There’s a lot of interesting soap-opera worthy developments going on at TechCrunch these days following Michael Arrington’s recent announcement of a new investment fund called “CrunchFund’, backed in part by AOL. Consequently, AOL may be kicking Arrington out of TechCrunch to prevent any conflicts of interest – you know, favorable TC reviews for companies that happened to be backed by CrunchFund.
To that end, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler writes:
Could TechCrunch survive without Mike Arrington? Probably. We’re doing so many pageviews now, and the machine is so profitable, that you can plug in other parts and it will run. But without him, it will not be the same. You might not think you’ll miss what he brings, but you will. Quite often, you never even see what he brings. But it permeates the entire site.
If AOL tries to bring in their own Editor-in-Chief to run TechCrunch, it will be a colossal fucking mistake. The old adage: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” — if AOL throws out Mike and tries to install their own despot, it will be breaking it just so they can fix it. And they might not like the end result. It may run, but it will never purr with the precision at which we purr right now.
AOL seems to think that by cutting off the biggest conflicts — ones so big that they’d obviously have to be disclosed — that they’ll be a bastion of integrity in the editorial landscape. What a bunch of horse shit. The conflicts we need to worry about are the ones not disclosed. They’re far more prevalent and they do actually deceive readers because they’re far more subtle. But that’s an impossible task. AOL can’t fix that — no one can. So instead they’ll slaughter the lamb everyone can see to gain puffery amongst the old media peers who also live to die another day.
First the AOL fiasco with Engadget and their team of talented writers and editors jumping ship and now this.