If you want read a design critique of the new TechCrunch redesign I suggest reading Mike’s thorough analysis and thoughts. I would like to say though that after everyone is done analyzing and critiquing with all the negative feedback it won’t mean jackshit to TC’s bottomline. People will still read the site and continue to come back for his content (well most people), it’s just a shame that the readers got put in the backseat, while the advertisers got frontseat privileges. Here it is:
I know about monetizing sites and I know there is a fine line between keeping readers happy and making your bank. Actually, scratch that, keeping users happy usually just involves keeping up with your content. Arrington could put 5 more ads on the site and I doubt he would notice a dropoff in traffic. The redesign would have to be a black background with black text before people finally gave up. You wonder why gas prices continue to go up? Probably becasue we keep on buying it no matter what.
But just because he could put more ad places up there does that mean he should? He is pulling $7,500 per month just for each of the square ads in the top right with a 2 month minimum buy-in and I am going to venture a wild guess that the site doesn’t cost more than $22,500 per month to run. Once the dollars start coming in it can be hard to remove your foot from the greed gas pedal, but in this case I think it should be done as a sign of commitment to his readers. Otherwise, in turn all they got was the same content with a worse design (sorry Rachel) and more ads cluttering the page. Seems like a raw deal to me.
It’s obvious that this redesign was meant for one audience: the advertisers. In the spirit of Web 2.0 (which the site thrives on for its success) more means more. FM Publishing handles his “traditional” ads so I am suggesting he remove them, which might mean that his friendship with John Battelle might end and if he is an investor with FM (you never know with Arrington) that might make his investment worth less. Hmmmmm, maybe instead of an advertiser paying $7,500/mo Arrington gets a stake in the company, now that would be pretty cool wouldn’t it? Eh?
Okay I know it’s not fair to speculate like that, but if you read his writeup of the redesign none of it makes any sense. Hell, go back and read Tyme’s entry again to see the conflict of interest he has. Here is a quote:
And if you’re wondering about the green theme, there’s a reason for it (hint – it keeps me focused on my goals).
Nah, he didn’t just say that did he? He must be talking about eating 5 portions of broccoli a day or something because he certainly isn’t saying money is his only goal. That’s not the spirit of the web anymore (*cough*). That’s not how Mike Arrington works. When we launched the current 9rules design I was a bit worried about how the audience would receive the new ad placement. I knew advertisers would love it, but how would our readers handle it. You know what? I have received zero complaints about the ads, which doesn’t mean everyone loves them, but at least it shows they could live with them if done tastefully.
Next redesign will be green with 16 ads because we know you will keep on coming back no matter what right? Right?
But you know what? He will get more traffic this weekend due to how many people are going to write about it. He will get more RSS readers now because so many people will be turned off by the design that he will probably begin to monetize his RSS feeds as well if he hasn’t done so already. And what’s amazing is that he is able to do this with more ads on his site than either Yahoo or CNet. Maybe they just don’t get the amount of traffic he gets…