TechCrunch Disrupted: CrunchFund forces scrutinty on co-editor Michael Arrington
Earlier this week, TechCrunch co-editor Arrington announced his CrunchFund initiative (in which AOL invested $10 million) to back startups. Shortly thereafter, chaos erupted. The blogosphere wondered aloud how Arrington could maintain editorial objectivity if he had a stake in some of the startups being written about. Suddenly, Arrington was an unpaid blogger at TechCrunch, at best. Dan Primack of Fortune Magazine reported that Arrington had been fired by AOL.
AOL bought TechCrunch in September 2009. Arrington’s article at the time made it clear that TechCrunch would maintain editorial independence despite the acquisition.
Now, the former co-editor is demanding that editorial independence from AOL or insisting the blog be sold back to Arrington. Of course, the rumor mill keeps spinning. Some sites report that if Arianna Huffington may have had some influence over Arrington’s departure, and Paul Carr argues that the Huffington Post would love nothing more then to acquire TechCrunch altogether. All the while, TechCrunch bloggers have been expressing their full, unedited opinions, whether that be disapproval of the CrunchFund announcement, concern for the future, or headline threats to quit (if Arrington cannot choose his predecessor).
For now, the future of TechCrunch remains uncertain.
In other management shifting news, Carol Bartz was fired as CEO of Yahoo. Bartz insists the decision was bred from the impatience of the board and has been in the news quoted as calling the board a bunch of “doofuses.” And that’s putting her words nicely.
Cable network Starz has chosen not to renew their contract with Netflix and will be pulling their content in February 2012. Speaking of contracts though, Twitter and Bing have decided to continue their partnership.
reddit announced it’s independence from publishing company Conde Naste this week, positioning itself equal to Conde Naste (as far as hierarchies go) under Advance Publications.
Google has acquired restaurant rating system Zagat to further enhance local ratings.
Be On the Lookout:
The turntable.fm iPhone app will likely be released next week. On a completely related note, DJ Woooo’s girlfriend broke up with him.
Google Plus API will not be open for another couple of months (at least), but will be available to a select “Trusted Testers,” to be chosen from a group of developers already backed by Google Ventures.