Click to viewKnow that old saying "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? Former Engadget editor Ryan Block has put it into practice by tapping former Gizmodo editor Brian Lam — now the site's editorial director — to help advise them on their new gadget startup gdgt. In doing so, Block has ended — or at least set aside — a long-term gadget-blog rivalry which frothed with animosity. (Gizmodo, like Valleywag, is published by Gawker Media.) At times, the competition got dirty — like the time Block created an anonymous blog slamming Lam for a post about the iPhone.Block has since confessed to the stunt. In a post on Lam's hire, Block says "Brian Lam and I are actually pals outside of work — have been for years." But back in 2006, a tipster told Valleywag, Block created a blog called Boycott Gizmodo! and a Digg account with the same name that he used to promote blog's one and only post to Digg's front page. "The time has come to Boycott Gizmodo," reads the post. "Not only did Brian Lam and Gizmodo purposefully deceive long standing readers such as myself about the iPhone, they did a terrible job of covering their tracks." (Lam's post promised readers news about an "iPhone" device on a Friday, before the launch of the actual device — and then, on a Monday, revealed that Cisco owned a trademark on the term, long attached to speculation about an Apple cell phone, and had released an iPhone-branded product. The companies long since settled the matter, giving Apple rights to the iPhone name) We asked Block if he was the author of the blog. In response, Block told us, "Brian and I have always been friends who knew where to draw the line." Block also just published a confessional blog post titled "Bygones and rivalries," in which he confessed to authoring the "Boycott Gizmodo!" blog. He also offered another anecdote from a rivalry we're all going to miss.
Of course, it went both ways, too. Gizmodo and a lot of other sites were pulling shenanigans day in and out, with the traded barbs pushing everyone harder, thinning out mistakes which could turn into ammunition. The result being better, faster, more accurate gadget sites, of course, but it’s a little funny, because that stuff all seemed so very serious then. Looking at it now, the storied rivalry retired, it’s almost kind of cute. There was a line to be drawn, too, and to me that line was where real damage could be done. This May, in fact, that line drew itself right in my inbox when a disgruntled former Gizmodo editor pinged me offering a tidy bounty. The full “back catalog of classified Gizmodo emails, some discussing Engadget,” as well as “access to Gizmodo’s tips account [that'd be where you could get all of Gizmodo's scoops, or even turn over their tipsters to the companies they're leaking about]” and the “master list of Gizmodo online sources, which is a great aid.” Without hesitation, I turned this person (and any data they could make use of) over to Brian and owner of Gizmodo/Gawker Media, Nick Denton, for them to deal with as they saw fit.