AOL eyes international growth with Techcrunch purchase

AOL is buying the leading technology blog Techcrunch to expand the offerings of critical content to its audiences. The Wall Street Journal reports that “AOL has recently hired hundreds of writers to create more original news and local and entertainment content while it aggressively restructures its mix of assets during sharp declines in revenue and profits.” The purchase of Techcrunch, which has millions of readers, is a good way for AOL to gain more users and to gain favor with the advertisers that want to reach them.

The purchase of Techcrunch may also be an attempt by AOL to regain prominence in international markets where it once had a mighty presence. Techcrunch comes with a few solid international assets: Techcrunch France (French), Techcrunch Japan (Japanese) and the English language Techcrunch Europe.

AOL once had foreign portals in a few dozen European and Asian countries. Each portal had unique content targeted to the customers in those countries. AOL has shut down most of these portals, and now has portals for France, Japan, the UK and a Spanish language AOL Latino portal. By acquiring leading blogs with good international assets, AOL can reestablish their presence in some of the foreign countries they abandoned and gain back some of their international users.

Through the years AOL has translated some of its content, such as for its leading Engadget blog, in order to localize this content to international audiences. At one point, AOL was considering the deployment of Globalsight Translation Management System (TMS) to translate some of its blog content.

As AOL continues to create more original content and as it acquires leading content providers such as Techcrunch, we can expect AOL to accelerate its internationalization efforts by translating and localizing more content; by reestablishing some of the international portals it had shut down in recent years; and by acquiring more content providers that have a presence both in other countries and in other languages.