Michael Arrington sold his blog, TechCrunch, to AOL from some $30 million dollars and maintained the right to control the blog’s content. His contract further stipulated that if TechCrunch was unable, for any reason, to maintain editorial integrity then it should be offered back to Arrington for purchase. Arrington took his money and started a venture capital firm investing in tech companies like those he used to blog about, and Arianna Huffington used this action as her pretext to dismiss him from his former position. TechCrunch editors mourn the loss of Arrington and the dismissal could be an expensive one for AOL. Many are pointing out that this is another example of Arianna Huffington taking the reins at AOL, which is odd given she sold Huffington Post to AOL, not vice versa. The message from AOL is mixed, with AOL claiming that Michael Arrington is still part of the company, just not the media portion of the company. His venture capital firm CrunchFund is part of AOL Ventures, according to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. Michael Arrington’s departure is just one of many lately at AOL’s prime tech properties, leading many to question the strategy employed by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong to build AOL into an internet media giant.
September 8, 2011