Heading into the weekend Avram Piltch - the third editor-in-chief in six months at Tom's Hardware - committed journalistic suicide.
Avram's article titled, 'Just Buy It: Why NVIDIA RTX GPUs Are Worth the Money', is a direct contradiction to the article that ran a day earlier titled, 'Why You Shouldn't Buy NVIDIA's RTX 20-Series Graphics Card (Yet)'. Avram's article, now heavily edited without notation, set a record for the most hate filled messages left on the site even with moderators deleting nearly half over the past 24 hours. This was also the second article in two weeks to garner heavy negative attention from the same author.
What the hell happened?
Tom's Hardware has changed in the Avram Piltch era. In recent months, some veteran staff have jumped ship and many others are desperately looking for a life raft before the full implementation of Tom's Hardware 2.0, a Google SEO driven site. These sites, like Tom's Guide, don't break new stories but rather identify trending topics and then quickly build content to match. Purch has an internal team scrubbing the internet each day that assigns stories to different teams inside the company.
The Tom's Hardware 2.0 formula has not sat well with veteran journalists and editors that continued the twenty-two year legacy of Tom Pabst. The first forward-facing look at the current internal struggles come from Igor Wallossek, editor-in chief of Tomshardware.de, a licensed spin-off of Tom's Hardware Germany.
Igor, a 10-year veteran of Tom's Hardware, writes in his German response to the most recent controversy:
"With this attitude, the interim editor-in-chief also contradicts my very personal work, since I am directly involved in the launch article. Who is to believe the hard-won results after so much advertising balsam? And hello? testing complex components requires more basic knowledge and expertise than the superficial clowning of notebooks and colorful Lego heaps.." - Translated.
The statement refers to Avram Piltich's editorial writing for Laptop Magazine, Tom's Guide, and Space.com where he wrote about mainstream topics like notebooks and Legos. Avram has never authored content that meets the high expectations of a Tom's Hardware journalist much less qualified to be the editor-in-chief under the former format. When Avram came to Tom's Hardware to transform it into a larger Tom's Guide filled with clickbait content, he started by writing the topics he understands, Legos and non-technical notebook editorials. The new direction and content didn't go over as well as similar articles at Tom's Guide and Space.com, both also owned by Purch - the owners of Tom's Hardware and Anandtech.
Avram Piltch has doubled down on statements via his GeekinChief Twitter account, and Igor went nuclear in the Tom's Hardware forums with more claims of Avram's inexperience and even a breach of contract related to the German site's licensing.
Both comments were scrubbed by forum moderators. Later in the day we had our second look at infighting at the media company. An ethical but disgruntled moderator enabled the posts again for public viewing before issuing a public statement and later resigning his position.
We can only imagine what the C-Suite will be like in the Purch offices on Friday. We hear Future plc, the publishing company in the middle of acquiring Purch, comes to the office for the first time at the end of the week. In the press release announcing the acquisition, Future placed a strong emphasis on the reputation and technical detail from the flagship property, Tom's Hardware. The current leadership inside the company clearly no longer cares about the site's reputation and doesn't have the technical knowhow to publish highly technical content outside of a few writers that have remained only to to see the shit storm pass.