MacRumors’ Macworld Coverage Success and Sleeping on the Sidewalk

This year, MacRumors’ coverage of the Macworld San Francisco 2008 keynote address knocked it out of the park. Reviews were universally positive, and it makes me really proud of what we’ve accomplished.

What makes this accomplishment even more impressive is that we’re a relatively rag-tag crew pulling it together against better funded sites with far better keynote access. No one at MacRumors is a full timer. At present, we’re still a combination of part-timers and volunteers.

In the end, I was unable to get a “keynote” media pass to Macworld. No big surprise — despite our size, MacRumors doesn’t get much recognition from Apple (or IDG). This, however, means that I had to buy my own ticket (Superpass) into the Keynote, and stand in line to get a good seat. Of course, the night before I became nervous about not getting a good enough seat… which means I ended up on the sidewalk at 1am (and I wasn’t first in the Superpass line) the night before trying to get some sleep. I got maybe an hour of sleep before people starting milling about, and I started getting uncomfortably cold. So, I ended up chatting and moving around (to keep warm) for the next 7 hours while I awaited keynote access.

In the end, it was me and Jeff Longo in the Keynote providing updates from mid-way-back seats. We had a volunteer crew at home handling the server side and processing data. But that was enough to provide the best keynote coverage on the web.

I like to think that due to our limited resources, we’ve had to work smarter and harder in order to keep up. We also aren’t restricted by the ever-important “page view” metric that tends to drive the more commercial sites’ coverage. We employed additional servers and multiple Content Delivery Network (CDN’s) to support keynote traffic, but due to our efficient setup, we are able to run it at a fraction of the cost.

I’m sure competition will increase, especially after our success this year, but we’ll continue to step up our features. This year, we added large (640×480) photos, and an iPhone/iPod touch formated site. There will be more to come.

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24 Responses to MacRumors’ Macworld Coverage Success and Sleeping on the Sidewalk

  1. Jeff says:

    You definitely were nervous, which kind of took some of the nervousness from me. But in the end, hitting a home run felt really good, and it was a lot of fun.

  2. hendrik says:

    hey arn,

    i know what it feels like to be an underdog in this whole thing and i admire your work. we basically got the same feedback from our readers here in germany and it’s great to see how true-hearted effort beats money and names.

    btw: i was really nervous this year, too. as a matter of fact, i was the second guy with a media badge to show up on tuesday morning (5am-ish), just to make sure I’d get in.

    great to see you again,


  3. Otto-Mate says:

    Thanks for your coverage guys! Your text was fast and descriptive and the photos were great. I’ll be watching your feed again next time from this side of the pond.

  4. Jeff B. says:

    Yeah, that was GREAT coverage. I was on my iPhone just watching it update. I loved that it did not go to sleep and just kept bringing me MWSF play by play. Really well done. Thanks again.

  5. Rick M. says:

    MacRumors coverage was BY FAR the best. The text statements were were concise and accurate and frequent. MacRumors was the ONLY one that didn’t seem to freeze up. If I’m not in SF next year, it’ll be MacRumors for me.

  6. Backspinner says:

    It was high quality work!

  7. Tom says:

    You did an awsome job with the coverage, having that little site setup flowing out text and photos is much better than a blog post taking forever to re-load when you refresh it.

  8. Bryan G says:

    I heard the guys from engadget on TWiT saying they have to do the page refresh to get accurate counts of people watching for page views. That’s BS! The AJAX call could log the page view if it got new content. It could also initiate the ad tiles on the site to update when new data comes back. They are big and lazy. Expecting me to hit refresh over and over is crazy.

    Your method for doing the pics (even though they trailed the content) was ingenious. MacRumors is where I will always look for this sort of coverage.

    When you are owned by big media companies, they make you do stupid stuff. The small guy always innovates to overcome a lack of resources.

  9. Justin says:

    For the 2006 Keynote I tried to rely on MacRumors, but it just wasn’t as good as Engadget’s. This year’s 2007 keynote was a whole other story, you guys at MacRumors were leaps and bounds ahead of the pack in every aspect. I was actually more impressed at your guys’ coverage then I was with Macworld at that moment. Your forums and news are second to none, and now your Macworld coverage has beat out the big guys. Great job! Thanks!

  10. Aaron says:

    MacRumor’s coverage was terrible. It was mostly photos and they sent a text update every 5 minutes or so. Their live IRC chat consisted of “A new photo has been posted… a new photo has been posted… a new photo has been posted…” No information. It sucked. Ars Technica’s IRC channel updated 5-10 times per minute with a constant flow of information. By far the best. MacRumors did NOT hit it out of the park. They hit a single at most.

  11. Christianjb says:

    I used MR for keeping up with the SteveNote. Superb job.

    MR is easily the best Mac oriented site out there. I can always rely on them for giving me accurate, smart and up to date information.

    Part of the joy of owning a Mac is having the community of MR to consult when needed.

  12. Mark says:

    Great work guys, you are the only site I check during the keynotes and this year has to have been the best experience yet. It was a better experience then your IRC chat that used to be my favorite

  13. Adam says:

    I thought the iPhone updates were teriffic and you guys used a great method of pushing them out. I hate how long it would take for the competition to load even with wi-fi.

  14. Roger says:

    I bookmarked all the sites that were live-blogging the keynote. Yours was the only one that provided constant updates without freezing up or requiring me to refresh every few minutes. Great job! I will definitely be tuning in to MacRumors next year.

  15. scott says:

    The updates were great. I watched gizmodo, engadget, you all (mac rumors), and one other, and you were the best. In fact, I’d say best 2 years running.

  16. Jay Z says:

    Out of the park, indeed. Watched your keynote-cast during a long car ride… best auto-updating streaming news cast (with photos) ever.

    a new high bar. thank you macrumors.

  17. Morghus says:

    Extremely impressive coverage, congratulations!

  18. Boog says:

    I had several sites loaded and ready to go if (and when) one crashed but yours was the clear winner very early in the session. Great work!

  19. Jamie says:

    I watched the macrumors feed and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  20. Well you have to give praise where it is due and you deserve some.

    There were the two of us (thats the entire IT dept!) watching/keeping track of the keynote, and without Macrumors we would have been left without anything. So many thanks!

  21. Ronn Trevino says:

    I tell you. I had everyone in the office switching over to you guys.. just because the coverage was superior to everyone else.

  22. Pingback: Two Part Timers Beat Engadget and Gizmodo’s Keynote Coverage « Simple Drops

  23. Vivek says:

    I followed your online coverage from India about 12 hours ahead of you guys. Practically made me feel I was in the hall with Steve. Super job! Many thanks! I’ll be tuning in to your channel next year too.

  24. Steve Hyde says:

    I’d just like to echo what everyone else here has said. I was following ArsTechnica, TUAW, and some other sites as well as yours. In the end, I just gave up on everyone else and followed your feed. The big guys were appallingly slow. You have every right to be proud of a great job.

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