A little background –Techcrunch.com is an interesting tech blog that I have read on and off for several years and is in the top 200 most visited sites on the internet (as of today). Techcrunch the company is a group of blogs/websites all operating under the Techcrunch banner. It was founded by Michael Arrington.
Just under a year ago AOL buys Techcrunch (and here). The usual ruckus ensued with all of the comensurate headlines – sellout, success story, loss of autonomy. All kinds of attacks and kudos were directed towards Arrington.
Last week it was reported that the now dubbed Crunch Fund had been created, was financially supported by AOL and involved Michael Arrington (here and here). Another wave of name calling ensued with many not sure that the line of “journalistic integrity” could be maintained since Arrington would be writing about companies that the fund would be involved with.
Yesterday, a blogger from Techcrunch had this to say on his personal blog. And now this morning on Techcrunch.com itself an article (I quite enjoy this type of article as it pissed me off just enough to go through the comments at the end, which piss me off even a little more :-).
In an ideal world journalistic integrity would be absolute and unquestionable. However, It’s not an ideal world, it’s a real world. In the real world, very few have the luxury of sticking to their ideals 100% of the time without some compromise or accommodation of real world factors. This is true in business, journalism and relationships. In the case of journalism, bills have to be paid and eyeballs have to be achieved. And in the blogosphere, this is even more the case. The rules are literally being made up on a daily basis and very few blogs are run by true journalists and even fewer give a damn about anything more than what’s in their best interest.
Rant part A: Techcrunch was sold to AOL. AOL bought the right to say how high and how many pieces of TP to use if they wish to. If Techcrunch wanted to stay 100% autonomous and control their own destiny and content then this should not have never happened. Techcrunch’s decision (or the owners thereof) was to vote with their wallets and the belief that although there would be compromises, they would be better off as part of a much bigger entity (or maybe it was just with their wallets, no shame in that).
Rant part B: To the writers at Techcruch and others – This is the real world and the real world is a balancing act. Since being bought by AOL, there have been improvements to Techcrunch and things that are perhaps less ideal such as a site redesign. The site design accomplishes some of those real world items (better SEO -> more traffic -> more revenue) at the expense of actual user interaction (IMO and that’s the beauty of this new world… it is an opinion and we all get one). One other thing – I would suggest that those who talk about the integrity of Techcrunch’s content should consider all of the eye grabbing sensationalistic headlines of the past with little substance to back it up. No one may have told you to write those articles, but they are about accomplishing quantity (both articles and eyeballs) over quality.
Rant Part C: If you don’t like it, go do your own thing. Anyone with a few $s and a computer can create their own Techcrunch and share their opinions with the world (case in point www.writetrack.com). Vote with your wallet, good luck and much respect!
Rant part D1: You are not entitled to anything. Earn it! (ok…. these are my stock rants that is tagged on to just about everything).
Rant part D2: If your going to be a “NO” person, isn’t it better to have a thought out position/solution/answer before opening your mouth.
Rant part D3: Music and Videos are not free. Just because you can download them does not give you the right to. And yes the model may be broken, help fix it or run the risk of quality content going the way of Blu-Ray Discs.
And for the record, I continue to enjoy Techrunch.com and several others like it on a daily basis. I think it’s a quality product with great articles. I’m a news junky, especially technology news. Sites Techcrunch.com have replaced the multiple trips to newstands and bookstores used to make to purchases a crazy number of magazines and periodicals each month. And I get the news almost real time.
Ok now…. exhale.