Aol’s purchase of TechCrunch, the world’s most authoritative tech blog, is mad proof of its brand strategy to be the web’s content leader. Tim Armstrong, Aol’s chief, gets strategy. Claim: Be the content leader. Proof: Ellen DeGeneres, TechCruch, local news with Patch. Using a TV metaphor, Mr. Armstrong is trying to create a lineup of talent not dissimilar to NBC’s “must see TV” on Thursday night in the 90s (or whenever that was). Buy and built the best visited sites on the web.
The Web is nothing if it is not content. TechCruch rocks its category not because Michael Arrington is a star, but because he is focused, a great journalist, and attracts stories like white on rice…before brown rice became popular. Aol and its similarly strategied competitor Yahoo realize the ad-supported model is viable, so it is looking to cherry pick the best talent on the web in every category and corral it. Hopefully, it will keep its hands off, as if has suggested, and let TechCrunch be TechCrunch.
Patch.com – Aol’s localization play – is a neat idea but I’m not sure it fits this model. A local reporter from Bumpus Mills, TN may not raise the editorial or content bar but we’ll see. Aol is off to the races – and finally it has a race track. Yahoo? Not so much. Peace!