Quo Vadis Lifehacker?

Martin Brinkmann
May 3, 2011
Updated • Mar 31, 2013

When I started blogging in 2005 Lifehacker was one of the two blogs that I read regularly (the other was Download Squad). Back then, it offered a mix of tech and non-tech articles and guides that made it one of my favorite sources for information.

It was one of the first blogs that I added to Netvibes, my first RSS reading and management service, and was carried over to Google Reader, the Firefox extension Brief and my current RSS reader RSSOwl.

For the past year or so I have read less and less posts on Lifehacker. I usually only look at the headlines and mark the articles as read. It is not because the authors at Lifehacker produce less content, quite the contrary.

The core reason is my impression that Lifehacker has reduced the tech article output. Now, this may be my impression and I have no idea if this is true or not. What I do see is an increase in mobile and cell phone related contents, and non-tech related contents which seem to have replaced much of the old tech related articles on Lifehacker.

Even worse in my opinion; The tech articles that get posted are often old news, at least for me and users who follow other tech news sites. Lifehacker is not the site anymore that discovers new and exciting applications for desktop operating systems.

Those tech articles are usually rehashes of other site's findings, often no longer than 150 or so words long.

Maybe that's life, that the mobile crowd has exploded and that apps and stuff are the new tech news. Don't get me wrong. There is certainly a market for mobile apps and news, but it is unfortunately not something that I'm interested in.

As a consequence, I have made the decision to remove Lifehacker from my RSS feed. I will still stop by the site occasionally to see what's going on. Important or interesting tech news on Lifehacker are covered by many sites that I'm subscribed to in my RSS reader, which means that I will still be able to read them.

For me personally, Lifehacker feels a lot like Digg. A site that I once used on a daily basis turned into something that I have little or no interest in anymore.

Are you a Lifehacker regular? What's your impression then?


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  1. Anon Y Mouse said on September 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Pretty funny preaching from a site that steals so much of its content from them without credit. I read them both and see it all the time, it’s sad.

    1. Daryl said on September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Anon Y Mouse – It read to me like you’re saying that Ghacks steals much of its content from LH? Surely that’s not what you mean though?

  2. Jason said on June 2, 2011 at 4:38 am

    ok, mostly since redesign of all the Gawker sites, people have been talking about the masses of quality commenters leaving the community of LifeHacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, etc. My question is where on earth are these people going?? I feel like there is someplace they are all migrating to, and I just don’t know where. I still mostly love LifeHacker. Yes, it has changed, but it doesn’t bother me too much. Giz is getting worse, that’s for sure. So mainly I’m looking for a tech news site to replace Giz and the old super geeky stuff that used to be posted on LifeHacker… i’ve tried Engadget and while I do enjoy the writing, the comments are unfiltered and therefore mostly terrible. PLEASE someone suggest something to me, and also tell me where these migrating commenters are going…

  3. Vin said on May 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I did not unsubscribed but as others wrote before me, I just moved LH from the tech news to the daily news…

  4. BA said on May 7, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    The thing is that….. when they changed thier site to the new look and all what it comes with, evryone just took off, like it was before was better, then you coul spend hours on the site reading, and now, it feels like a microblog!


  5. Andy said on May 7, 2011 at 2:18 am

    Like most others, I’m quite disappointed with Lifehacker’s development since Gina left. Yet, I refrain from taking it out fully from my Reader subscriptions. I still find some of their non-tech articles interesting. On the other side, I’m not too enthusiastic about Smartware (Gina’s subsequent project) either.

    Most of Lifehacker’s current articles I just browse through. Some I read in detail and follow their links to get further info. True, there is not a lot genuine creation at LH anymore.

    I don’t read all ghacks articles either, to be frank. But sometimes when I encounter some technical problem or specific info, I do search ghacks first! Gute Arbeit Martin!! Aber auch nur von Dir, IMHO.

  6. Genevive said on May 7, 2011 at 1:23 am

    The downloads, windows stuff, and little apps for your computer, all of those posts – are prolly the least popular kinds of posts because everyone’s doing it. Lifehacker used to do them, but now every other tech site has software and they all link each other. The people who read Lifehacker these days (and I love it by the way) are going there for real tips, not all tech stuff and downloads and things. Mobile stuff is on the rise, though.

    Tech blogs are everywhere, they’re a dime a dozen. What Lifehacker does is special. No matter what you think of the redesign, I think they’re spending more time on the LIFE part of the hacking than what I think some people miss, and that’s okay by me. I guess I still like it, but for a different reason.

  7. ThomasH said on May 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm


    Was a loyal fan, but redesigns that make the site harder to use have lessened my enthusiasm.

    And the drop in hardcore nerd articles are a disappointment as well. I don’t want to know how to organize my cables using rubber bands… I want the good old days where the Lifehackers published their own little useful apps and discovered software I’d never heard of before.


    1. Daryl said on May 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      @ThomasH – you’ve hit the nail on the head.

  8. BalaC said on May 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    My first impression after they(lifehacker) changed their site look and feel is a BIG NO. Then i found out a method to overcome that by adding ca. infront of their site URL. Later the content is also not related to my need as i didn’t own any iPhone or Android phones. :(

  9. Threshold said on May 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Hi Daryl,

    Thanks for the reply.

    As for GReader it’s mostly an estate space issue, the fact that it’s not so easy to mark multiple items as read and previewing items.
    All things that almost all standalone readers can do but without adblock I refuse to read anything since some blogs just push advertising too much.

  10. Mike said on May 4, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    You’re absolutely right. Lifehacker lived up to its name. It’s not about computers anymore, but about everything. And mostly about phone-apps & that stuff.

  11. Threshold said on May 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I too agree with the too diversified nature of LH’s posts and thanks for those who posted where some of the new location of DSquad people.
    And where Gina Trapani went btw?

    Martin do you share your feed list?
    I’m sure it’s interesting.

    Also can we have some posts on rss readers and how to manage information overload?
    I can’t find a rss reader to my satisfaction since most use IE as default engine and I hate that.
    For the moment I use GReader in Ffox with various scripts but I would prefer a standalone application that possibly uses firefox as engine and its extension.


    1. Daryl said on May 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm


      – Gina left to start a new software project but occassionally blogs at http://smarterware.org

      – Out of interest, what are your issues with GReader in Firefox? I’ve used it with various scripts but end up reverting to it pretty much “as is”. Although if you’ve got an iphone/ios device, take a look at the RSS Reader which actually works even better imho.

  12. Matt Burris said on May 4, 2011 at 5:53 am

    I’ve noticed this exact same thing after the redesign fiasco. I didn’t realize they were shifting to more mobile coverage, but I did notice that there were less tech topics. Shortly before the design, I was checking the feed and visiting the site 2-3 times a day. Afterwards, I found myself interested in their posts less and less, to the point that I just wasn’t checking their feed anymore, or visiting at all.

    Which is odd, because Lifehacker was aimed squarely at people like me and the things I find interesting. Ways to make life more efficient and enjoyable, whether it be online or offline. Switching to mobile coverage, or anything else for that matter, is much akin to jumping the shark on TV shows. I can’t help but feel that the so-called “brains” behind the site’s direction has made a huge mistake. Nick Denton is destined to ruin what was once a venerable and informative website.

  13. Rafael said on May 4, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Ahh.. this is a cool site: http://stadt-bremerhaven.de/
    Unfortunately, it is in German.. so MSTranslator or GTranslator should be fine to read it.


  14. Rafael said on May 4, 2011 at 5:36 am

    You really do true!
    LFhacker lost the magic of tech tips and tech reference!

  15. browngeek said on May 4, 2011 at 4:38 am

    I still like Lifehacker, and I think its from that site that I found Ghacks, which I really enjoy reading.

    Lifehacker does have a lot of links to other sites now, and like you said, seems they are re-hashing other articles. But the thing is, the links to other sites work for me, as they are sites I would not normally read.

    What I have noticed a lot more recently though, is the amount of cross posting between Lifehacker and Gizmodo. I wonder if Gawker will just merge these two in the future.

  16. Kyith said on May 3, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I too feel lifehacker have lost touch or the magic why I first visit it..ghacks was very much the reason.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      Kyith thanks for the compliment ;)

  17. Dan said on May 3, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I completely agree. I still read the headlines, but it’s getting more and more DIY and “life” not tech-hacks. I’ve been feeling like the same can be said for Gizmodo.com for gadgets also. Giz has had fewer new and informative articles. Look at their page today and it’s all Bin Laden information and any tech gadget articles are sourced from Engadget.

    A reader earlier mentioned browserscene and they look promising. I’ve also been reading http://thisismynext.com/ lately; six former Engadget staff in-between jobs.

    still loyal to ghacks too, keep up the good work!

  18. ifailatliving said on May 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    surprised at all the love here for gina. remember when she published a book on Google Wave? bloggers will say anything, the 21st century carnie.

    guess i don’t follow close enough to notice the reason for this drama. content poaching vs. linking?

    if i remember correctly, i discovered ghacks on lifehacker, in a post that said something like, “when i’m trying to figure out how to do something, i google that thing plus the term ghacks.” might have been a commenter though

  19. nero said on May 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. It used to be my 1st stop online, a couple of years back but that changed quickly. I think some of the comments regarding quality since Gina left are completely on the mark.

    Ah…and I absolutely hate the new layout, page load times are terrible.

  20. Jacob said on May 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    i have notice lifehacker’s changes too and even though i still go there i don’t go there as much as i use too its too bad they aren’t like they use to be i think they were so much better a couple of years back

  21. Robert Palmar said on May 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I have to agree, Martin. I have too many legacy feeds.
    Sites change and Lifehacker has become irrelevant.
    It is time to do some spring cleaning of RSS feeds.

    This just came in on my Lifehacker feed:

    Make Flavored Vodka with Jolly Rancher Candies
    Make Breakfast in a Mug in Just One Minute
    Make Your Own Miniature Terrarium Magnets

    Suffice it to say I can live without this information.

    On the Quo Vadis Lifehacker? — best title for an article ever.
    From the Latin Vulgate Bible alive with a dead language.

  22. Alex said on May 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Like someone said, after Gina left, there has been something missing on the site. I, in particular, miss Gina’s little apps. She used to love doing AHK apps. I do still visit the site, but I got the feeling ther are less tech related news and more daily life related news, which I guess it’s ok as the site it’s called lifehacker, not techlife. Still, would like to see more tech related content.

  23. Hans Warschau said on May 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, I still have Lifehacker on my Firefox speed-dial but as the plug-in organize websites according to the number of visit you make to that specific website, guess where is LH now? second page.

    As a foreign country reader, I don’t find many interesting articles that concerns me anymore, I feel they focused now to they’re country and mobile technologies mostly.

  24. allinthefamily said on May 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Lifehacker is not as great as it once was. That being said, their commenter base is pretty great (better than most other gawker sites). When they tap this base for posts, such as Hive Five, commenter tips and the like, they can have some pretty awesome stuff.

    1. Anon said on May 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Just what I was going to post but since you started, I would also like a better community at this site, and also better but easy to post commenting system (no stars or hearts or whatever style of gawker to get your comment featured).
      This is the only website where I stop, to comment occasionally since I don’t even have to signup to post something. One thing I would like improved in commenting system is ease to follow conversation, may be some more indentation and a place to post tips & tricks, so that you can feature them in future post for others.
      P.S. I really like lifehacker community, you can always find “The FU” charged up in linux or autohotkey post or some good comments by “theplatypusman”.

      1. Anon said on May 3, 2011 at 6:36 pm

        @Martin just ignore “easy to post comment system” since I don’t know how edit posted comment.
        Another thing is, may be this is a bug or just intended to work like this, but for some reason there is no option to reply you (problem specific to your post only, that’s why I am replying to myself) below your post. Some places it shows and in some it don’t.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on May 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm

        Anon I will look at improvements soon and see what I can come up with. The reply option is only available up to the second level I think of comments. Again, I see what’s available and reasonable to make it better.

      3. Martin Brinkmann said on May 3, 2011 at 6:18 pm

        Anon you mean the commenting here on Ghacks? I agree that it could use some improvements, will think about it. I definitely will keep the commenting open without registration as I hate to write a comment on sites only to find out that I have to register to post it. Sucks.

  25. ankit said on May 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Can you cover a topic where in you can give few good site to add to rss .it should have varios yopics like music,movies,etc.

    i want to add few good tech sites can you suggest me….

  26. ankit said on May 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    can you cover an article where in you can give some good Site which users can add to their rss.Not just tech sites but also music ,movies,games,etc.

    i am looking for some good sites to read tech stuff.

    1. Marco said on May 3, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      Me too, I’d look forward to this kind of post!

    2. Giles said on May 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      I’d look forward to this kind of post as well.

      After dropping a handful of tech/software apps sites, I’m left searching for something to fill the void.

      And thanks ghacks – I’ve dropped by for years and very much hope to keep keep doing so! Definitely one of the daily must stop sites.

  27. Akagi Kong said on May 3, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Yes, Lifehacker slipped some time ago, most of their news is old (to me as well) and I ave also noted bias and inaccurate information in some of their articles…Lifehacker hasn’t been at the edge of anything for some time.

  28. will said on May 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    holy crap i was just thinking about this when i opened my browser this morning, i was taking downloadsquad from my opening homepages and debating on also taking off lifehacker

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Seems I was not the only one, good that I wrote about it ;)

  29. apex2000 said on May 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I still read Lifehacker headlines – and open some of the articles of interest – but I think the interest level dropped after Gina Trapani ‘disappeared’ into the background.

  30. Insomnic said on May 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I still follow them but I find myself going there less and less. I could switch to featured feeds to keep is all relevant but sometimes the other stuff piques my interest.

    I have taken the view that when their design changed their focus changed. It seems they have pulled away from tech or geek specific content to more general “lifehacking” but with a technology slant. This is obviously going to provide more readership for them with regular non-techies and I pretty much just moved them out of my “Tech Teach” catagory to “General Info” category of feeds.

    I think a big part is that many of their more technical staff who could also write have left and they are left with more writers that are also technical.

  31. Bill said on May 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Wow — I was just thinking about removing it from my reader!
    Lately I’ve gotten so frustrated when I take the time to peruse the articles and mostly find meaningless fluff pieces; it’s as if there’s no discernment any longer as to articles are of real use with meat in them. I’ve found that many articles are simple a paragraph or two and blatantly a product push! Further, why the need to publish so many articles? Is it simply a competition?

    Quality is measuring stick they’ve let fall under the desk; I hope they’re reading!

  32. BkV said on May 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I stopped going to LifeHacker after their redesign. I used to frequent How To Geek, until they made it that you always had to click a link to view the full post, and couldn’t read the whole article in an RSS Reader.
    I’ve obviously got here in my PC feed, same goes for addictivetips.com, they’ve got a number of worthy posts that interest me.

  33. DanTe said on May 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    With PC shipments down this year and smartphones & tablets continuing it’s ascent, it might not be a bad idea to focus a bit more on phone apps. That seems to be where people are new and needs info the most. Not sure how the advertising dollars are right now as ads are still geared toward PC products.

  34. kalmly said on May 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Though I still love my morning jaunt through Web Land, it take less and less of my time. My list of stop overs grows shorter and shorter. Very sad. Places I once looked forward to visiting are no longer there or have changed so much I my love has turned to frustration. Lifehacker is one of those. First I found fewer and fewer articles to read but the real killer was the change in the layout. I tried to make the switch from the easy-to-navigate site they once had to the new “improved” version. One day I gave up. I’m sure I haven’t missed anything interesting.

    What’s with the new site designs all being big and glaring and allowing a view of only one or two things at a time? Is it because of the tiny little screens so many people are using? (Yes, I count widescreens in that. Now there’s a change I really dislike. The loss of vertical viewing.) But that’s another topic.

    Goodbye Lifehacker, ho-hum.
    Goodbye to Download Squad with deep regret.

  35. public image said on May 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    After the last redesign i stopped to read Lifehacker, the content is good, but the navigation is killing me

  36. Ed said on May 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I love Lifehacker. I don’t think it was ever meant to be a Tech site. It is more of what it sounds like; life hacking. I get valuable tips and advice from there all the time.

  37. Dan said on May 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I still have LH in my feed reader (BTW, I just moved to NetVibes from GReader) but I rarely read any articles. I dunno if I’ll remove it, they might get good, new writers.

  38. Anon said on May 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Anybody what is “Quo Vadis” mean in Eng (too lazy to Gtranslate it).

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      Sorry for the lack of explanation on the quo vadis part. It is basically what KRS already said.

    2. KRS said on May 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm

      From the TMI Department:

      Quo vadis is a quote from the apocryphal Acts of Peter and means “where are you going?” in the sense of “what’s the next important thing in your life?” rather than “are you going to the store?” See .

      It was also the name of a pretty dreadful all-star Roman epic film with a spectacular theme march that every high school band blasts its way through.

      1. Anon said on May 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm

        @KRS whoa thnx! for that detailed reply, @Daryl I was hoping for something like that from at least someone :)

    3. Daryl said on May 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm

      sorry Anon – I’m too lazy to reply… :)

  39. kggy said on May 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    The fact is that Lifehacker is changing, not sure if for the best. Their most prominent authors have left in the last few months, if i come to think of it after Gina Trapani stopped contributing, it seem it is all going downhills.

  40. slaghama said on May 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I removed lifehacker form my RSS feed when they became obvious Apple Fanboys. When I do drop by it seems that site is aimed at TechnoNoobs. There Hive Five posts show that their audience has moved down the geek evolutionary back channel

  41. Daryl said on May 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Yup – tend to agree. Quantity has gone up, quality has gone down.

    Two contributors have left in the past month or so (Jason Fitzpatrick – gone to HowToGeek; Kevin Purdy – gone “freelance”).

    To be honest, it’s not been the same since Gina left.

    1. Pete said on May 4, 2011 at 1:30 am

      I agree. Lifehacker had a good focus while Gina was at the helm. Gone way downhill after she left.

      I put ALL Gawker media domains into my host files after the stolen iphone incident, there are better sites with better attitudes around. Ghacks included!

  42. Naches said on May 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    i agreed that lifehacker wasnt what it used to be like. also i actually prefer the old layout before they made the change.

    anyway, can someone recommend me more tech blogs? browserscene is good. thanks “me” for sharing the link.

  43. sefcug said on May 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I still have Lifehacker in my Google Reader but, subscribe to the separate feeds; Feature, Featured – Linux download, Featured Windows download, and geek to live; for the tech related feeds.

    All the others are separate, and for those I just check the headers and if not interested move on, can go through a whole week’s worth in minutes that way.

    I still find a lot that is useful for the computer user groups I am involved with, and frequently refer back to them.

    All that said, I do agree that Lifehacker is not what it once was, and there are a lot of tech sites out there that are better.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      That’s a great tip, did not know they offered separate feeds (which I do as well by the way).

      1. Dan said on May 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm

        They sure do, and you can even customize it. When Gina first announced it, I added not:apple (of course), and not:firefox (at the time they were featuring a new firefox extension every few days).

  44. Pubudu @ TechHamlet said on May 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    They closed down DownloadSquad and now Lifehacker is going away from traditional tech articles…. I don’t know whats happening to the Tech Blogging industry.. Hope GHacks will stay solid :D

  45. akbarri said on May 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    cause Lifehacker offered a mix tech and non-tech articles,
    plus an automatic digger!
    so i keep it on my RSS feed :)

  46. HeberJim said on May 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I am dropping Lifehacker. I use FeedDemon and it takes so long to load the full RSS that the download often hangs. A royal pain!

  47. Dougle said on May 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I too removed Lifehacker a couple of months ago. There’s really little of interest, for me at least, there any more

  48. Henk said on May 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I fully agree. Just last week, I removed Lifehacker from my daily bookmarks selection. The site is becoming more and more the same kind of thing as HuffingtonPost is for general news: a mix of irrelevant (at least in my own view, not very interesting) non-news, plus superficial rehashes of items that you’ve already seen somewhere else – often three-to-four days before. I really wonder what kind of public they’re aiming at. Not me anymore, evidently.

  49. argo said on May 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    i can just subscribe your words. lifehacker turned into a “geek”-related site. It’s one of the blog/reason which covinced me to switch to google reader in order not to waste space on pc.

  50. me said on May 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I like Lifehacker and for more technology news i have other sites.
    + theres a new site http://www.browserscene.com from the Downloadaquad writers.

    1. Kaushik said on May 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      What? Why did nobody tell me about Browserscene? >:(

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm

        You should be here more often ;)

    2. Sebastian said on May 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      It’s at least a 3-man show, but Lee is definitely doing most of the posting!

      Also worth noting is that Lee and I are now at ExtremeTech (http://www.extremetech.com/) — it’s not quite Download Squad (it’s more generic technology), but we are covering some software topics.

      We also have a ‘DLS Alumni’ blog which is just a simple blog which pulls in posts from wherever the ex-DLS writers have landed: http://dls.mrseb.com/

    3. Anon said on May 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks! for the Browser Scene, just what I was looking for. Also good to see almost all of DSquad team there.

      1. Lee Mathews said on May 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm

        Thanks for the nice words about Browser Scene, guys…we really appreciate it!

        (and thanks to Martin for his support over the years!)

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on May 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm

        Lee, feels like a one man show over there currently. Correction: Erez started posting.

        Oh, and yeah, you guys have my full support. I know how hard it is to establish a site without the backing of a company.

    4. Sebastian said on May 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Long live Browser Scene!

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