Arrington Spins-off TechCrunchIT to Cover Mufflers

By Kyle Austin

We talk with many current and potential clients about the battle to get coverage on TechCrunch. With 2.8 million unique visitors and 7.5 million page views a month, you can’t ignore it. It has become the next-gen “New York Times” for the marketing and communications executives that we work with. Not because TechCrunch is liberal (up for debate) and not even because TechCrunch is the first thing they read each morning (in many cases it is). I compare it to the New York Times because the client conversations that used to revolve around “How do we get into the Times or even the Wall Street Journal?” Now revolve around “How do I get on TechCrunch?”

Working out of the East coast with a majority of east coast technology start-ups, it had been a difficult conversation. Let’s make it simple – Michael Arrington and TechCrunch have always had a Silicon Valley bias.

It got slightly easier with addition of Erick Schonfeld (someone that I had built a good relationship with at Business 2.0), who works out of New York, and brought a better national balance to the technology coverage on TechCrunch.

The second hurdle that a lot of our clients had to overcome was TechCrunch’s somewhat singular focus on consumer technology along with news coming out of Mountain View, Redmond and Cupertino. That hurdle got easier to clear on Monday with the launch of TechCrunchIT. The spin-off created by Michael Arrington will be run by Steve Gillmor and Nik Cubrilovic. Arrington described the editorial mission of the new site by making his enterprise technology / muffler analogy:

“If it’s not clear where the line is between TechCrunch and TechCrunchIT, perhaps my muffler analogy will help. A frequent debate on the Gillmor Gang is over the importance, or at least the interestingness, of end user/consumer products (think YouTube) v. the technologies that allow those products to exist (in YouTube’s case, Adobe Flash). I personally think the YouTube’s of the world are more interesting, and I refer to those products as “Ferarris.” All the technology that goes into making those Ferarris I refer to as “mufflers” (the enterprise guys hate that, which is why I keep doing it). Basically, TechCrunchIT is a blog about the mufflers. And Steve and Nik are going to do their best to keep you entertained while reporting every important development in the muffler market.”

No word on if Meineke has signed on as a third sponsor for TechCrunchIT. It is interesting that Arrington has finally decided to break up enterprise and consumer technology right as publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek are launching their own initiatives to cover enterprise technology closer.

I have an issue with the high-technology platforms (which actually makes consumer facing sites monetizable) being refered to as “Mufflers” but I certainly don’t resent that it’s finally getting additional / targeted focus from publications like the old New York Times and the new one (TechCrunch) – Albeit TechCrunchIT.

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