Vale Valleywag

by Charles Miller on November 14, 2006

So Valleywag, Silicon Valley's best (only?) gossip blog has lost Nick Douglas, its editor and only writer, changed its editorial policy and redesigned its layout all in one fell swoop.

In tech terms, that's the equivalent of firing1 the entire development team, end-of-lifing the product, and announcing the next version will be rewritten from scratch (in VB.NET).

Some people think this is a good move:

The editor was some pimply-faced teenager from Pennsylvania who had no clue about Silicon Valley life (and still doesn’t), the mix of stories is too sophomoric and Google-centric, the comment policy is bizarre, and the design was too hard to read.

I, however, agree more with Jeremy Botter:

We didn’t read Valleywag because we wanted to see Yahoo financial reports or definitions of strange new words you’re making up. We read Valleywag to hear about Nick’s strange fascination with Marisa Meyer, to find out which hot young startup owner has a thing for Asian women.

Nick Douglas' Valleywag was unashamedly lowbrow, always ready to bring the snark, and not afraid to pick a fight and then extract every last bit of juice from the resulting enmity. That's not to everyone's taste, but it found a niche, and aren't niches and narrowcasting what blogging is all about? "We want to be more bland so we can appeal to a wider audience" is just so old media.

I'm not unsubscribing just yet. I subscribed to the first Valleywag incarnation on the strength of its premise, and gave it time to prove itself. I'm going to give Valleywag 2.0 the same chance. Who knows, I might even end up liking the VB.NET version more. That said, if the site devolves into snarky reporting of regular tech news, thank you but I'm already subscribed to Good Morning Silicon Valley.

1 In fairness nobody has said whether Douglas was fired or left of his own accord to pursue a new career in podcasting. A whole bunch of people just assume he was pushed, which in a way reminds me how recent reports that Justin Long would no longer play the "Mac guy" in Apple's TV ads transformed into "Mac guy fired because everyone liked the PC guy more", and then back to "Mac guy shooting more Mac commercials tomorrow, has no idea where that rumour started")

Previously: My One Post on US Politics for the Year

Next: Free Shipping!