According to Om Malik and the Wall Street Journal, AOL is in the process of acquiring TechCrunch, arguably the world’s foremost technology blog. For the time being, this is only a rumor, but with sources like GigaOm and the WSJ, it sure feels like a very solid rumor. It’s worth noting, though, this is not the first time we’ve heard about a possible sale of TechCrunch and none of the other possible sales ever worked out.
This time, however, it feels like the timing is right: TechCrunch is hosting its highly successful Disrupt conference right now and with AngelGate, the blog’s founder Michael Arrington just broke what could be his biggest story ever – a scoop that is so quintessential Arrington that only he could have found and written about it. If you sell your blog, why not sell it when it’s at its peak?
My personal feeling is that there is probably a kernel of truth behind this rumor. Nobody at TechCrunch is commenting, of course, but my best guess is that we will know more by the end of the week.
If this turns out to be true, then hats off to Arrington and congrats to everybody on the team (quite a few
TechCrunch writers own a share in the company if I’m not mistaken, so they could see a nice Christmas bonus this year, too)!
AOLCrunch: What Could it Mean for the Rest of the Tech Blogosphere?
As Robert Scoble noted earlier tonight, a sale of TechCrunch to AOL could herald a major shift in the tech blogosphere. Chances are that Arrington won’t stick around to become an employee at AOL and as much as he has built an amazing team at TechCrunch, the best and most interesting post on the site are still written by Arrington himself.
As Scoble also notes, without Arrington around, the site could lose its status as the go-to site for a lot of PR companies and they might shop their news around more. For the tech blog ecosystem, that could only be a good thing.
TechCrunch is currently the dominant force in tech blogging (even while I’m working for their competitor, I have to acknowledge that). I don’t think a sale to AOL will change this right away, but it could open up opportunities for current (and new!) competitors to attack TechCrunch’s status as the preeminent tech blog (or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part…).