Now, an astonishing post by TechCrunch writer M.G. Siegler on the site itself suggests that with the departure of founder Michael Arrington, the blog is about the implode.
“TechCrunch is on the precipice,” Siegler writes. “As soon as tomorrow, Mike may be thrown out of the company he founded. Or he may not. No one knows. And if he is, he will be replaced by — well, again, no one knows. No one knows much of anything. Certainly no one at TechCrunch. This site is about to change forever and we’re in the total [expletive] dark. I’ve been able to piece together little bits of information here and there, and it’s not looking good. Hence, this post.”
Business Insider calls the post “startling” for two reasons. One, because Arrington is already gone. (AOL’s president, Ariana Huffington, made that clear Friday). And two, “because TechCrunch has a strong brand and team and should be able to do just fine without him.”
But Siegler doesn’t think so. In his post, he writes that while TechCrunch could probably survive without Arrington, “it will not be the same. ... Quite often, you never even see what he brings. But it permeates the entire site.”
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong had previously promised investors that Arrington would stay around at TechCrunch for three years after AOL acquired it.
But that all changed after Arrington announced he had raised $20 million from companies to start his own fund, the “Crunch Fund,” which critics say presented an enormous conflict of interest for the founder.
Siegler points out the irony of AOL caving to critics, because the fund was rolled out with “full AOL support ... so much support, mind you, that they’re the largest backers of the fund.”
Nevertheless, AOL says the fund is a dealbreaker. And Siegler writes that “it will break TechCrunch.”
Reactions to Siegler’s post came in on Twitter, with some criticizing the AOL move, and others criticizing Siegler:
Read Siegler’s full post here.