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Evan Blass plans to pursue another career, well-wishers set up crowdsourced campaign to pay his medical bills

As early as 2009 Twitter was becoming an active place for leaks.  The ability to quickly share snippets of information and photos with the public seemed a perfect forum for leaking inside info on the latest upcoming smartphones.  While one-time leakers did much of the leaking, some regular leaks feeds like @phonesleak [Google Cache] began to pop up with time.  
 
But these early leakers faced a variety of issues, including legal threats from phonemakers that valued secrecy and the difficulty in publicizing  -- let alone monetizing -- their work.
 
Evan Blass -- known by the Twitter handle @evleaks -- transformed the nascent business of Twitter smartphone leaking into a fine art, and for a time managed to monetize it into a job.  Mr. Blass quickly differentiated himself as one of the best.  His leaks were almost always accurate.
 
But on Sunday, he announced that he was quitting the leaks business to pursue another career.  His announcement first came in the form of a brief Twitter post stating:
On Sunday, The Next Web's Jon Russell published an interview with Mr. Blass offering a more in-depth explanation of why he was leaving.  In the interview, Twitter's (former) top leaker reveals that he's been battling multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease of the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system).  The leaks business apparently wasn't the best paying, despite his rising profile, and the expenses of his illness eventually forced him to come to a tough conclusion.
Evan Blass
Evan Blass (@evleaks), widely regarded as Twitter's top smartphone leaks source, is retiring to try to battle a tough disease. [Image Source: Mobil.IDnes.cz]

He explains:

These matters are always somewhat complicated, but like many things, it mostly comes down to money. Trying to monetize a stream of Twitter leaks is not easy. First I tried monthly sponsorships. Then weekly. Then single sponsored tweets. I took donations — felt like online panhandling.

I also started a website, and it’s actually done somewhat respectably, but with all the leaks going out on Twitter anyway, people have little incentive to visit, and most of my tech-savvy-heavy audience seem to be pretty heavy ad-block users, as well. It all adds up to an unsustainable living, and with a progressively worsening disease [Ed; Blass was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis], I need to make sure I can prepare myself better for the future, financially.

The Verge had first revealed Mr. Blass's condition in a November 2013 piece about the Walgreen Comp.'s (WAG) silent, punitive policy of blacklisting certain drug buyers, which in some cases was denying legitimate patients like Mr. Blass access to the medicines they relied on for pain relief.
 
In the post, which contained an interview with Mr. Blass, the leaker revealed that he had been diagnosed with MS in 2004 and today was suffering from ever-worsening pain in his hips, back, and torso.  He was relying on strong prescription opioid painkillers including oxycodone and fentanyl in order to remain functioning and be able to work.
 
Mr. Blass was not clear in his Sunday interview what his plans were, but he made it seemingly clear that he would be exiting the leaks business.  When asked:

Is there a chance that you might reverse this decision and return to leaking again in the future?

... he replied:

Almost certainly not. This is not a pack-your-bags-and-move-down-to-Florida retirement. I plan to start another career now, for reasons stated above. Hopefully one with some matching 401k action.

It is unclear whether the international Twitter accounts (e.g. @evleaksin) and his recently launched website (evleaks.at) will continue on in any operational form.  He said the future of the website was "unknown" and implied he was still contemplating what to do with it.

The online community who followed his work closely might have sensed something like this might be coming as in recent months his pace of leak postings slowed.  He also struggled with losing his cool at times with users he engaged in arguments with on Twitter.  At times these tirades devolved into personal attacks on his critics loved ones and family members.  While he later deleted these posts and was mostly silent on the things that were said some reposted copies of his rather disturbing comments were made available by a couple of his critics.

On July 5 he posted a mea culpa of sorts about these comments, admitting they were an unfortunate byproduct of his personal financial and medical struggles.
We can only hopes he finds his greener pastures and makes progress in battling his trying ailment.  He's given us so many good leaks over the last two years, but like all good things, his leaking days are indeed coming to an end.
 
Some well-wishers have set up a crowdsourced fund on IndieGogo trying to pay for Mr. Blass's treatments in hopes that he gets back to leaking...


So far $578 USD in donations (1 percent of the goal) has been raised.  The hope that the fund will convince Mr. Blass to leak again may be wishful thinking, but it's a testament to how much people appreciate his work.
 
But for now the torch is now passed to other leakers such as Weibo stars Digi-Wo (China), TK Tech News (who Mr. Blass personally lauds in the Sunday interview, calling him "a beat when it comes to leaking"), and @DooMLoRD_XDA, top XDA Forums leaker.

Sources: @evleaks on Twitter, The Next Web, IndieGogo [campaign by well-wishers]





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