Michael Arrington gets the last laugh

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So . . . I’ve been a fan of TechCrunch for many moons and when it was announced that they were going to be acquired by AOL (also known as SOL) I was somewhat more than skeptical. AOL has a long and storied history or ruining businesses they’ve acquired. Kind of that anti-midas touch. Everything they touch turns to crap and TechCrunch is no exception. Since the announcement, the quality of writing has diminished and as you can see from this Compete report, traffic is DOWN.

When it was announced, I kept wondering, “What the hell is he (Michael Arrington/founder/CEO) thinking?!??! ┬áIt will ruin the site(s)!!! It will kill the Brand!”

Well. That’s exactly what he was thinking. He was thinking this will kill the whole thing. Why would he want to do that? Something he had worked at so diligently for so many years building the blog to a $10 million a year in revenue. Why would he kill it? He did it because his audience had turned on him. Blog comments filled with hatred and Specifically this incident with someone that wanted his attention, spitting in his face. I think at that point (January 2009) he decided that he was going to teach those people a lesson. Those that had loathed him but couldn’t get enough of TechCrunch. Just for the record he took on an antagonistic personality to drive traffic to the site, frequently taking an opposing position just to generate compelling conversation. AND everyone knew that. It was the nature of the reader/Arrington relationship. (Call it Branding.)

In the end, TechCrunch – this tremendous resource, will die a slow death. Rictus on full display. And Michael Arrington will sit back thinking about those that wronged him. Laughing.

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I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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