A large group of Engadget’s prominent editorial and technology staff members—led by the site’s former editor Joshua Topolsky—are leaving AOL to start a new gadget Web venue with sports site conglomerate SB Nation, according to The New York Times.
Topolsky, who left last month, felt that the Engadget team was being held back by AOL’s less-than-ideal management. “I thought we could be more successful elsewhere,” he said. The blog will likely continue to exist in some form at AOL, but for now, its most vital talent has sided with Topolsky.
The relationship between Engadget and AOL was “always tense,” according to the Times’ David Carr. Engadget didn’t fit in with AOL’s other sites—it has a bigger name and more reporting—than others that are often largely about just getting niche traffic. (There was also a feud recently with TechCrunch, another technology site owned by AOL.)
The sports-oriented SB Nation doesn’t exactly appear to be a clear fit for a site like Engadget at first glance either, but it’s run by Jim Bankoff, who facilitated AOL’s purchase of Engadget back in 2005, when he was the executive in charge of products and programming at AOL. At the time, it was a move intended to help AOL make more aggressive headway into the digital news business, something that Bankoff felt was a key factor in the Web giant’s growth.