AOL, the Internet arm of the huge Time Warner corporation have just purchased TechCrunch – one of the biggest tech-focused blogs in the world. While this move is obviously designed to add more news content and advertising revenue to the AOL technology network, TechCrunch’s blogs will supposedly retain their editorial independence.
AOL have paid $25 million to get their hands on TechCrunch, who are hoping this new acquisition will allow them to reach out to a very mobile and desirable demographic of the online community. TechCrunch is the third most popular technology blog, and has a strong reputation among users and advertisers alike.
As AOL struggles to remain relevant in the 21st century, they are no doubt hoping that this new purchase will give them some street cred and allow them to compete in the blogging arena. David Joyce, media analyst for New York firm Miller Tabak & Co has said “They want to keep accumulating sites where there are a lot of users,” adding “You are going to get more page views out of a TechCrunch user than you would out of an average user of the Internet.”
The demographic makeup and user habits of the TechCrunch crowd were probably even more of a factor for AOL than the shear popularity of the site, which is third behind Engadget – another AOL blog, and Gizmodo, which is owned by Gawker Media. With ownership of two out of three, it seems AOL is putting a lot of energy into controlling the tech end of the blogosphere.
From the TechCrunch perspective, this purchase is likely to alleviate the challenges that blogs face once they get to a certain size. TechCruch owner Michael Arrington has said “It was time for us either to start investing a lot more money in things like technology and marketing – which probably meant raising a venture round – or to simply sell and partner with somebody who could do that,” adding “AOL has a very robust, large blog network that shows they have the software side nailed. So it solves a real problem for us from the technology side.”