Kara Swisher

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Former AOL Media Exec Marty Moe to Join Engadget Gang of Eight at SB Nation

Just what is SB Nation’s Jim Bankoff up to?

Earlier this week, he hired away eight staffers from AOL’s Engadget in order to create a competing tech news and gadget reviews site.

And now, according to sources close to the situation, the former AOL content head is close to hiring another former top AOL media exec, Marty Moe (pictured here), to manage it and also more niche sites the blog network is contemplating launching.

Sources said the hiring of Moe is not yet complete, but is close to being struck.

Tyler Bleszinski, SB Nation’s founder and sports editorial director, will continue to manage the start-up’s sports blog network, while Moe will focus on the company’s tech vertical and any other future categories.

Moe left AOL less than a year ago, after nine years working at the New York-based portal, including with Bankoff.

Both had been involved in the purchase of Weblogs Inc., which included the flagship Engadget site.

Now, it seems they will be trying to remake the concept of a content network, although in a more entrepreneurial and innovative setting.

The new tech site–which is still unnamed and will be helmed editorially by outgoing Engadget Editor in Chief Josh Topolsky–will debut some time in the fall. It is the first content expansion at the Washington, D.C., SB Nation, which has heretofore been exclusively focused on sports.

Topolsky will be joined by former Engadget managing editor Nilay Patel and also former staffers Paul Miller, Joanna Stern, Ross Miller, Chris Ziegler, Justin Glow and Dan Chilton.

All of the above had left Engadget in a series of departures of late, all due to increasing unhappiness with AOL’s management and content strategy.

Paul Miller and Ross Miller, who are not related, both stated publicly that they did not like the editorial direction AOL was going in, especially a controversial content strategy document titled “The AOL Way.”

New AOL content head Arianna Huffington has shifted toward a more journalistic path, but the talent bleed began before AOL’s $315 million purchase of the Huffington Post.

Many new upstart content sites such as SB Nation have begun to try to eat away at the big portal’s content strategy–pushed by its CEO Tim Armstrong–with perhaps more nimble efforts of their own.

And those smaller companies are also well funded.

SB Nation completed a $10.5 million Series C venture round, led by Khosla Ventures, in the fall.

It had already raised about $13 million in total funding from Accel Partners, Allen & Company and Comcast Interactive Capital, as well as from angel investors such as Ted Leonsis and others in Silicon Valley.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus