TechCrunch's departed founder Michael Arrington has finally agreed to play nice with his creation's new owners. Arrington and AOL have spent enough time apart, gone through the proper counseling, and are ready to see each other again. Arrington is rejoining TechCrunch as a columnist.
Arrington noisily left TechCrunch shortly after AOL bought it over, among other things, a debate about ethics. Arrington, the loud, brash co-founder of TechCrunch, wanted to start his own venture capital firm, CrunchFund. This raised all the red flags because Arrington would be covering some of the companies at TechCrunch that he invested in with CrunchFund. After he left, a lot of the old TechCrunch gang followed. But Mike popped in from time to time. He was never too far from his old home.
The big takeaway from the prodigal father's return post is how he now has to disclose if he writes about a company he invests in:
Third, you’ll be seeing a lot of disclosures from me. I’ve added my basic policy of Transparency, Truth and Bias to my Crunchbase profile, which I understand will soon be auto linked from each post I write.
Fourth, when I want to write about a startup that we’ve invested in, I’ll do it on Uncrunched. That doesn’t mean I’ll never mention a startup that I own stock in here on TechCrunch, but it’ll only be as part of a larger story and everything will be disclosed clearly in the post.
Arrington has to be upfront about everything, but if he wants, he can go back to his personal blog. So, basically, Mike Arrington isn't going to change. He's going to write about whatever he chooses, AOL be damned. But, if you're going to get so uppity about it, Arrington will take his "unethical writing," (i.e., every time he wants to pump up a company he's got a stake in) somewhere else.
And, look, Arrington hasn't changed. He's still the same windbag he always was. "AOL already put the kabash [sic] on one post I was going to write, something that never happened in the old days," Arrington writes on TechCrunch. "So that was new. Being told 'no,' that is." Arrington put the unapproved post on his personal blog instead, just like he said he would.
The question remains: why bring Arrington back now? AOL was rumored to be selling TechCrunch not too long ago, as Poynter helpfully reminds us. Arrington denied interest at the time, but it was still so soon after the breakup. The wound was fresh. Daddy's back now, and we wouldn't be surprised if he buys himself a familiar toy as an early Christmas present.