When AOL bought Techcrunch back in September, 2010, they announced it with a story titled, “We Got Techcrunch!”
The first thing that came to mind was, “Yes, but do you really know what you’re getting?”
Many anticipated that the antics of Michael Arrington and his independently-minded crew of writers and editors would be a flavor unfamiliar with the boring palates at AOL. Over the months since, this anticipation has turned into reality and in most cases it seemed more like a chest-pumping to demonstrate that Techcrunch was not going to bow to the whims of their new overlords.
That thought came to mind again when I saw the headline today on Techcrunch, “AOL Asks If We Can Tone It Down.” After reading the article by Alexia Tsotsis (pictured above with Digg co-founder Kevin Rose), all I can say is, “You go, girl!”
A representative from Moviefone (a sister site in the AOL family) arranged for Tsotsis to interview Duncan Jones and Jake Gyllenhaal at SXSW about the upcoming movie, The Source Code. As many know, these interviews are normally supposed to be fluff pieces to help promote and expose movies. Most in the industry cater to the fluff requests because they need to be invited to more interviews to do more fluff… and so goes the Hollywood publicity circle-jerk.
This is Techcrunch. While I disagree with some of they ways they conduct themselves and wield their power (and have never considered defending them in a blog post before), one thing I’m all for is that they say what they mean and mean what they say. Injecting them into the Hollywood fluff circle is like asking Michael Bay to direct a Downy Fabric Softener commercial. The results are predictable.
In this case, the results were comical and rather spot-on. Tsotsis took the Silicon Valley approach of breaking down what was really being done in this buzz campaign to market the movie to techies. There is so much win in that article that I can’t contain it in this post.
The Moviefone representative responded with very nicely and tactfully written email asking Tsotsis to consider toning it down. This message, relayed from the company representing the movie, was clearly and without hesitation going to be posted on Techcrunch. Moviefone responded but (no offense to their editor Patricia Chui) they came across as fitting in nicely with the AOL stuffy blogging attitude. It’s definitely the AOL Way as well as the Hollywood style at Moviefone.
It’s hard to say, but in this case, “We’re With Coco Techcrunch.”
Update: …and so the backlash begins: