TechCrunch vs. paidContent or Web 2.0 vs. New Media

New York City was the recent destination of the founders of two high-flying, high-powered blogging networks; Michael Arrington, of TechCrunch fame, and Rafat Ali, of paidContent renown.Arrington hosted his first NYC “meet-up” in November, while Ali was already on to his second NYC “mixer” earlier this week, and I partaked in the hospitality of both!

New York City was the recent destination of the founders of two high-flying, high-powered blogging networks; Michael Arrington, of TechCrunch fame, and Rafat Ali, of paidContent renown.

Arrington hosted his first NYC “meet-up” in November, while Ali was already on to his second NYC “mixer” earlier this week, and I partaked in the hospitality of both!

I eagerly anticipated the two events. Not only do I always welcome a good party, I looked forward to meeting Michael and chatting again with Rafat.

Moreover, as Ali’s June NYC debut was an enjoyable and productive mix of content--Q & A with Arthur Sulzberger, New York Times—and networking, along with solid partying, I hoped for a second go around (see “paidContent's 'blowout' NYC mixer: Internet bubble redux, or new rational entrepreneurship?”).

From the TechCrunch perspective, I was intrigued by what Arrington had in store. 

While both Arrington and Ali hosted gracious parties—open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres—the tenure of the events vividly reflected the vastly different editorial, and business, approaches of TechCrunch and paidContent.

Arrington recently mused at Crunchnotes about the page view focused TechCrunch "editorial policy": 

We decide what to cover based on personal interest and what we think will get page views. Just because your company has a nice design, or raised a boatoad of cash, doesn’t mean you’ll be written about. If we wrote about every company, no one would come to the site. We make choices, and we are judged by our readers…

Plus, controversy is interesting. 

Ali recently underscored the “trade pub” editorial roots of paidContent: 

I come out of trade media, and will always consider myself as being a trade journalist....scale for us doesn’t really mean traffic, or for that matter, scaled revenues...it means influence. The people who cut the checks for everyone else in this industry, including any and all of the consultants writing about this industry, read us. Anyone who is coming to our NYC mixer in two days will see it first hand….

I did see first hand at paidContent’s second NYC mixer, as I underscore in "paidContent NYC bash:No bubble, good new media business!" and "Crovitz on WSJ: 80-20 editorial rule in 2007”.

The heavy corporate hitter sponsorship of the paidContent event—IBM Media & Entertainment, NBC Universal Digtial Media—the premier featured media speaker—Gordon Crovitz of Dowjones--and the hundreds of influential new media decision makers in the media capital of the world made for a powerful new media punch.

TechCrunch, of course, packs a powerful Web 2.0 punch, but it is based off of a different recipe. The TechCrunch party was not a high-powered, inter-personal business networking bonanza; The TechCrunch NYC meetup focused on meeting up with VC backed and self-funded Web 2.0 start-ups. TechCrunch’s Big Apple debut was a live version, with cocktails, of the TechCrunch daily parade of “cool,” but very similar apps. 

Arrington vs. Ali? One thing is certain, they both throw good parties!


Photo by Donna Bogatin