"On January 9th, when, at the annual MacWorld conference, Steve Jobs, the C.E.O. of Apple, offered the first glimpse of Apple's forthcoming iPhone, a combination cell phone and music player, the blog Engadget.com had more traffic than the Times' Web site."
"Bloggers have taken note of [Mossberg getting Apple products early]. A comment posted in April on Engadget, by Dermot81, read, 'Mossberg may be the biggest Apple fanboy on the face of the planet, so I'd take any review he does of an Apple product with a grain of salt.'"
"Of the blogs that review products, Engadget, now owned by AOL, has the biggest audience; it gets about eight million unique visitors per month. It also has its own office, six hundred square feet on the top floor of a five-story walkup on Allen Street, on the Lower East Side, which doubles as the apartment of Peter Rojas, its founder. Three P.C.s are on his desk, and one of his windows frames the Empire State Building, several miles uptown. Rojas, who just turned thirty-two, studied at Harvard and got a master's degree in English literature from the University of Sussex, in England; like Mossberg, he started as a print journalist, freelancing for various publications.
Also like Mossberg, Rojas accepts no gifts and no junkets, and returns the products that he tests. 'The only asset you have to differentiate yourself from competitors is your credibility,' he says. A corner of his apartment is piled with FedEx boxes. Rojas estimates that he has written more than six thousand posts for Engadget, and another four thousand for his previous blog, Gizmodo. A Mossberg column runs about nine hundred words; posts written by Rojas, three full-time employees, and paid freelancers average between fifty and a hundred and fifty words.
With the reviews he wrote for publications, Rojas says, 'you kind of had to water it down and assume the audience didn't really care about what you write about and you had to 'hook' them into the article. What I realized about blogging is you're not going to read a blog about gadgets unless you're really interested in gadgets. I assume that our readers know that Sprint and Verizon are CDMA networks, and that T-Mobile and A.T.&T./Cingular are GSM networks.' And by "writing up," he adds, 'the higher we aim the more it grows, because the audience responds to that.' Rojas says that what Mossberg does 'is great, because he is able to translate for an audience that may not care, whereas I write for an audience that already cares.' Mossberg says that he has respect for Engadget, but, "like so many of the tech or gadget Web sites, it is more of a product-alert system, mostly printing descriptions, albeit with attitude. It really doesn't do hands-on reviews."
This isn't the first time Monsieur Mossberg and Engadget have crossed paths, and we're hoping it won't be the last. Here's to you, Unkie Walt.