Jason Calacanis Quits AOL

Jason CalaconisJason Calaconis Hosted on Zooomr

Techcrunch — Jason Calacanis Says Adios to AOL TechCrunch and now the New York Times and Jason Calacanis himself are reporting that he has quit AOL. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of details with Calacanis officially telling TechCrunch, “no comment,” but adding on his own blog that he’ll likely talk more about it tomorrow on the final episode of the Gillmor Gang podcast.

Calcanis, a brash blog king who sold his blogging empire, Weblogs Inc., late last year for a reported $25 million, most recently had launched a controversial digg clone at Netscape.com offering to pay digg’s top users, redubbed “Netscape Navigators” to social network on the site. Calacanis called digg a commune and received subsequent criticism for trying to buy out social networking.

When Calacanis originally sold his blog network last year it spurred many posts from bloggers wondering if they weren’t sitting on a motherlode with their own blogs. One blogger, Tristan Louis, did some analysis to try to calculate what individual blogs might be worth in the wake of the Calacanis’ AOL deal. Business Opportunities Weblog took it even one step further and built a “How Much is My Blog Worth” calculator inspired by Louis’ research. (I just checked the latest on thomashawk.com and it looks like were worth about $178,959 these days, whoooo hoooo! I’m rich!!!)

Yesterday it was widely reported that AOL’s CEO Jonathan Miller had been fired from AOL. Calacanis wrote on his blog that he had considered Miller a mentor and said that yesterday was a sad day for him. He offered up a long tribute post to Miller which you can read here.

I met Jason about a month ago up in Seattle where he was giving the keynote speech at a business blogging conference. My impression of him was that as much of a motivated by money capitalist as he is, that at the same time he’s made enough of it (money) that he can pretty much do what he wants at this point. I think the Netscape thing wasn’t doing as well as hoped in the wake of the offer to buy out top social networkers and that combined with the firing of someone that he cared about personally probably made it a fairly easy decision for him.

AOL offered Calacanis a seat at a bigger corporate table than our own little blogosphere that Jason had adeptly proved he could dominate — but without his pal there and without a big win in the end with his Netscape strategy it may have been the better thing to call it a day.

I’m sure that Calacanis will re-emerge in yet another incarnation of himself. He lives for the attention and drama and at this point he’s got himself the business reputation to go along with it. While he’s brash, outspoken and proud to be driven by money and success, more recently Calacanis has also indicated a desire to do more charitable work as well announcing a new Podcast that he will be doing where all of the money will go to charity.