Poll: Republicans Love AOL, Democrats Prefer Gmail


Here is a fun little poll that I wouldn’t put too much stock into, but that will likely spur some interesting discussions in both the tech and political blogospheres today. According to a new survey commissioned by Poll Position, 20% of Republicans consider AOL to be the best email provider. Only 5.3% of Democrats think so. Overall, Democrats prefer Gmail over any other service (27%), though Yahoo Mail is a close second (25%).

While this makes for a good headline, though, the reality is that except for a dislike of Yahoo Mail, there is no statistical difference between Republican’s preference of (18.9%), Yahoo Mail (15.6%) , AOL (20.3%) and “another e-mail provider” (21.5%). The margin of error in this poll is 3%.

What really disqualifies this poll, though, is the fact that it doesn’t even list Microsoft’s Hotmail as an option. No matter what you think about it, Hotmail remains the world’s most popular web-based email service and not including it here just makes the rest of the survey look suspect.

It should still makes for some entertaining discussions around the water cooler, though.

Here are some other interesting data points from the survey: [list]

  • Democrats prefer Google over Yahoo by a 27%-25% margin
  • AOL’s e-mail service was rated best among 18-29 year olds, with 32% picking it versus 10% for Google and 18% for Yahoo. Google did best among 20-44 year olds (37%), while Yahoo was best among 45-64 year olds (27%).
  • 30% of women have no opinion about their preferred email service compared to 20% of men [/list]

Here are the full statistics (click on image to zoom in):


4:42 pm

AOL’s New Dead-Simple Video Chat Service is Now Officially Live


This already leaked last week, but AOL’s new video chat service just officially launched in beta. This no-download, no-login, web-based service allows users to quickly set up video chats with up to three additional people. To get started, you simply head over to, give the site access to your camera and microphone. AV then gives you a shortened link that you can send to your friends.


With regards to features, the service is pretty basic. Indeed, there are really no features to write about here besides the fact that you can add your name on top of the video with your webcam’s video. This, of course, is also the whole point of AV (tagline: “fun, easy video chat”) and I wouldn’t be surprised if this service turned out to be quite popular because of its simplicity.

Interestingly, AV forces users to update to Flash 10.3, which was just released earlier today. This means that users who still rely on older browsers (pre-Internet Explorer 7, for example), won’t be able to use this service. According to Digital Trend’s Geoff Duncan, AOL plans to launch a mobile version of the service soon, though, which will likely mean there will be native apps for Android and iOS devices.

The closest competitor to AV is likely TinyChat, which established itself as one of the leaders of Flash-based browser-based video chat services over the last year.

11:03 am

What Should the Next Generation of Tech Blogs Look (and Feel) Like?


As I’m thinking about the sale of TechCrunch to AOL and Jason Calacanis’s ideas for how to take tech reporting to the next level (in the form of an email newsletter), I can’t help but think about what the next generation of tech blogs will look like. Since the early days of tech blogging, the field has become more professionalized and the major blogs now have plenty of full- and half-time staffers who ensure that no nuance of the tech world goes uncovered. While Twitter and Facebook have changed the way these publications find readers for their stories (in the early days, RSS feeds used to be a huge source of traffic), the blogs themselves all still look pretty much the same (one exception – at least with regards to their homepage – is the rapidly expanding The Next Web).  (more…)

6:26 pm

AOL Acquires TechCrunch


After a few hours of wild speculation, TechCrunch founder and co-edit Mike Arrington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong just announced that AOL has indeed acquired TechCrunch. According to Arrington, TechCrunch will be a fully owned subsidiary of AOL, but his team will have no "editorial boundaries" and AOL will allow the blog to operate as usual. Arrington will stay on with AOL for "at least 3 years," which – presumably – is part of the agreement. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Congrats to Mike and the rest of the team.

Below is the full press release.

AOL To Acquire TechCrunch Network Of Sites

Leading Authority on Tech News Will Expand AOL’s Growing Offering of World-Class, Audience-Relevant Content
San Francisco, CA, September 28, 2010 – AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) today announced that it has agreed to acquire TechCrunch, Inc., the company that owns and operates TechCrunch and its network of websites dedicated to technology news, information and analysis. TechCrunch and its associated properties and conferences will join the AOL Technology Network while retaining their editorial independence, further bolstering AOL’s position as one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality, tech-oriented content. The announcement will be made on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, CA.

Founded by Michael Arrington, TechCrunch operates a global network of dedicated properties from Europe to Japan, as well as vertically-oriented websites, including MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, TechCrunchIT, GreenTech, TechCrunchTV and CrunchBase. The TechMeme Leaderboard ranks TechCrunch as the No. 1 source of breaking tech news online, followed by AOL’s Engadget.*

"Michael and his colleagues have made the TechCrunch network a byword for breaking tech news and insight into the innovative world of start-ups, and their reputation for top-class journalism precisely matches AOL’s commitment to delivering the expert content critical to this audience," said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL. "TechCrunch and its team will be an outstanding addition to the high-quality content on the AOL Technology Network, which is now a must-buy for advertisers seeking to associate their brands with leading technology content and its audience."

Heather Harde, Chief Executive Officer of TechCrunch, said: "TechCrunch and AOL share a motivating passion for quality technology news and information, and we’re delighted about becoming part of the AOL family. This represents a compelling opportunity to extend the TechCrunch brand while complementing the great work of sites like Engadget and Switched. Our contributors, and our audiences, can look to the future with excitement about what we can build when we have the significant resources of AOL behind us."

Michael Arrington, Founder and Co-Editor of TechCrunch, said: "Tim Armstrong and his team have an exciting vision for the future of AOL as a global leader in creating and delivering world-class content to consumers, be it through original content creation, partnerships or acquisitions. I look forward to working with everyone at AOL as we build on our reputation for independent tech journalism and continue to set the agenda for insight, reviews and collaborative discussion about the future of the technology industry."

TechCrunch also hosts industry-leading conferences and events, including The Disrupt series, The Crunchies Awards and various meet-ups worldwide. These conferences bring together industry innovators, entrepreneurs and financing sources to exchange ideas, forge new relationships and discuss the current and future industry trends.
"Engagement with thought leaders is as important to AOL as our engagement with our contributors, audiences, publishers and advertisers, and TechCrunch’s conferences and websites will give us a promising, additional springboard to join and amplify these conversations. We’re committed to quality in everything we do at AOL, and look forward to working with Heather, Michael and the TechCrunch team to extend the brand," said David Eun, President of AOL Media and Studios.

The AOL Technology Network consists of AOL’s tech-oriented properties including Engadget, the Web magazine about everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics; Switched, which covers the intersection of the digital world with entertainment, sports, art, fashion and lifestyle; TUAW, the unofficial Apple weblog; and DownloadSquad, the weblog about downloadable software and other computer subjects. The AOL Technology Network ranks in the top five for tech news according to comScore Media Metrix, August 2010 data, and leads the top five in average time spent and average visits per user.

This acquisition will further AOL’s strategy to become the global leader in sourcing, creating, producing and delivering high-quality, trusted, original content to consumers. TechCrunch will remain headquartered in San Francisco, CA, as a wholly owned AOL unit. Deal terms were not disclosed.

9:51 am

A Few Thoughts About AOLCrunch


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…).

9:02 pm