Don’t look now, but TechCrunch – the blog founded by Michael Arrington, who in 2010 then sold it to the Tim Armstrong and Arriana Huffington-ran AOL, and the same Huffington who Michael recently called a “touchy psychopath” for her then-heavy-handed role at the tech blog, chasing off Arrington, and bloggers Sarah Lacy, Paul Carr, and MG Sigler, as well as CEO Heather Harde and eventually nuke-blasting Erick Shoenfeld right out of his job as editor – is showing a traffic rebound after months and months of performance so poor rumors were that AOL planned to sell it.
And TechCrunch can thank the Facebook IPO-related news for the gift.
According to Compete, TechCrunch April 2011 unique visitor traffic was at 1,217,362; one year later, and for April 2012, it was 1,659.127 – an increase of 36 percent. That’s vastly different than the rash of articles and blogs reporting as much as a 35 percent drop in TechCrunch one-year comparison traffic after February (or 50 percent if you believe Michael).
Here’s the chart from Compete:
As to what caused this jump (and is it an anomaly?) it must be reported that Compete doesn’t provide enough in-depth data to be able to tell with certainty, but given the Alexa reports that Facebook is the second most searched for term that’s related to TechCrunch, I’m going to venture a guess that the Facebook IPO news, and TechCrunch steady diet of related content on it, did the trick.
But with that, I don’t think the unique visitor traffic for May 2012 will see a total return to the less-than-stellar performance that launched so many blog posts forecasting TechCrunch’s passing, and for one reason: TechCrunch Disrupt New York. Combined with the hunger for Facebook post-IPO news, that will be enough to keep traffic around the 1.5 million visitor level until it levels off and falls a bit around August.
The only thing that will possibly combat against that is for TechCrunch to pump out a slew of Facebook-related content between now and TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 San Francisco in September. But the bottom line is traffic will fall from the April posting, just not to the death-spiral levels we saw just a few months ago this year.
What this demonstrates is TechCrunch, for all of the crap about its soap-opera between Michael and Arriana, has a wealth of archival content that serves as a kind of history of start-up tech, and Facebook’s a key player in that collection (remember Facebook won “Best Startup” at The Crunchies for three straight years, giving TechCrunch a lot to blog about). Building on it, refocusing on real, new startups, and regaining the “fuck you” edge it once had are the keys to any sustained traffic rebound for TechCrunch.