Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The Unofficial Apple AI Weblog


The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) has been a cornerstone of Apple-related journalism since its establishment on December 5, 2004. Acquired by Web Orange Limited from Yahoo IP Holdings LLC in 2024 without its original content, our mission has been rejuvenated to continue providing Apple enthusiasts and tech professionals with authoritative and engaging content. We strive to serve as a comprehensive resource for news, credible rumors, and instructional content that spans the Apple ecosystem and beyond.

Karissa Bell:

The sale, notably, did not include the TUAW archive. But, it seems that Web Orange Limited found a convenient (if legally dubious) way around that.

They scraped

Christina Warren:

So someone bought the old TUAW domain name. TUAW was a site that I worked at in college, that has been dead for a decade and that I stopped working for 15 years ago. But now my name is bylined on 1500+ articles alongside an AI-generated photo. Revive the old brand. Fine. But leave my name off of it!

Jason Snell:

They’ve re-used the names of key historic contributors, but generated new bios and photos(!) and claim that new stories are written by these historic contributors.


After coverage here and elsewhere, the site has changed all the names of real people to fake people. Same bios, same photos, but now fake names. This doesn’t stop the new TUAW from being an AI-generated garbage farm, but at least my friends’ names aren’t attached to the garbage anymore.

Eric Schwarz:

It’s like what happened with iPodlounge/iLounge…cashing in on the name, but just crap regurgitated content.


Update (2024-07-15): Nick Heer:

The same advertising identifier has been used with a handful of other previously defunct publications like Metapress and Tapscape, as well as a vanity URL generator for Google Plus.

Adam Engst:

Christina Warren said AOL shuttered TUAW in 2015 and moved the archives to Engadget, breaking all the URLs. I suspect Web Orange Limited used a spider to crawl all old TUAW URLs on the Wayback Machine, had an AI tool “meticulously rewrite” those articles, and posted them on the new site. That would explain how we get Steve Sande’s favorite apps article from 2014 written by “Jeffrey Adams” but still using the first person. Compare against the original on the Engadget site.

TUAW was prolific, so there are thousands of articles going back to the site’s founding in 2004. When I checked out the oldest pages, I quickly found some places where the system broke down, linking modern headlines with ancient content and revealing what looks like generative AI behind the curtain.

Why do this? There are a lot of old TUAW URLs floating around on the Web. They didn’t resolve a week ago, but they do now, and their content will often pass the average Web surfer’s sniff test. Having content on the other side of all those old URLs will help the overall SEO ranking for the TUAW site, thus increasing the chance Google will return TUAW pages for searches and cause people to see ads.

See also: MacRumors and Slashdot.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

While they likely have copyright permission to repost old articles, isn't using AI to remix and remaster someone's stuff and then plastering the original author's name on it duplicitous to the extreme? Like possible fraud?

I guess changing to fake names now is something… but good thing AI has no controls and is allowed to do whatever it wants. Thank you OpenAI, Microsoft, et al.

@Nathan I don’t see how they would have permission when they didn’t purchase the archives.

So true, I don't know what I was thinking. Content farm junk content is nothing new, I suppose the barrier of entry is simply lower now. Thank you for setting me straight Michael.

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