Everyone in the nexus of the world where consumer electronics and media meet seems to have an opinion about this following the announcement on Monday that The Times’ gadget critic is headed to Yahoo to create a splashy new consumer tech site. Isn’t it risky for David Pogue to leave the newspaper that made him a star for a Web organization that has virtually no presence on the beat? There’s no way to definitively answer that just yet, of course. But that didn’t stop the researchers at Kontera — a firm that measures Web content and social media impressions — from taking a stab. And their data show that it’s probably worth the gamble. “Yahoo might be a better platform for him to build his personal brand,” says Ammiel Kamon, EVP of Marketing and Activation Products. Possibly due to the newspaper’s online pay wall “Yahoo is seen a lot more than The Times. It’s quoted more and re-tweeted more.” Yahoo generated more than twice as many Web comments about telecom and consumer electronics matters than The Times did from July 22 to October 13, Kontera found. And in a look at the buzz generated by four top tech critics during the period, Pogue came in third with 23% of the comments. The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg came in first with 31% closely followed by USA Today’s Ed Baig with 30%, while independent writer John Gruber was fourth with 15%. That surprised Kamon. “Pogue has a lot more Twitter followers than Mossberg,” he says. “How come overall he’s mentioned a lot less?” To be sure, that’s no measure of influence or prestige. But Pogue is “landing in a green field” at Yahoo. With the right team and promotion “it could be powerful.”
This is a coup for Yahoo. David Pogue has spent 13 years critiquing gadgets for the Gray Lady, becoming one of its brand-name writers. In the process he also has become a familiar presence on CBS Sunday Morning and the host of PBS’ NOVA ScienceNow. Yahoo says that he will now “lead a major expansion of consumer tech coverage on Yahoo and will publish columns, blog posts, video stories and more, starting later this year.” CEO Marissa Mayer weighed in, saying that her company is “in a unique position to bring to life great editorial about the technology consumers are using every day.” Pogue says in a blog post that in addition to his writing he’ll continue “making my goofy videos. But my team and I have much bigger plans, too, for all kinds of online and real-world creations.” While he characterizes Yahoo as an “underdog,” he now believes that the company is “young, revitalized, aggressive — and, under Marissa Mayer’s leadership, razor-focused, for the first time in years….She’s overseen brilliant overhauls of several Yahoo sites and apps, and had the courage to shut down the derelict ones.” The New York Times circulated an internal memo that wishes him well in his new gig.