The web has exploded with news of AOL purchasing TechCrunch. Instead of rushing to throw a blurb here on my blog, I wanted to take time to read what everyone else is saying. What are people thinking about this massive merger of minds? Is the tech blog world as we know it about to end? Do readers hate this idea… or love it? It’s impossible to know how one feels about something so colossal unless you take the time to see what others have to say and digest it.
Make no mistake, fellow tech geeks: this is definitely colossal news. Yes, Mike Arrington is reportedly staying with the company. Yes, TechCrunch will retain editorial control. Yes, AOL promises more technology and stability behind the scenes. Yes, the entire TC staff is welcome to stay on in their current roles. Whether they will or not remains to be seen, of course.
When thinking only of those pros, one would think that nothing much will change. TechCrunch will be as important to us as it has always been. The site will continue to deliver the news in a way that makes us want to read, right? All of the people we love (or love to hate, in some cases!) are still going to have their bylines splashed across the juiciest articles. What’s the big damn deal about the sale, then?
Even though there are several amazing people working at TC, there is no doubt that the driving force behind it is Arrington himself. Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that when he speaks (or writes), people tend to listen carefully. He’s never been afraid to say exactly what is on his mind about any subject at any time. He has Cojones made of steel, and uses them to post whatever the hell it is he feels the need to. This is what makes TC as vital and unique as it is.
I’m not trying to take away from writers such as MG Siegler or Jason Kinkaid. However, if any type of muzzle is placed on Arrington, the site simply will not be the same. The deal reportedly gives TechCrunch complete editorial control. Does that extend to allowing Mike to run with stories in HIS way whenever he wishes? Will he continue to be able to report stories such as AngelGate without having someone slap him on the hand and tell him no?
It’s going to be interesting to watch this development unfold, and to see where exactly it takes us. My sincere hope is that nothing will really change over there, other than a boost in hosting and technology. An infusion of new readers, commenters and “fans” is a welcome thing. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that nothing changes when it comes to the way the news and stories are told.