Michael Arrington is a has-been, and he knows it. When the smoke clears after the crash and burn of the money machine behind today's tech startups, there's one word no one will ever write into a business plan again: Web 2.0. For Arrington, whose TechCrunch blog was born with the mission of tracking what he called "Web 2.0" startups, that's a problem.He's made Web 2.0 as much as Web 2.0 made him. Now, Arrington needs to cut his name loose before he becomes just another has-been journalist with a trade magazine. There's only one way to do that: Quit TechCrunch. Back away slowly. Keep coming into work now and then — preferably to a real office, rather than commuting from his bedroom to his living room, as he still does today. Post some of the biggest scoops. Talk up the next conference, party, or other cobranded event with Calacanis and Om. I don't do predictions. I'm always wrong. But Mike, this is true: I used to get tips all the time that "Michael Arrington is doing some vaguely dishonest thing. I know, because I know someone. Run with it, Valleywag! Keep digging! Follow the money!" Today, Friday October 24, 2008, with everyone freaking out over money, with tech employees looking for the truth behind the phony all-Is-well messages coming from their leaders, Valleywag gets more tips than ever. I've noticed one undeniable trend: The number of rumors about TechCrunch I get has peaked. It's over. Michael Arrington may end up on Charlie Rose again. Michael Arrington may get called "kingmaker" again. Michael Arrington, kingmaker! But TechCrunch? Mike, that's so Web 2.0. (Photo by Joi Ito)