Letter from the publisher: the history of ‘Apple World Today’

As Steve Sande announced earlier this week, I’ve assumed the reins of Apple World Today as publisher and editor-in-chief. This is the first of a (mostly) weekly column in which I’ll discuss anything that’s on my mind. Which may or may not include Apple or even technology.

What I have planned

My goal is to let you, dear readers, know who I am (I’m the guy on the bottom in the skydiving photo). In turn, I’m hoping to know more about you, so we can build a AWT community. Next week, I’ll be telling you some things about myself. But this week I want to look at the history of AWT, as Steve starts his “semi-retirement.”

I’m certainly going to miss working on a daily basis with Steve, as he’s been a great work compadre and a great friend over the years — and I’m sure we’ll be good pals for years to come.

The history of ‘Apple World Today’

Speaking of years, I asked Steve to write up a history of Apple World Today, as I came on board quickly, but wasn’t there for the launch of AWT. So, take it away, Steve (who has written the history in third person)

During most of 2014, the staff at The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) was on pins and needles wondering when the site was going to be shut down or absorbed by another AOL-owned website (probably Engadget). In order to make himself feel better about his future, Steve Sande began working on a “Plan B” to be known as Apple World Today. He got the appleworld.today domain purchased, began to look at a design for the site, and then quietly told several other TUAW staffers about the idea.

Two people decided that they’d join Steve in a venture — Dave Caolo and Kelly Hodgkins. In order to get the site up and running as quickly as possible, Steve chose the Squarespace content management and hosting service. TUAW shut down on Friday, February 6, 2015, and on Monday February 9, the new site was launched.

Just a bit of history about the logo. It was designed by a Massachusetts-based designer named Aaron Mahnke. Aaron was doing some podcasting with Dave Caolo, so we asked him if he could create a logo for us. Here’s the email Steve sent to him:

“First, I’m pretty sure that an Apple of any sort is out of the question. 🙂 Unless we have an Apple in orbit (see below)

“The second word, WORLD, really describes what the site encompasses — any news, reviews or how-tos that have ANYTHING to do with the world of Apple Inc, its products, customers, retail stores, you name it. The first thing that comes to mind there is a globe or simple representation of the Earth from space. We also have (at least at The Unofficial Apple Weblog) readers from all over the world, so that’s going to be inviting to everybody.

“Next, TODAY implies that we’re up to date, first with the story or rumor, there before anybody else. This brings to mind “being up before the sun rises”, so maybe (if the globe image is apt) having a rising sun peeking up from one corner of that globe is appropriate.

“Another thought… We have a very unique URL = AppleWorld.Today (although Appleworldtoday.com also works). Not sure how the DOT TODAY can work into the overall scheme of things.

“So there you have it.

An Apple — maybe. I doubt it

WORLD — a globe, circular shape with lat-long lines or outlined continents

TODAY — sun coming up behind the globe

DOT — not sure…”

Aaron did the logo pretty quickly, charging $500 for it…He went on to doing a podcast turned Amazon Prime TV show called Lore,  has published three books, and is quickly becoming the next-generation Steven King. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not…

Now, TUAW was getting about 6 million views a month, which is still pretty damned good for a website. We were hoping that we could get at least a million. Our first month was incredible, we got a lot of people to join in on Patreon so we could make a bit of money — at that point, we were making over $1,000 a month just through that. We also got some nice donations from a few big software vendors that helped us survive.

Then the bad times started. Kelly and Dave wanted to make a lot more money, and since all income was being split three ways it wasn’t working out for any of us. We began running Google Ads and that wasn’t bringing in enough income to help out everybody. Kelly quit, followed shortly by Dave. And then by good fortune, Chuck Joiner asked if we had any openings for a guy named Dennis Sellers… The rest is history.

We’ve had ups and downs through the years, income is still a problem, which is why the site is now being run by Dennis alone. 

Final thoughts

So, yep, money is still an issue. But I’m in this for the long haul as I LOVE doing what I do. If you’d like to help out, consider becoming a patron. You can start at only $2 per month.

Next week, I’ll tell you every thing you want to know (maybe more) about Yours Truly. And I hope you’ll start telling me about yourself. 

And I will also offer the first-time-in-years playing of the Dennis Sellers theme son (yes, I have one!)

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.


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