Engadget will be saying farewell to its second editor in the space of a week after its Associate Editor Ross Miller announced he was to leave the popular technology website after five years of service with Weblogs, Inc.
Detailing his reasons in a Tumblr blog post, Miller stated that “the AOL way” wasn’t the only reason behind his departure but mentions it certainly added to the list of concerns he had about Engadget’s future direction. Miller seems to worry about how Engadget’s brand is affected by AOL’s new content strategy and how much control its staff will have over the site if it does indeed go down the “content farm” route.
As for the reasons why, I won’t get too far into it. The AOL Way isn’t the sole reason, but it’s certainly a catalyst, a symptom of concerns I’ve had for a while. I worry about the long-term viability of what I foresee is the future business model. How our brand will be affected and how much control we’ll maintain over it. If we can continue to nurture the talent without burning them out. If we can get the needed resources to expand on our ideas. (Update: just to be clear, Engadget is not currently subject to the AOL Way, and I don’t know if it ever will fall under the jurisdiction, so to speak. It’s not the driving reason I left.)
An interesting part to note is that Miller states Engadget is not currently part of the AOL way. Engadget’s editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky also makes the distinction in a tweet, stating “I can’t be any more direct — it’s not happening here”:
Voicing his displeasure at AOL’s reluctance to assist Engadget’s evolution, Ross Miller believes that AOL has “its heart in the wrong place with content” and that it sees “content as a commodity it can sell ads against” which “doesn’t promote good journalism”.
At the moment, it looks like “AOL’s way” is proving to be the “highway” as some of the most important individuals behind one of the world’s hardest working and most authoritative technology websites are leaving the company, questioning AOL’s ethics and long term vision.
Ross Miller says “Hey, I’m not leaving the industry. We’ll be in touch.” – we wish him the best of luck in whatever he does in the future.