posts about or somewhat related to ‘TechCrunch’

You know when you flush the toilet, and for a while the water is circling, spiraling downward, and then there’s that moment of silence right before the flush is completed? That’s where AOL/TechCrunch is.

John Gruber, Daring Fireball, reacting to this paidContent article about the exodus of TechCrunch’s top writers and plummeting traffic numbers. 

AOL bought TechCrunch for $25 million in the 2010.

Michael Arrington, TechCrunch and AOL get the Treatment

For background on Arrington’s new investment fund and the conflict of interest it creates for both AOL and TechCrunch, see our post here.

To view this video in English, head this way.

Mike Arrington has enabled all of this. He brought in Heather, he brought in Erick, he brought in the rest of us. He built TechCrunch out of thin air. He’s made enemies along the way. He rubs some people the wrong way. But there is no question that the entire space is better because of what he’s built. And there’s also no question that what he’s built needs him.

— TechCrunch As We Know It May Be Over by MG Siegler via TechCrunch

TechCrunch is a different property and they have different standards.

Tim Armstrong, chief executive of AOL, to the New York Times in response to news that TechCrunch founding editor Michael Arrington has started a $20 million venture fund that will invest in technology startups.

TechCrunch is an AOL property.

Arrington, and TechCrunch by extension, has often come under fire for conflict of interest. Arrington’s response is usually that he’s transparent  about his investments in technology companies that TechCrunch covers.

Still though, say what, huh? Transparency is a key value in today’s news environment but running a leading technology publication while heading up a venture fund that invests in technology companies is, how should we say, beyond problematic for TechCrunch as a trustworthy brand.

Perhaps sensing that, Business Insider just reported that Arianna Huffington has told them that Arrington no longer works for TechCrunch and will not report to her at the AOL Huffington Post Media Group.

However, Business Insider says they are getting mixed signals about the veracity of that claim.

Update: Kara Swisher chimes in at AllThingsD:

And so it goes in Silicon Valley.

In fact, the creation of a $20 million investment kitty that Arrington has dubbed CrunchFund is simply the formalization of a long-standing arrangement that has already been going on since he founded his popular tech blog.

That is to say, in which the basic standards of journalism are first warped by calling it newfangled truth-telling and then endlessly corroded by using a wily and unusually aggressive combination of favors and threats to extract, from start-ups and VCs in need of press, both exclusive access and information.

And now, inevitably, money.

New Uses For Old News: ‘The Civil War Today’ iPad App

fish and chips in newspaper

by TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid…

…It’s called The Civil War Today and was put together by A&E Television Networks (which owns the History Channel) and developed by Bottle Rocket. It isn’t a game or social networking app or anything else even remotely sexy.

It’s a daily newspaper that’s over 150 years old.

The premise is simple: you get to relive the Civil War as it unfolded. Every day, you fire up the application and are presented with a handful of news stories that actually appeared in newspapers exactly 150 years ago — along with photographs, maps, quotes, and a running tally of the casualty count so far. The application will be updated every day for the next four years.

(Source: TechCrunch)

Twitter has acquired TweetDeck, we’ve heard from a source with knowledge of the deal, and the transaction will be announced in the next few days. The $40 million – $50 million purchase price includes both cash and Twitter stock, says our source.

via TechCrunch 

Twitter has acquired TweetDeck, we’ve heard from a source with knowledge of the deal, and the transaction will be announced in the next few days. The $40 million – $50 million purchase price includes both cash and Twitter stock, says our source.

via TechCrunch 

What Policies for Writers Investing in the Fields they Cover? →

Yesterday, TechCrunch founder and editor Michael Arrington published a piece that updated his investment policy.

Today, All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher shares some questions she has for Arrington’s boss Arianna Huffington (AOL owns TechCrunch):

  1. What are, if any, the ethical guidelines about making investments for the editorial staff at HuffPo media group properties?
  2. Since Arrington now seems to have permission to do so from you, can other editors at AOL properties do the same–that is make very adjacent investments to what their site covers, as long as they disclose it? For example, can an editor who runs the entertainment site make investments in entertainment companies she/he has coverage responsibility over? (By the way, did you give him permission to make these investments? Did he ask?)
  3. Is there anyone who polices what is fair coverage of competitors–i.e. companies competing with companies your editors invest in?
  4. If an editor makes investments in a company and someone who works for them writes about that company, does that editor have to recuse himself from the story? Is that even possible?
  5. Since you just fired someone for what you called an ethical breach–asking freelancers to work for free and also seemingly defending an attempt to curry favor with an advertiser/client–why is this not an ethical breach?

Less Trolls, Less Comments, Better Conversation →

TechCrunch has gone through a number of commenting systems in its life. This includes WordPress’ default, Disqus and IntenseDebate. After a week with Facebook, they say that comment quality is improving while overall quantity is falling.

While we’re apprehensive about turning over comments to Facebook, the results thus far speak for themselves. Comments are, after all, where the conversation’s at. The less spam, the less trolling, the better.

Via MG Siegler:

Since we flipped the switch on for Facebook Comments last Tuesday morning, you’ve probably noticed that the overall number of comments have fallen dramatically. This is completely expected and definitely not a bad thing. Previously, many of our posts would get hundreds of comments (and sometimes more), but at least half of those would be of a quality best described as weak to poor. And of those, about half would be pure trollish nonsense.

Simply put: with the previous system, roughly half of the comments were more or less useless.

With the Facebook system, the most popular posts are only touching around 100 or so comments (obviously, the ones about the commenting system have more). But of those 50 to 100 comments, many of them are actually coherent thoughts in response to the post itself — you know, what a comment is supposed to be.

That’s not the case across the board, of course. We’re still seeing a lot of commenters talking about their hatred of the new commenting system. But those are easy to discount as we saw the same comments when we switched to Disqus, and InstenseDebate before that. It’s a symptom of change. Those comments will dissipate quickly, if we stick with Facebook.

Seems people think twice before commenting when their identities are known.

It’s amazing to me how wrong The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times were on their Twitter fundraising stories last week. All claimed multiple independent sources, but everyone got the story wrong in the same way…

…I don’t remember a time when the big guys were all throwing around “multiple sources” so freely and all zeroed in on exactly the same wrong story. It makes me think the FT just flubbed it, and the WSJ and NYTimes, eager to get their stories up, just found some source who told them what they wanted to hear.

— Michael Arrington, Techcrunch, The Twitter Story Fail. The article ends with a surprising twist when after lambasting the publications, Arrington says it’s actually ok because even though the story was wrong, it at least started the conversation that lead to the correct story. He calls this Process Journalism.

Samuel Axon: Former Engadget and Mashable Editor: “Web Journalism Is a Joke” →


Former Engadget and Mashable Editor: “Web Journalism Is a Joke” 

I’ve heard the argument that we’ve “redefined” journalism, but semantics aside, we’re either profit-seekers or truth-seekers. We’re either entertainers or informers. No one can be both unless the game rules are changed. I’m tired of seeing TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington and Huffpo’s Arianna Huffington claim otherwise in their crusades against “old media.”
For all the flak they get, at least AOL’s Tim Armstrong, Demand Media’s Richard Rosenblatt and Mahalo’s Jason Calacanis aren’t lying through their teeth. They’d be the first to tell you they’re mass-producing commodities tailored to consumer demand, just like Gap or McDonald’s.
And guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that. Wise people place their bets based on the cards they’re dealt. On the web we’ve all been dealt a shit hand for journalism, such that the only way to win the long game is to fold.
Instead, we have opportunities to use our resources to entertain, to shape the public and popular culture, and to generate financial opportunities for ourselves and others. Stop calling it journalism. It’s not, but it’s a rewarding way to make a living. Maintaining that distinction is vital to the critically endangered future of real journalism.

Referral Site StumbleUpon Sent 700M Pageviews to Online Publications in December

Did newspaper subscribers ever really pay for content, or were they just paying for the paperboy to deliver news to their homes?

Today fewer people are willing to pay for home delivery of the news and they can get only the information they want online, free, whenever they want it. Increasingly this news is coming from blogs and niche sites, or is steered to consumers through referral sites that curate the best of the Web.

Startups like, StumbleUponDigg and Reddit are playing an increasingly important role in the news business, driving huge traffic to content sites, and they are essentially becoming the paperboys of the 21st century. 

StumbleUpon in particular has seen remarkable growth in the past year, delivering 700 million pageviews to publishers in December, and increasing its own traffic 20 percent, according to TechCrunch.

This year Digg shed one third of its traffic, dropping from just shy of 8 million monthly viewers in December 2009 to 5.2 million viewers in November 2010, the last month for which Compete stats are available. Pageviews to StumbleUpon  grew 73 percent during 2010, clocking in almost 4 million visitors in November, according to Compete.

While the purpose of StumbleUpon is to generate traffic for other sites, Digg has long tried to capture traffic for itself,  before sending visitors offsite to the original content. This further masks the rise of StumbleUpon versus its competitor. And because much of StumbleUpon traffic is generated through its link shortener, which takes advantage of microblogging site Twitter, it employs multiple modes of generating traffic. 

However, audiences are even less loyal to link referral sites than they are to imperiled newspapers, as the saga of Digg illustrates. And just because people stumble onto content, it doesn’t mean they’re going to stay there, as the commenters on the TechCrunch story pointed out.

But while individual referral platforms may rise or fall, content creators should be working on strategies to leverage these trends, and get in on what amounts to a ton free traffic.