Posted by: Marshall Sponder | July 12, 2008

AOL TechCrunch – ugh, but if so, Arrington is cashing in

Some fairly reliable rumors that highly read TechCrunch is being aquired by AOL soon (well, they’re in talks to be aquired in the price is right); my supposition is Arrington and the TechCrunch team have figured they’ve peaked in this format and want to try something else – and cash in on what they have now.

Several sources told me TechCrunch has been in off-and-on talks recently with Time Warner’s AOL (TWX), which wants to pay from $20 and $30 million for the site.
I could not find out what price TechCrunch thinks is fair, although one might assume it is higher than that.

TechCrunch CEO Heather Harde told me via email that she had no comment. “My policy is not to comment on rumors of our business,” she wrote.

TechCrunch, which was founded in mid-2005 by Michael Arrington, is a group-edited blog that has grown large by focusing–”obsessively,” according to the site’s About page–on Web 2.0 start-ups, covering every jog and tittle of their life cycles.

Sources said the talks between TechCrunch and AOL have been ongoing for the past six to eight weeks, although the site has been in talks with several other large media companies interested in it in the past and these have not led to an acquisition.

AOL would probably be a good home for a site like TechCrunch, since it has a blog focus from its own Switched site and sites it bought, like Engadget.

My belief, if I have this right, is the lifespan of a Web 2.0 company like TechCrunch/Crunchbase, etc, is highly compressed and the traffic stats, by the way, haven’t really grown that much over the last 6 months, and neither has the RSS Subscribers changed much.

Feed circulation data for Techcrunch

And from January 2008 on, TechCrunch’s traffic has become “static”, more or less, meaning they’ve peaked.

Maybe Arrington figures this the time to cash out – I would not blame him, in a way.  I love reading TechCrunch, but it’s become more of a “magazine” than a blog – maybe he wants to move on and develop the next Web 3.0, Web 4.0 thing and he needs the cash to do it.

Would not be the first time.  Let’s see what happens – but usually rumors like this have some substance.

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  1. If you ask me, they should buy TechMeme instead 😉

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