Its founder Mike Arrington was being fired by AOL and Arianna Huffington for conflict of interest. Mike Arrington, MG Siegler and Paul Carr, each wrote scathing posts on TechCrunch about how the site wouldn’t survive without the influence and independent voice of its founder.
It seemed that everyone was talking about the drama, the unprofessionalism and the sheer entertainment of the spectacle that the staff at TechCrunch was providing. (read any of those links for backstory)
From a PR angle alone this was interesting story, and it seemed the perfect site to analyze with this new tool.
Impact of TechCrunch Insurrection Posts
September 11, 2011
I plugged in the three article URLs for the three stories on September 6-8, 2011, into Searchmetrics to get a feel for what kind of links they garnered and there was a notable spike of incoming links to the Arrington post. Unfortunately, the Searchmetric tool does not look at what they call “directories,” or social spread on networks like Twitter and Facebook in its tool (it only looks at the root URL).
I hope they consider adding this capability, because these three articles gathered plenty of buzz on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks during that week. According to TechCrunch’s own metrics, the article by MG Siegler did better than Arrington’s in social networks.
Buzz Generated in Social Channels by Debacle
|Arrington, 9/6||Carr, 9/8||Siegler, 9/6|
Data Source: TechCrunch widgets
Finally I looked at posts with most social visibility and none of the three, “I Quit” articles by some of its most influential writers and founder of TechCrunch broke into the Top 25 out of 19,264 posts. In fact, I looked through the first 2,500 results in order of their search visibly and didn’t see any of these articles. Searchmetrics does allow an Excel download for its paying members and I didn’t have access to that.
Top Five Most Socially Visible Posts on TechCrunch
|4/10/11||Peter Thiel: We're in a Bubble and It's Not the Internet. It's Higher Education||131,327|
|9/22/11||How To Enable Facebook Timeline Right This Second||125,197|
|9/2/11||To Celebrate The #Jan25 Revolution, Egyptian Names His Firstborn “Facebook”||118,204|
|3/27/11||Why Startups Need to Blog (and what to talk about …)||109,818|
|3/17/11||Whom Should You Hire at a Startup? (Attitude over Aptitude)||107,418|
Once again, what seemed like a huge kerfuffle in the tech, social media and marketing/PR communities, turned out to be just a whisper in the hurricane of the overall traffic and buzz created by TechCrunch.
It may be one of the best examples of how a blog can grow well beyond its social media personality. In this case, it seems that TechCrunch has certainly done that. It also is a sign (at least from my way of thinking) that people really don’t respond to brands (in this case TechCrunch) airing their dirty laundry. It is a spectacle to be sure, people crane their necks to see the carnage, shake their heads and move on.
Will TechCrunch Become Less Relevant Without Arrington?
As for the claims by Paul Carr that TechCrunch will loose its famous swagger, and thus its relevance, without its bad-boy founder, that remains to be seen. According to the Searchmetrics tool, its social buzz continues to grow.
Alexa shows TechCrunch Reach is up 7.2% month to month as of today (October 12, 2011). Compete shows that the TechCrunch traffic is down by 34.38% this month, and 23.14% this year, since a high in August. Also, the Searchmetrics tool shows that SEO Visibility is down for TechCrunch as well, though this slide follows a rather meteoric rise earlier this year, and even at reduced levels it is higher than it has been historically.
Source: Searchmetrics SEO Tool, cut out portion is just a long period of similar results around 200K
So, the verdict is out still on the future of TechCrunch, but it seems that there are still plenty of people looking at the publication as an industry leader. And it also looks like there are plenty of people willing and eager to interact with Michael Arrington and his swagger on his new blog, launched on September 29, 2011, with a simple message, Here I Am? He already ranks 4,529th in the US for traffic via Alexa. And Searchmetrics puts the social visibility of the sit at 3,454. As a comparison, Robert Scoble’s well-established blog ranks at 493,726 on the tool.
What do you think? Do you think TechCrunch is less relevant without Arrington and crew, have you even noticed a difference over the last month?
The comments are yours.