What’s wrong with Techcrunch?
Don’t get me wrong, I love techcrunch. The blog is synonomous for me with web 2.0. But of late I’ve been finding it especially uninteresting. The major problems seem to me to be:
Unpredicability of coverage
There doesn’t seem any rhyme or reason why one thing gets converage versus another. Some services and companies get skipped over completely, while someone like Wink (which looks terrible to me) gets coverage of a re-launch. Sometimes you hear about some kid launching something out of his dorm room, and sometimes it’s Microsoft launching a feature on live.com.
The “web 2.0” world has quickly grown to be quite a sprawling landscape. But I don’t find techcrunch (or really any of the other major bloggers) really helping me make sense of it. Virtually every post still fits Arrington’s original “Gee whiz! Guess what I heard about today!” format. That was maybe ok in the early days, but now I just get that sort of “24 hour news cycle” empty feeling most days. “Oh yeah, here comes another blah blah blah startup…” I need more context. More “this is great – that is terrible” analysis.
No sense of proportion
One of the defining characteristics of web 2.0 is how easy it is to launch a service. Literally anybody working at home can get do it. But this makes it all the more important to focus on how people are creating and marketing their services, instead of simply describing each service as a feature set. Guess what? By the time I read your post the feature set has changed. So you better tell me more about the team, their process, their backers and so on, so I can get an idea of who’s serious and who’s keeping their day job.
Web 2.0 Coverage – New Rules
So I propose the following new rules for getting to better coverage of web 2.0:
Don’t cover launches
You know what? Service launch is meaningless. In the days of old when people would take tens of man years to build and launch a service, then writing about the launch made sense. But these days the rule is “launch early and often”. The result is that it almost never makes sense to look at something at launch. I suggest there are lots of better triggers that warrant coverage. How about “service X reached 10,000 users today”. That would actually be a meaningful threshold, and would immediately cut down on the noise from nascent services.
Focus on the process
Rather than enumerating a feature list for me, tell me lots about the team and fouding. Why did they start this business? What problem do they think that only they are solving? Who’s backing the company? Who do they see as the important competition? If someone doesn’t have good stuff to talk about along these lines, then I probably don’t need to read about them.
Put the market in context
Rather than covering every 2 bit service launch, and sometimes pre-launch (man, I hate that more than anything), do sector round-ups instead. How about one post a week – “Latest moves in the video space” – then list new entrants and moves by established players. This would actually help me to understand the overall landscape.
Update: Seems like they’re listening over at TC. Recently I’ve been reading more posts like this one summarizing newly launched chat services. This kind of article offers real added-value: tracking new developments in the space while listing the main competitors. All of this in a normal sized post. Is nice!