HuffPo Profits Off Free Content

- - Blog News

Arianna Huffington invested $2 million in her Huffington Post. Now, with the site sold to AOL, she’s collecting somewhere between $40 million and $50 million… all based on the work that thousands of bloggers have contributed entirely for free to the site.

via MaryAnn Johanson’s

There Are 11 Comments On This Article.

  1. konrahd herb

    true, but it’s not really news. the writers knew they were working for free, right? huffington may not be the most generous businessperson out there, but you can’t fault her for running a site when people willingly gave her FREE content…right?

  2. So what? Facebook, Twitter and many others derive their value from people contributing content and interactions for free. Contributors to HuffPo gave content to the site and got press and pub from it. They knew that was the trade. You give something, you give something.

    • You give something, you *get* something.

      (Although, since we typically don’t make this valuation when we do stuff on the web, sometimes it does feel like we give and give :)

    • @Mason,

      It’s a great article. This quote really brings it home for me:

      “and you find that the average blog post — which we estimate generated a couple thousand page views — was worth about $13 in advertising revenue”

  3. How is what she has done any different than any other blogger that scans the internet for interesting stories to aggregate or share on their own web site for there demographic specific audience in an effort to generate a large following.
    She just did a better job of marketing.

  4. The notion of “using” free content on the internet is definitely evolving. As someone said above: at least the contributors knew they were contributing. Not always, as Colbert pointed out there is a lot of his work linked there.

    Last year, an image for an artist site I built was used without permission by a left blogger rag, not unlike HuffPo but not as famous. We contacted the publisher and the guy called me crazy for even suggesting he was stealing. Further he was in another state and his whereabouts were difficult to glean so going after him was pretty much out of the question. My point is: there is an ethic of free on the web.

    Finally, although it is very tantalizing since I am a lefty, I do not contribute to calls for “citizen journalism.” Industry has always found ways to use free labor whether its interns or wild promises for the future. Huffington’s sale will forever stand out in my mind and make those cheery calls for free content even more difficult to swallow. Her cards are on the table but the game most certainly will be different now.