Earlier this week, AOL snapped up TechCrunch, a technology blog network started by former attorney Michael Arrington, for an undisclosed amount of money. The final price is said to be somewhere between $25 million to $60 million. The acquisition has sparked a lot of conversation, especially among his peers.
To me, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the past decade and the evolution of blog-based media. Gawker Media and Weblogs Inc., have been the torchbearers of this new fast-paced, slightly quirky, highly passionate form of media.
Michael and I, along with my dear friend Rafat Ali, were early converts to this new kind of media. Like Arrington, I learned much about blogging from Dave Winer and Doc Searls. I married blogging to my analytical and old-school reporting skills, and it turned into GigaOM, the company. Rafat took his love of media and content and started PaidContent, which was acquired by The Guardian. Michael took his doggedness and heart-on-sleeve passion for all things startup-related and turned it into TechCrunch.
Michael is a somewhat complicated man, one who often elicits a very binary emotional response. He can be both a ruthless competitor and an extremely loyal friend, and I’ve been on both sides of that equation. We are competitors, but not enemies. From my vantage point, he worked extremely hard, sometimes too hard, to make TechCrunch something a big, New York company would pay millions of dollars to own.
As I looked back over the past five years, there were some seminal moments that helped shape Michael’s — and thus TechCrunch’s — destiny. With the help of the folks from Column Five Media, we created this infographic, which is the story of TechCrunch.
Earlier this week, when he announced the acquisition, it dawned on me what a pivotal moment in the history of blog-based media entities it was. Five years ago, we were the upstarts, the outsiders and the crazies. Today, we are the media. Go figure!
Related research from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):