Readers of IntelligentSpeculator know that we are not fans of AOL, of its business model and its future prospects. That being said, it just acquired a blog that we had written about just a few days ago, TechCrunch, the leader in technology info. The news came out and while there had been some rumors, it’s still a major shock to most of the community. Reports are that AOL paid around $40 million to buy TechCrunch which I consider to be a great deal no matter how you look at it. The blog is huge, has talent and contacts and with AOL’s sales force, it could start bringing in lots of money.
What does this mean for AOL?
It is a huge move but a risky one as well. I would be very curious to see how TechCrunch will operate within a very different atmosphere. If Michael Arrington stays there for some time, has all the lattitude to keep things running as it wishes and AOL only helps out with ad sales, I could see this as being a huge success. But if AOL tries to get involved, control revenues and expenses and set “standards” for the content, then the deal could turn out very bad. You can already see the TechCrunch community (a huge part of the website) is very upset, which is not surprising given AOL’s reputation. They can turn things around if TechCrunch proves over time that it remains the Best Technology Blog out there.
Do you have any thoughts on this surprising deal?