Tech Blogs Turn From Hobbies to Businesses

He says that Heather Harde, a former Fox Interactive Media executive hired to expand TechCrunch, wants him to reduce potential conflicts. She has ambitious plans to turn TechCrunch into a mini-media empire. (TechCrunch has already launched several companion sites, including job site CrunchBoard.)

TechCrunch is also holding a conference for start-ups in the fall in partnership with another blogger, Jason Calacanis. Malik is one of the scheduled panelists.

For now, Arrington's conflicts of interest don't seem to be hurting his company.

"We're making $200,000 a month in revenue. We're super-profitable. We don't need (venture capital) money," he says. Yet, offers are on the table, which they're evaluating, he says.

Chronicling Web 2.0

Malik, often known as Silicon Valley's nice guy, grew up in New Delhi. He taught himself English by reading The Times of London, moved to the USA, and became a journalist for tech publications, Red Herring and Business 2.0. GigaOm was a side project.

But its readership and reputation grew, and venture capitalists began offering money. Malik resisted, because he liked being a magazine writer. But he finally accepted less than $500,000 from True Ventures.

He went full time, hired five full-time and six part-time employees, and launched companion sites, such as Web Worker Daily, a site for technologists who work from home, and guest editorial site Found+Read.

Malik is less controversial than Arrington because he has stricter rules. He does not invest in companies he covers, and is less likely to pass along rumors.

The business is not profitable, but Malik hopes it will be by late summer.

TechCrunch and GigaOm have plenty of competition, including Matt Marshall's well-regarded VentureBeat blog, and Valleywag, a site owned by blog giant Gawker Media.

Then there's the lingering fear that Web 2.0 could be as big a bust as Web 1.0.

Arrington wrote a much-discussed post in which he complained that Web 2.0 wasn't "fun" anymore. Most start-up ideas are either good or stupid, Malik says. "There is nothing in between."

Some days it's tempting to cash out. "It would be really interesting to sell this thing for $20 million and go live in Hawaii the rest of my life," says Arrington.

But that seems unlikely. Arrington and Malik each confess to being fanatically attached to their jobs. "I wouldn't trade it for anything else," Malik says.

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