Engadget editor Paul Miller bids farewell, takes parting shot at AOL

Tech blog Engadget seems to be spending more time in the news than publishing it of late, with editor Paul Miller taking a parting swipe at AOL as he announced his departure from the site today.

In a post on his personal blog, Mr Miller pulled no punches when it came to his reasons for leaving.

''I’d love to be able to keep doing this forever, but unfortunately Engadget is owned by AOL, and AOL has proved an unwilling partner in this site’s evolution,'' he said.

AOL picked up Engadget's parent company Weblogs Inc. in 2005, a move that at the time, was met with mixed reactions. In what were perhaps prescient comments given Mr Miller's sentiments today, some felt blogs had no place being run under the banner of ''big business'' such as AOL.

Mr Miller made clear that in his eyes, AOL was placing its bottom line over the quality of content and he could no longer work under such conditions.

''It doesn’t take a veteran of the publishing world to realize that AOL has its heart in the wrong place with content. As detailed in the “AOL Way,” and borne out in personal experience, AOL sees content as a commodity it can sell ads against.
That might make good business sense (though I doubt it), but it doesn’t promote good journalism or even good entertainment, and it doesn’t allow an ambitious team like the one I know and love at Engadget to thrive,'' he said.

The ''AOL Way'' refers to a business plan, leaked earlier this month and published by Business Insider and put together by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. The 57-page document, which was apparently being put into action at the time of the leak, made clear that profitability was the key consideration when producing content.

According to the plan, AOL directs editors to decide what topics to cover based on four considerations: traffic potential, revenue potential, edit quality and turn-around time.

Clearly, the ''AOL Way'' was a tipping point for Mr Miller and after five years at Engadget, he felt it was time to go.

''I want to continue to be a part of this industry: I love technology, I love exploring what the future holds, and I love high pixel density displays. I’m not exactly sure what these next months and years are going to look like for me, and I’m truly sad that they can’t look like Engadget, but I’m excited to find out what’s next,'' he said.

While Engadget's site makes no mention of Mr Miller's departure, users have taken to his final story to pay tribute.

''Mark it down in the history books folks. Paul Miller's last post. Major AOL fail,'' wrote Dan Gribbin.

''How's that "AOL Way" working out for you losers at AOL management? I'd say not so well, but what do I know,'' wrote MRCUR.

Mr Miller's departure comes little more than two months after the latest bout in a very public spat between Engadget's Joshua Topolsky and TechCrunch's Michael Arrington. TechCrunch was also acquired by AOL in 2010, an acquisition Mr Arrington has accused Mr Topolsky of trying to ''kill''.

Image Credit: Engadget

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37 Comments

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Love how the in-text ads on Neowin are there in the quote about how monetizing makes for bad journalism. Irony... not that it's a bad thing. Just ironic.

thnok said,
Maybe he can join neowin???

Why? Neowin already uses this "AOL way" model for the articles that are put on the front page. He quit Engadget to get away from that.

RichardK said,

Why? Neowin already uses this "AOL way" model for the articles that are put on the front page. He quit Engadget to get away from that.

especially because they always feature stuff engadget posts first?

Sheesh, first Gwaker and their blatant favoritism, followed by a horrible "redesign", and now Engadget, who was already dropping in quality is loosing people, Miller won't be the only one watch, leaving just Neowin as a reliable source for Tech news

z0phi3l said,
Sheesh, first Gwaker and their blatant favoritism, followed by a horrible "redesign", and now Engadget, who was already dropping in quality is loosing people, Miller won't be the only one watch, leaving just Neowin as a reliable source for Tech news

Neowin isn't now nor has it ever been a "reliable" source for Tech news. Most of the stuff posted here is just reposted from somewhere else to try and steal some ad impressions from the other sites.

RichardK said,

Neowin isn't now nor has it ever been a "reliable" source for Tech news. Most of the stuff posted here is just reposted from somewhere else to try and steal some ad impressions from the other sites.

Why the hell you here then if you have such a crappy impression of Neowin? While Neowin might repost some stuff doesn't mean I don't read it here first because I didn't read it any where else first...

z0phi3l said,
leaving just Neowin as a reliable source for Tech news

You obviously have never heard of Ars Technica. As much as I like Neowin, Ars Technica >all.

Roxkis said,

You obviously have never heard of Ars Technica. As much as I like Neowin, Ars Technica >all.

Too bad they're complete and total piracy advocates. They report on piracy with a pro- attitude more than any other tech site I know, almost TorrentFreak status, and that ****es me off.

LiquidSolstice said,

Too bad they're complete and total piracy advocates. They report on piracy with a pro- attitude more than any other tech site I know, almost TorrentFreak status, and that ****es me off.


That I can not deny, but they're articles are so much more in-depth then your average tech blog and the comments much more intelligent. The draw back tho is that you'll likely find about things on neowin first and some people may feel to intimidated to comment (well maybe just me) because of the level of discussion.

Lewism said,
What about the Stardock way?

You mean like the once in a blue moon posts that Stardock makes here which aren't actually intrusive? Yeah, the Stardock way doesn't seem to be hurting Neowin.

Yep and I'm still not sure what the big deal is. Engadget is just a big ad and it's silly to think that the point of the site isn't to drive revenue. What editorial considerations are threatened on a site that just regurgitates press releases?

What happened is Engadget got turned into clicks that support one product and it reflects from editor to community. Highly doubt all that was aol bias. Be a tech site, not a fanboy site and don't blame AOL for that.

blahism said,
What happened is Engadget got turned into clicks that support one product and it reflects from editor to community. Highly doubt all that was aol bias. Be a tech site, not a fanboy site and don't blame AOL for that.

Cliques, darn autocorrect on phone

OceanMotion said,
From reading Engadget over the years they seem just like the AOL way.

Exactly, this just seems like posturing on his part, Engadget has been guilty of this kind of stuff for a long time and blaming AOL for Engadget's writing quality is like blaming Ronald McDonald for a bad hamburger.

Maybe Engadget will be decent now. In the last couple of years, their articles read like they are written by butt-hurt fanboys.

ahhell said,
Maybe Engadget will be decent now. In the last couple of years, their articles read like they are written by butt-hurt fanboys.
Ummm....? I think that's the point Paul Miller is trying to make about his recent frustration with AOL as a parent company and the reason why he's leaving. So how is his leaving going to make Engadget "decent now"?

Tim Dawg said,
Ummm....? I think that's the point Paul Miller is trying to make about his recent frustration with AOL as a parent company and the reason why he's leaving. So how is his leaving going to make Engadget "decent now"?

I think you are missing the point that Engadget was guilty of this kind of writing long before AOL took a direct interest in their content. Paul is just pretending he is leaving while still in control of the moral high ground. At least Gawker admits they cate to hit count and advertisers, Paul is pretending Engadget didn't do that until this new policy from AOL, which is blatantly untrue.

Jenson said,
What a shame, hopefully he will show up on the Engadget Show podcast now and again, i hate Topolski shame its not him thats going.

Disagree completely, Topolsky is an awesome guy and does a great job. Nilay or what ever you call him on the other hand is a bit of a penis

Dane Tweedale said,

Disagree completely, Topolsky is an awesome guy and does a great job. Nilay or what ever you call him on the other hand is a bit of a penis

Have you ever watched the Engadget Show, they get really awesome guests on and he wont let them talk he constantly tries to talk over them while they are saying something awesome, he is the most irritating hipster wannabe tosser at engadget.

Dane Tweedale said,

Disagree completely, Topolsky is an awesome guy and does a great job. Nilay or what ever you call him on the other hand is a bit of a penis

Topolsky is an @$$ to people on the Engadget show. Nilay is the only one who seems to have the voice of reason.

Jenson said,

Have you ever watched the Engadget Show, they get really awesome guests on and he wont let them talk he constantly tries to talk over them while they are saying something awesome, he is the most irritating hipster wannabe tosser at engadget.

+11111

Dane Tweedale said,

Disagree completely, Topolsky is an awesome guy and does a great job. Nilay or what ever you call him on the other hand is a bit of a penis

Nilay is awesum man.. he ads a bit of humor those shows as well.. Topolsky is a prick