The Unofficial Apple Weblog Will Shut Down February 3rd

| Editorial

AOL announced Friday that it will be reorganizing its sites—The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) and Joystiq brands will be retired and archived as subdomains on other AOL properties. TUAW will shut down on February 3rd, 2015.

Particularly keenly felt by the Apple watching community will be the loss of TUAW (pronounced "too-ah" sort of like a Marine). First posting Apple news starting in December 2004, the site will close on Tuesday, February 3rd—the archives will remain as a section of Engadget. Many former TUAW writers have gone on to other notable gigs: Christina Warren is now at Mashable for example, and also hosts the Overtired podcast with another alum, digital tinkerer Brett Terpstra. Other notables include Nik Fletcher of RealMac Software, Namesake comic writer Megan Lavey-Heaton, and many others, including yours truly.

TUAW

I got my start at TUAW in 2009 after making friends with Mike Rose during Macworld 2008. It was the first "official" writing I'd done for any website, and I was thrilled to pieces to get a chance to contribute to a site I'd always enjoyed reading. Then I was invited to come on the Talkcast, which was the podcast recorded Sunday evenings. I'd never been "live" on a podcast before (I sent recorded audio to a Lost podcast but never recorded with other people). I then went from regular guest to occasional host to full time host, and I covered Macworld, CES, organized meetups in Portland, and so much more all in the name of TUAW.

I had business cards and wonderful people to work with. I learned so much more than I imagined possible. I met amazing people and made great friends. And for any website to last ten years is notable, especially since starting a website in the mid-00s still seemed like a crazy idea. Add in the purchase and reorganization under AOL and TUAW's survival is even more remarkable. It also makes its demise during Apple's largest success even more disappointing.

One of the best TUAW moments I had was at Macworld, when a woman came up to say she was a fan of the site. She was new to the Mac but read everything because even though she didn't understand it, she'd remember that she read it and go back when it made more sense. She thought the site was useful even though she was a new user, and all the power users she knew told her they read it all the time.

TUAW was a fantastic resource for all sorts of people. Unfortunately it seems that since Apple is a bit less niche now, lots of people can get Apple news from much more mainstream sources. For those in the community, it's another loss in the face of Apple's gains. We'll miss you TUAW. I'm certain there will be many drinks raised (or poured out) in your honor.

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Comments

arpierson

I quit reading TUAW when they came out with a series on how porn creators were using the Mac OS to create their porn movies. I’m not gonna lie.  I haven’t missed it.

wab95

Kelly:

You raise an interesting point.

During Apple’s dark night (not to be confused with the caped hero - more akin to the Dark Ages), the ever-dwindling (or so it seemed) and ‘beleaguered’ Apple community had this sense of closeness and family. Seeing another Mac user in the wild could prompt an emotional response and inter-personal bonding not unlike finding a long-lost kinsman.

The same is true for the Apple-dedicated online news outlets and websites. Today, not only is it not uncommon to see Macs in the wild (they tend to dominate international conferences I attend - at least from any single vendor), iPhones are ubiquitous in the West and iPads are rife. News articles about all things Apple have gone mainstream, and in spite of themselves, ‘respectable’ and ‘disinterested’ sources, like Bloomberg and even the once disparaging BBC, feature in depth analysis and stories (although occasionally the Beeb goes off the ranch of reason and does a ‘beleaguered’ story - still).

In a curious reversal of the norm, one often has to be more discriminating about stories from some of these mainstream, professional sites than lesser known ones; as they often rely on analysis from people who truly do not get Apple and whose assessments and predictions are off-target when not plain rubbish.

All that is to say that Apple-dedicated sites, like TMO, MacWorld, Mac Voices and many others with a proven track record, e.g. Dalrymple’s The Loop, still have their place for not only in-depth treatment, but analysis from people who understand not only the platform, but the company and its culture.

PSMacintosh

I’ve been on Macs since they first came out.
Always sorry to see a high-end Mac site end.

However, you haven’t been clear in the article about a couple of key things:
1.  Why is AOL terminating the site?  What reasons given?  What benefit to AOL?
2.  Who owns/controls the site—AOL or some person?  Why is it not that person’s decision whether to continue the site or not?

Thanks.

PSMacintosh

Whoops.  I didn’t notice the link to a previous article with more details.  Sorry.

“cutting back on media properties it deems as underperforming”
Curious, does anyone know how TUAW was “underperforming” in AOL’s eyes:
Too few writers and articles?
Too few readers and commenters?
Too little income?
What?

My Tech Report

It’s a sad day when any small business goes under. AOL owns a number of tech blogs, so it makes sense that they would want to focus on the ones that generate revenue. Some of these blogs are what inspired our team to create http://mytechreport.com. We decided to create a place where not only the main authors could write and share their tech stories, but the community could also. While we open our forum so the community can become the author publishing tech news and reviews, we also say goodbye to an old friend, Túaw.

davebarnes

I stopped reading/visiting TUAW over 2 years ago after AOL messed it up—again.
Sad to see people thrown out of work thru no fault of their own.

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