappointed.
It seems the company was furiously working on an ego-compression algorithm that would allow both Michael Arrington and Arianna Huffington to be in the same building at the same time when an explosion occurred and eight Engadget staffers were blown clear. Hey, I read it on the InterWebs, so it must be true.
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An alternate theory is that the folks at Engadget, some of whom had been working under the AOL yoke since the site was acquired in 2005, just couldn't stomach the trifecta of Arrington's TechCrunch, Arianna's HuffPo, and Tim Armstrong's "The AOL Way," a 58-page internal memo that detailed CEO's plans to heap sewage onto the Internet and make blogging for AOL -- already far from the most dignified or lucrative of professions -- akin to scrubbing toilets without a brush. So they bailed.
Now it turns out the ex-Engadgeteers will be launching a new gadget blog under the wing of sports megasite SB Nation, which is run by former AOLer Jim Bankoff.
After New York Times reporter David Carr spilled the beans about the new site, ex-Engadget editor in chief Joshua Topolsky confirmed the move in a blog post where he couldn't resist taking several large swipes at AOL and HuffPo:
But… there's another factor here that's driving my decision. It's that SB Nation believes in real, independent journalism and the potential for new media to serve as an answer and antidote to big publishing houses and SEO spam — a point we couldn't be more aligned on. ….This isn't tabloid page grabbing or content farming — it's news and insight by and for a passionate and informed group of people.
First thought: Good onya, mate. Tell Arianna and Armstrong exactly what they can do with "The AOL Way." They can split it in half and take 29 pages apiece. Make it a race, see who finishes first. (My money's on Arianna.)