Michael Arrington and AOL Part Company

Michael Arrington and AOL Part Company

As those of you who follow the popular tech blog TechCrunch know, the past several weeks have not been good ones for upper management of both the blog and its parent company, AOL.

It’s huge news that Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch, has officially parted ways with AOL and consequently TechCrunch, for good.

From what I’ve heard, he wasn’t the most agreeable of people, but he made what TechCrunch is today – its focus on startups, the freshest and most up-to-date tech news, and a no-holds-barred character. In a world where there are untold millions of blogs, TechCrunch under the skilled leadership of Arrington shined and attracted a loyal following of readers.

This success was picked up by the large media companies. Last year, AOL bought TechCrunch for $30 million, and things were on good track as the website had just finished a redesign when the controversy hit. Arrington had founded a venture capital fund that invests in start-ups, a clear conflict of interest in AOL’s eyes.

You can read about the rest in the news, but I’m not at all surprised that this incident happened. Arrington’s TechCrunch represents a new brand of “journalism” in the Internet age, one that is a mix of reporting and opinion that isn’t expected to be balanced or objective.

AOL, which owns news websites that follow the traditional rules of journalism, should have realized this important difference when they purchased TechCrunch. It was a head-to-head collision waiting to happen from the get-go.

So what now? Arrington has left, a bunch of TechCrunch writers are threatening to leave, and I’m pretty sure TechCrunch will never be completely the same. Sure, they’ll still have a lot of posts on tech, but I think that with AOL at the helms, we’re going to see a gradual shift in style and approach.

This makes me (and I’m sure many other readers) a bit sad, since the reason people follow a blog is because of the writers and content. Take those away, and the blog is just an empty shell.

Who knows? Maybe things won’t be so bad. Maybe TechCrunch will continue to boast a huge following. I just wish Arrington and company the best, and I’m grateful of the years they spent developing the TechCrunch brand into what it is today.

Tech news updates at randomtidbitsofthought.wordpress.com.

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