TechCrunch has redesigned their index pages in an obvious bid to deliver more pageviews to advertisers. Just 6 months ago, it would have been inconceivable that the flagship of Michael Arrington‘s Crunch empire would need such a shot in the arm, but the traffic measurement services don’t lie:
Alexa Pageview Graph
Compete's Pageviews per visitor also shows the decline
Techcrunch blocks public info on Quantcast, but here's a small sparkline showing the last 4 months
The site actually looks pretty good with the new redesign, but that’s not the point of this post. What’s to blame for the sagging performance? Increased competition from traditional players such as Cnet, AOL, and the NYTimes? Increased migration from the web to RSS readers? Lack of bubbly exits and exciting news coming from the startups covered by TC? Probably a combination of all three. Luckily, it seems that the conference business is booming, as TechCrunch50 threatens to sell out of $3,000 tickets.
As we told you the day it launched, Edgio never had a chance. In any case, the best product was and always will be TechCrunch itself. RIP Edgio, we hardly knew ye (thank god).
Again, Alexa stats are pointless in real terms, but they are good when doing comparisons. Here’s one comparing Tagworld to Bebo. The former is an insider’s myspace wannabe that has generated countless mashable and techcrunch posts, the latter is an outsider’s myspace wannabe that’s gotten little “web 2.0” press but continues to add users, reach, and pageviews. Meanwhile Sagworld, despite billboards, TechCrunch posts up the wazoo, etc. has gotten nowhere and is shedding pageviews and probably users.
TechCrunch has finally grown a pair and thrown a major web 2.0 property under the bus. In the process he has set up a delicious meta-bash of his own currently foundering project.
In today's post, entitled "Squidoo: Seth Godin's Purple Albatross", Mr. Arrington states the obvious that we mentioned weeks ago– Squidoo's traffic is flat, its concept is flawed, and its future is dim. Perhaps TechCrunch has been feeling the heat of being too positive on Web 2.0 (which as a general concept has petered out in a major way as 2006 marches on), and went for the easiest high-profile target.
But in doing so, he sets himself up for a righteous slap back which Godin probably does not have the balls to deliver except in a roundabout, professional marketer way. The simple fact of the matter is that Edgeio has similar problems– problematic concept, parabolic traffic, sub-par execution etc. The biggest difference between Edgeio and Squidoo is that Squidoo executes its shaky concept in a very mediocre way, while Edgeio executes its far better concept poorly.
While TechCrunch postulates that Godin will lose his hard-earned credibility, this goes double for TechCrunch. How can you critique other people's ideas when your own is gasping for air? How can you claim mental ownership of Web 2.0 ideas when on the execution side, you can clearly be shown to not have a handle on things? As a former (current?) VC, Arrington knows you're only as good as your last deal… perhaps TechCrunch (and its newfound ability to bash as well as praise) is the true business, but co-ownership of Edgeio is an albatross of a different color.
Alexa shows no traffic growth for TagWorld, a flipmeat site built to be sold to a major media player but failing, despite millions in advertising dollars, to grow its audience.
TagWorld is notable for this column, as it has continually been hyped as the Web 2.0 version of MySpace.com. Here’s what prophet TechCrunch Arrington said about the service:
“Can TagWorld take on MySpace and become the King of Social Networks 3.0?
Yeah, I think they will. For a number of reasons.
TagWorld can take this market.”
This despite all signs that TagWorld had nothing to offer other then some lame “web 2.0 features”. This is a case where Arrington’s judgement may have been colored by connections to various VCs or to the founders of the company. What else is to explain breathless coverage of TagWorld’s every last feature enhancement or (inflated) membership stats? Of course, there’s no proof of any of that, it may just be another case of normal TechCrunch Web 2.0 hype.
Mashable* and Techcrunch both put up April Fools posts today. The funny part was, they tried really hard to make fake sounding companies, but it still sounded like 90% of the crappy "Web 2.0" stuff they cover normally. Wouldn't it be great if Edgeio turned out to be a huge April Fool's joke too?