Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

On The Verge of a New Tech Site, Which Finally Debuts

Tonight at 1 am PT, techies who have nothing else to do — that would be me! — can click onto a brand new tech site called The Verge.

Well, kind of — it’s the result of many months of work by the gang that defected from AOL’s popular Engadget tech powerhouse, set up temporary shop under the Web site name This Is My Next and busied themselves with creating The Verge.

I have another screenshot below of the new site that will be focused on news, reviews and features about tech, and which has been getting a final tweaking all today.

From my quick perusal, it has a vibrant and slick design, with a lot of packed boxes, swooshy movement and plenty of content.

Along with the launch, The Verge’s parent company — formerly doing business as SB Nation, focused on sports — will also transform into Vox Media.

In a chit-chat with Vox’s CEO Jim Bankoff, top exec Marty Moe and Josh Topolsky, The Verge’s Editor-in-Chief, the trio of former AOLers all said they were going to for the big time.

“We want to build the platform for talented native Web voices, in sports and tech for now, and then we plan to grow more verticals,” said Bankoff.

“We want to create more than a news site or blog about tech — the frustration at AOL was that we did not get the resources or manpower to realize that bigger vision,” said Topolsky.

(You’re speaking to the choir, brother!)

Said Moe: “We think this category has not had a large enough vision…not enough has been innovated over the years and we think it is a big opportunity.”

Topolsky said the site, along with a mass of original content from 30 writers, will also be helped by a strong database of information about all its topics and gadgets and also focus a lot on community input.

“What we want to do was graduate beyond the blog,” he said.

(Hmm…and here I just got the hang of this blog thing.)

Bankoff, who would not say how much Vox spent on launching The Verge — my back-of-the-envelope guess, several million dollars — said that costs were spread out between the tech and sports sites with centralized sales and product teams.

Initial launch sponsors are BMW, Sony and Samsung, said Moe, who is aiming to sell “major brand advertisers on the idea that we will be the premiere destination of consumer tech coverage.”

It has to grow past big sites like Engadget to do so, but Topolsky said that This Is My Next had three million unique visitors in the last month and more than 10 million page views.

“We have done that with a lot of editorials and in-depth reviews,” he said. “I think people are really hungry for great content and stories.”

As to competitors, Topolsky said that “this not to necessarily I win if you lose,” although his clear aim is to unseat sites like CBS-owned CNET, Engadget and Gawker Media’s Gizmodo and perhaps even newsier sites such as TechCrunch and AllThingsD (as if!).

“We are going to do the nuts and bolts stuff,” he said. “Somewhere between Engadget and Wired.”

Topolsky compared The Verge to a “boutique hotel — we have the same stuff everyone else has, but it is a much more elegant experience.”

Later, that will change, he promised, noting that “this is only version 1.0.”

Of course — but what else would you expect from a gadget site?

(Good luck and congrats to the entire The Verge team from AllThingsD!)

And here is another lovely screenshot, as promised:

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google