Another day, another shakeup within AOL’s content empire. Patch editor-in-chief Brian Farnham is off to pursue other projects. But before he goes, he wants to thank several people–so many people that it requires a 1,400-word missive on the Patch blog. In a sharp break with the current fashion, it is not devoted to the organization’s numerous failings and/or Read More
tech media company known on GlassDoor.com for being a “great jumping-off point for other things,” is making a habit of creating new blogs due to the sheer bungling of perfectly good blogs. TechCrunch is like some kind of organ transplant being rejected by AOL’s immune system. It’s the end of the Erick era and the start of the Eric era, and time to say goodbye to New York-based writer Jason Kincaid in the freshest round of shakeups at the post-Arrington blog. TechCrunch—how the mighty have fallen—is rapidly losing ground to competitors. PandoDaily and Uncrunched, run by TechCrunch vets, seem to announce an exciting new thing every day.
Blogger Jason Kincaid (Observer Media Power Bachelor #18 in the class of 2011 for those keeping track), is leaving TechCrunch. Mr. Kincaid wrote about the move in an entry in his personal blog, posted today:
Gianna Palmer is a guest blogger for Betabeat.
AOL released its fourth quarter earnings report today and not shockingly, profits are still falling. Q4 net income fell 66 percent to $22 million (23 cents a share) and revenue slipped 3 percent to $576.8 million. CEO Tim Armstrong seemed pretty happy, though.
“AOL took a large step forward in Q4 and I am very pleased with the way we ended the year,” Armstrong said.
At least one reason for Armstrong’s cheery outlook: AOL saw its ad revenue increase 10 percent to $363.8 million. To what does it attribute this growth? In part: its hyperlocal news effort Patch.
Starboard Value LP, who’s 4.5 percent stake in AOL makes it one of the company’s largest shareholders, is taking aim at Tim Armstrong and his attempt to reinvent AOL as a media powerhouse.
In a nine page letter reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Starboard points out that AOL has seen its stock slide 70% over the past year. The company may be positioning itself to get spots on AOL’s board of directors, with all eight seats up for re-election in February.
The Verge launched yesterday in the early a.m. without a hitch: a sleek tech news site complete with longer analysis, forums, a product database and a Q&A with insanely-popular Apple blogger John Gruber to ensure a nice inaugural traffic boost.
“For me, this was an idea that was forming for a long time,” said Josh Topolsky, former Engadget editor and current editor and co-founder of the new site. The editor—Jimmy Fallon’s gadget consultant and electronic musician—was getting notes from co-workers as he spoke to Betabeat this morning by phone (“26, 27 editorially-focused employees? Okay, I’m being told it’s 29″).
For the last decade, Erick Schonfeld has been the lone wolf of tech media, working as the East Coast point man for tech publications headquartered in Silicon Valley “He’s the kind of reporter who can handle anything you throw at him, from a trendy Web 2.0 startup to a Fortune 100 titan,” said Josh Quittner, who was Mr. Schonfeld’s old boss at Business 2.0. “For us he played the one man band.”
The thirty-nine-year-old father of three lives in the suburbs near Chappaqua, forty five minutes north of New York City. (He left a tip on Foursquare about his morning commute from the Metro North station: “Get here early and snag a metered parking spot.”)
It’s Ad Week in New York, so expect a lot of announcements geared to catch the attention of the buyers who spend big bucks for top brands. The Huffington Post kicked things off with a bang, announcing that it had broken one billion pageviews for the first time this past this past August.
The growth is paired with a push by Arianna Huffington to craft verticals around every type of audience. The site has recently launched HuffPost Gay Voices, HuffPost Weddings and HuffPost High School, among the more than twenty new categories it has brought online since being purchased by AOL.
International expansion is also ramping up. Ms. Huffington was in Brazil when the whole Crunchfund drama erupted and is planning more trips abroad in the coming weeks.
There was no indication in the press release of how much of this new traffic comes from AOL’s considerable network. If the growth is simply the result of the new partnership, then it’s less interesting than new organic highs.
As Kara Swisher points out, HuffPo is also acquiring companies and continuing its hiring binge, taking full advantage of its big new bottom line.
Those of you who hopped on a plane without Wifi Friday evening can be forgiven for not keeping track of what AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher described as “pure twaddle wrapped in ridonkulous grandstanding.” First came TechCrunch writer Paul Carr’s lively public resignation letter. That was followed by newly-crowned TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld’s equally public resignation acceptance. And then, to pile it on, TechCrunch writer MG Siegeler offered a semi-private anti-Huffington IED because hey, it’s no fun if you can’t play too.
Digg’s Kevin Rose compared all the adolescent drama to “a LiveJournal page,” so put on some emo jams and join us, won’t you, as we flip through the pages of TechCrunch’s Burn Book. And, yes, for the most part, you’ll find it at the same URL where the professional tech blog used to be.
THANK YOU GROUPON, FOR REMINDING US OF THE GLORY THAT IS GLASSDOOR.COM. Groupon, the all-star white-hot unstoppable brilliant daily deal startup that launched a thousand clones, is being sued by Chicago employees for abusive working conditions (think “sales staff cries all the time”). Nevermind that Groupon is the PointCast of 2011–”I don’t understand how everyone isn’t vomiting in their mouths over Groupon,” one exhausted founder told Betabeat a short time ago–let’s talk about GlassDoor. The all-anonymous, all-unverified rumormongering-est site of them all, a thorn in the side of employers who are forced to endure slander or pay GlassDoor to clean up their profiles, and a blight on our eyes as we navigate its rabbit hole-like interface in search of smack talk.