Arrington to AOL: Sell TechCrunch Back

Chris CrumBusiness

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The TechCrunch drama continues, interestingly enough with a TechCrunch post from founder Michael Arrington himself.

More here and here for some background.

A year ago when it was revealed that AOL would be acquiring TechCrunch, a big deal was made about how TechCrunch would continue to operate as it always had, free from editorial oversight by AOL. That would mean TechCrunch could say whatever nasty things it wanted to about AOL and get away with it.

Arrington writes in a fresh post, "As of late last week TechCrunch no longer has editorial independence. Some argue that the circumstances demanded it. I disagree. Editorial independence was never supposed to be an easy thing for Aol to give us. But it was never meaningful if it shatters the first time it is put to the test."

Editorial Independence via @techcrunch 1 hour ago via Tweet Button · powered by @socialditto

It does still appear to be editorially independent enough to let air all of this internal turmoil for the masses, including this very post by Arrington, so I guess that's something.

@manan me too. we operate exactly the same except for the glaring conflict of interest VC fund 1 hour ago via Tweetie for Mac · powered by @socialditto

According to Kara Swisher at All Things D, who has been very vocal about her disdain for the whole mess, says that Arrington has reached out to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong to try and buy TechCrunch back. She says her sources say that he would have to pull together the funding to do so, and that things are currently at a "stalemate".

In Arrington's post, he proposes two options to AOL:

1. Reaffirmation of the editorial independence promised at the time of acquisition. Given the current circumstances, that means autonomy from Huffington Post, unfettered editorial independence and a blanket right to editorial self determination. To put it simply, TechCrunch would stay with Aol but would be independent of the Huffington Post.


2. Sell TechCrunch back to the original shareholders.

"If Aol cannot accept either of these options, and no other creative solution can be found, I cannot be a part of TechCrunch going forward," signaling that this could be his last TechCrunch post.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.