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TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington was pissed. Why didn't Dave Sifry tell Mike that his company, Technorati, was about to relaunch its site with a new layout? Mike deserved an exclusive preview!

Dave was unfazed. When he needs publicity, he doesn't call Mike — he calls the New York Times.

With hundreds of thousands of daily readers, TechCrunch has become such a gatekeeper to startup publicity that every new company measures its success by how — if at all — the popular tech blog reviews them. They treat Mike as the king of Web 2.0 and hound their public relations reps to "get me on TechCrunch." They're right to do so — a TechCrunch review is like a societal debut to the crowd of venture capitalists and bottom-feeder online press.

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But a startup is only a startup for so long. At five years old, Technorati is an elder statesman in dot-com terms. So are blog platform provider Six Apart and photo sharing site Flickr. They came onto the scene before Mike, so they never had to bow and scrape.

So what happens when the three-man startups begging for a TechCrunch review become the successful companies shunning the blog in favor of mainstream media? Will Mike and his team of bloggers cope with being kings only of the littlest startups?

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Photo: Blogger Om Malik kisses Mike Arrington's hand [Scott Beale on Flickr]