Yesterday, the tech world was surprised to find that the story Om Malik broke Monday was confirmed, as AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong traveled to San Francisco to announce the acquisition of TechCrunch by AOL. This acquisition strikes extremely close to home as a former AOLer and early TechCrunch contributor.
I started my blogging career in June 2005, within just a few days of the launch of TechCrunch. I was writing about similar topics as TechCrunch so I got to know Mike Arrington as we shared links in our posts about similar topics and left comments on one another’s blogs. This was before Facebook and Twitter existed, so friendly blogosphere linking and banter was the way you connected with people. I began writing some of the first round-up articles for TechCrunch in March 2006. TechCrunch was not even a year old – most people had never heard of it (and barely knew what a blog was) but there was already a cadre of loyal fans. It was fun to be able to work on an article, post it and see the comments come in like a rainstorm.
Once I moved to product development at AOL, I made sure we worked with bloggers like Mike and others to help AOL connect with this new form of media, specifically when it came to launching new products. During my own AOL tenure, we participated in a number of TechCrunch events and over time, real relationships were created.
I see this acquisition as a great move. AOL is strategically focused on the content business with one of the largest blog networks in the world. Adding TechCrunch and their talented team to the mix will help to bolster the overall AOL brand and bring it back into the conversation with many who continue to disregard the company as a has-been.
Personally, working with TechCrunch was an extremely valuable experience for me, and I appreciate the opportunity. I was never paid to write for TechCrunch, but rather did it for the love of the game and to make a contribution to the tech community. And working with Mike was an experience – he has a big brother tough love type of personality. He taught me to be more publicly critical of products, and I learned other media tips and tricks along the way.
Congrats to TechCrunch, Mike Arrington, Heather Harde and the rest of the long list of past and present contributors. TechCrunch has done a tremendous job building a media company, a great team and keeping the ball moving forward. I look forward to seeing how the relationship evolves for both companies.