Is TechCrunch Following the Aol Way Into Oblivion?
What is interesting though is watching TechCrunch as it goes from Silicon Valley powerhouse to an era of the great exodus of familiar faces. The latest change is at the top (yet again) as Erick Schonfeld is gone as editor-in-chief and replaced by Eric Eldon. Maybe the Eric without the “k” will be more quick and nimble sans one consonant? I don’t know.
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington laments the continued musical chairs at his former baby. Over at his uncrunched blog he writes
I’m exceptionally bummed that so many people have left TechCrunch. Of the top ten all time tech writers according to TechMeme, six were from TechCrunch: myself, MG Siegler, Erick Schonfeld, Leena Rao, Jason Kincaid and Robin Wauters.
Of that group, only Leena remains at TechCrunch. And many other stars have left as well – Paul Carr, Sarah Lacy, Vaughn Brown, Heather Harde and Greg Kumparak.
Change is inevitable in life, right? But the rapid rate of change at TechCrunch since Aol bought it oh so long ago (September of 2010) is startling. Arrington has theories on why that happened as well and he states it a way that only he can.
In the old days of TechCrunch we were pretty good at deflecting the constant gripes from the old school press and the mobs they occasionally kicked into existence.
TechCrunch still has to deal with that, but in the modern era they also have to watch their back, because they have a very touchy psychopath conducting a musical chairs to the death game with them right now.
A very touchy psychopath? That kind of statement might be enough to make Arianna’s well-coiffed hair curl on the spot! In all honesty, she doesn’t come off as a particularly likable person. I say that from a public persona point of view only since I have never met her personally and most likely will never have that chance. Oh well!
So while the staffing changes continue at one of the seminal blogs of this new tech era, the real problem lies in the plummeting traffic as reported by paidContent.org (GigaOm’s newly acquired playmate).
TechCrunch, the long-time darling of the digerati, is smashed to bits and all of AOL’s horses and men will be hard-pressed to put it together again. The site has lost almost every one of its top writers and traffic has fallen sharply, dropping by 35 percent from a year ago.
Here is the chart that gives the not so pretty traffic picture for TechCrunch these days.
The point of this is not to pile on to the folks at TechCrunch. In fact, I hate watching people’s lives be played with, especially by someone like Huffington who has cashed out long ago and seems to be collecting power points rather than money for her kicks these days.
Watching this happen though should serve as a warning to anyone in the online space. There is no job security or popularity security. This is a fickle space and if you are not in a true position of power there are no guarantees of anything. Even those in positions of power (like Arrington at TechCrunch) aren’t safe.
I am sure that everyone leaving TechCrunch will land on their feet and stick the landing. As for those that are there trying to right a listing ship? I can offer my best wishes and prayers that the blog either finds itself fully upright again or they get off before it really starts to take on water.