A little over a year ago, AOL agreed to purchase The Huffington Post, which made Arianna Huffington the Editor-in-Chief of AOL media. This decision was controversial all over the Internet, but most famously through the TechCrunch space, who lost their founder, Mike Arrington, followed by an exodus of employees following behind him. Obviously the decision to make Huffington Czar of AOL has turned out well for the company, so long as their goal was to make all of their brands as irrelevant as AOL itself.
AOL's management seems to be a little less ostrich-like this week, pulling their head out of the sand long enough to scale Arianna's role in the company back. In fact, management has brought in former Time Inc. executive Ned Desmond to oversee everything that Arianna has ruined, including Engadget, Joystiq, TechCrunch and The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW). While Arianna has tried to make it sound like it was her decision, it is clear to anyone with a brain that it was not; this might be why she thinks it is her decision. She has been banished back to the obscurity of HuffPo, where she can continue to oversee insanity and feel right at home.
AOL's management seems excited about this transition. Hit the break to hear what they have to say about it and what it could mean for some of the biggest tech blogs on the web.
Jay Kirsch, SVP and GM, AOL Marketplace said about Ned's entry into the team,
Ned brings a tremendous amount of relevant experience and insights to AOL from his roles as journalist, entrepreneur and manager and we couldn't be more thrilled to welcome him to the team. Engadget and TechCrunch each have huge opportunities to build upon the success they have already had to grow the business in creative ways.
Desmond himself also had some things to say about his new job,
As a long-time reader of TechCrunch and Engadget, I am excited about the opportunity to work with these talented teams as they cover technology start-up and gadget news and we work together to expand the business on all fronts.
As a former Engadget and TechCrunch reader myself, removing Arianna from her position is only the first step in regaining their former readership. To get back the loyal TechCrunch readers, he needs to woo back Mike Arrington and allow him to run the organization the way it was designed to be run. Until that happens, TC will remain on my block list, as well as many others. As for Engadget, the content really needs to return to its "I don't care what you think" personality and stop being all about whoever AOL is trying to get an advertising deal with this week. When that happens I might re-add it to my RSS feed.
Did you stop reading AOL's properties when Arianna Huffington took over and will you return now that she is gone? Let us know below.