Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


AOL and Huffington Post enter into $315m merger
February 6, 2011 9:53 PM   Subscribe

AOL has agreed to acquire the Huffington Post for $315 million. The combined entity will be known as the Huffington Post Media Group and will have Arianna Huffington as president and editor-in-chief. We recently heard from AOL when they posted a rather disappointing quarterly result for the end of 2010, and again when their latest master business plan (read: SEO, SEO, and more SEO) was leaked by Business Insider.
posted by spitefulcrow (136 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I would have been surprised if it had sold for a tenth of that.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:57 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tim Armstrong: "I think this is going to be a situation where 1 plus 1 equals 11.”
posted by Hollow at 9:57 PM on February 6, 2011


At least they gave us a handy reference card of websites to avoid in the future.
posted by clorox at 9:59 PM on February 6, 2011


I said whoa. Did anyone else say whoa?
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:59 PM on February 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I bought AOL stock a few weeks ago, just to be contrary.

I do not know what this means, but the after-hours trading looks good!
posted by zvs at 10:01 PM on February 6, 2011


Paper money is paper. I have to keep telling myself that.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:03 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tim Armstrong: "I think this is going to be a situation where 1 plus 1 equals 11.”

Man, he's really sold out since Rancid.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 PM on February 6, 2011 [25 favorites]


Oh AOL! I remember you! Remember when I used to sit in your chat rooms, the endless spam of A/S/L? The massive warez e-mail bombs I would get full of pornography were beautiful. It's a real shame that you never prepared to grow up to broadband and you got kicked to the wayside.

What was that? You are making shit tons of crappy articles that are all optimized to show up in search engines, with no thought or skill being put in to your article. You expected that to succeed? Silly AOL, didn't you learn anything the first time. Maybe it's time to retire and reminisce about the good old days when AOL 3.0 and all of its variants (that you called 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0 even though you knew it wasn't really an upgrade and just some new graphics to make media hype.)

What did you say AOL? Now you are going to try to get back in the big leagues again on the back of Arianna Huffington. Won't you ever learn? Even Elmer Fudd finally called it a day. Okay buddy, it was nice talking to you, I'll see you next time I visit the internet's retirement home.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:08 PM on February 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I really can’t see this coming out well for anyone.

At least we know now that the AOL Way includes buying content you can’t make yourself.
posted by spitefulcrow at 10:11 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did AOL and Time-Warner finally get a divorce?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:13 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well now the Huff Post is going down the tubes, does anyone know of a decent liberal leaning news website?
posted by arcticseal at 10:13 PM on February 6, 2011


Well now the Huff Post is going down the tubes, does anyone know of a decent liberal leaning news website?

Sure but it costs $5 and the news is a little slow.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:15 PM on February 6, 2011 [79 favorites]


I saw an AOL CD recently (in a garbage can, not surprisingly), which offered 1045 free hours. Not 1000. Not 1050. 1045 hours. Does AOL have an actuarial table to match bandwidth futures to free hour amounts?
posted by aaronetc at 10:15 PM on February 6, 2011


The Economist?
posted by benzenedream at 10:16 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


So the dot-com bubble really was the first of a coming series of boom-and-bust cycles, then? How appropriate that this one should be heralded by AOL: the eternal September yielding to the eternal October (1929).
posted by RogerB at 10:16 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huff not so po?
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:17 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ok, so, that's a boatload of money. I guess I'm kind of surprised by that. But I can't exactly get worked up about it. I mean, not to say that there isn't useful or interesting writing there sometimes, but the Huffington Post has that sort of genericized SEO-spam Google-bait vibe just about every time I interact with it lately.
posted by brennen at 10:19 PM on February 6, 2011


I'm bookmarking this article to see how long it stays.
posted by triceryclops at 10:19 PM on February 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


aol still exists?
posted by empath at 10:20 PM on February 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


The New Yorker had a great piece on AOL a couple of issues ago. Can't post a link behind the paywall - but this acquisition is very much in line AOL's vision of providing high quality news content.
posted by helmutdog at 10:20 PM on February 6, 2011


How does AOL even have any money? I've seen people with aol email addresses still, but I just assumed they rode horses to the town square and churned their own butter.
posted by cashman at 10:21 PM on February 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


How does AOL even have any money? Well...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:23 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was shocked that AOL had that sort of money to play with at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:24 PM on February 6, 2011


I was thinking of posting this topic myself but wanted to wait for more reaction from AOL's previous high-profile acquisition TechCrunch (here previously). Because if TC's Mike Arrington is now going to be reporting to Ariana... this is going to be fun to watch - from a safe distance.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:27 PM on February 6, 2011


I really dislike that language: "AOL has agreed to acquire The Huffington Post." Agreed to acquire? Were they being forced?

"You! AOL! Acquire this mildly relevant news organization for $500 million US dollars!"
"No! I do not agree!"
"But in order to remain some shade of relevant you must acquire something! How about for, oh, $400 million US dollars? We really cannot go any lower."
"No, no! We have already acquired TechCrunch in the recent past!"
"It is not enough, AOL! Not enough. You must acquire HuffPo. You must! How does $350 million sound?"
"Oh...ok. Sold?"
THE END
posted by m0nm0n at 10:29 PM on February 6, 2011 [18 favorites]


Meanwhile, it seems they're dumping the Fanhouse, which at one point had a pretty fantastic all-star assortment of bloggers. Evidently it's been sold off to Yahoo, and will essentially cease to exist.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:31 PM on February 6, 2011


Geek Moment: I've never forgiven AOL for ditching Legends of Kesmai. Though, on the positive side, at the time I was using AOL and Dial-Up, so having an UO shard where everybody played at my speed was a snail paced pleasure.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:33 PM on February 6, 2011


Apparently 'How long will it take the Huffington group of properties to earn 315 million?' is looser talk.

As is "Are you fucking retarded? I mean seriously, 315 million for a gossipy vanity site built on plagiarism and unpaid labor?".

Ah well. I need to figure out how to get me some of that stupid money that's apparently sloshing around.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:34 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


TechCrunch just leaked(?) "Armstrong’s Internal Memo To AOLers About The HuffPo Deal"

And "a gossipy vanity site built on plagiarism and unpaid labor?" Sounds like a solid implementation of the linked-at-the-top master business plan.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:37 PM on February 6, 2011


wow, at this point I figured they would not be able to give it away.
posted by Felex at 10:41 PM on February 6, 2011


Co-founded six years ago by Arianna Huffington and Ken Lerer, The Huffington Post has grown to become an industry leader—one of the Web’s most popular and innovative sources of online news, commentary, and information. Arianna and team have created a brand and a destination that focuses on the consumer experience. By combining The Huffington Post with AOL’s network of sites, thriving video offerings, local expertise and enormous reach, we will create a company that is laser-focused on serving our audiences across every platform imaginable – social, local, video, mobile and tablet.

He can't be serious.
posted by empath at 10:45 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well now the Huff Post is going down the tubes

"Now?"
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:50 PM on February 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


AOL are hucksters that take advantage of old people and HuffPo pushes woo like homeopathy. They're perfect for each other.
posted by defenestration at 10:52 PM on February 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Honestly, I like HuffPo (other than their bullshit HuffPo Divorce! and HuffPo PseudoScience! sections) and I read it daily. I wonder how much impact this will have on HuffPo, and whether this will do anything to actually bolster AOL or its image. That internal memo oneswellfoop just linked is full of corporate twaddle-speak as expected. Ugh. How do people live with themselves, speaking that corporate pidgin?
posted by m0nm0n at 10:56 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The New Yorker article on AOL was pretty revealing. One exec basically said that a significant chunk of their revenue stream comes from subscribers who don't know they can get the same services (email, search, sports scores, etc) for free. ie, old people who haven't checked their credit card statements since Billy left for college in 1997. So now AOL has hired some hot-shit young marketing dude who wants to turn them into "content providers". This amazed me, for at least three reasons: 1) AOL still has subscribers. 2) An executive would actually admit to a journalist that their core business is completely irrelevant. 3) They think that a business plan from 15 years ago will save them.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:56 PM on February 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


So do you have to pay money to have an aol email account? I don't even know what services they offer anymore.
posted by dead cousin ted at 11:00 PM on February 6, 2011


Who's up for an AOL vs. Yahoo deathmatch?

(The winner can take on Ask Jeeves.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:02 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does this mean we could sell MeFi - Matt, Cortex and Jessamyn become millionaires and the rest of us get 50K or something based on posts/comments/favourites or something?

Still, it's nice to reminisce about 1999 again.
posted by sien at 11:03 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hear 4chan is about to be snapped up by Hotbot.
posted by washburn at 11:04 PM on February 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


How much do you think I could get AOL to give me for all this Flooz I got?
posted by Mikey-San at 11:06 PM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Best thing since the merger with Time-Warner.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:09 PM on February 6, 2011


Does this mean we could sell MeFi - Matt, Cortex and Jessamyn become millionaires and the rest of us get 50K or something based on posts/comments/favourites or something?

Nah. Nobody would buy MeFi, because a site where all the content is moderated by actual humans is way too much work for the big guys to bother with.
posted by spitefulcrow at 11:10 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really dislike that language: "AOL has agreed to acquire The Huffington Post." Agreed to acquire? Were they being forced?

You left out the relevant part of that sentence. "AOL has agreed to acquire the Huffington Post for $315 million." An agreement on the price was reached by the relevant parties. The "agreement" refers to the result of a negotiation over price. If the negotiation had failed the language would be "talks broke off after AOL and the Huffington Post failed to agree on a price."
posted by mr_roboto at 11:12 PM on February 6, 2011


I think we are seeing the start of the SEO Spam bubble. Soon the web will be full of so much garbage that Google is going to have to do something. They may just start hiring people to churn out articles themselves -- like paying people to write Knol articles or something. Why not? It couldn't be any worse and would probably be an improvement.

Eventually Google will just write AIs that generate articles for you automatically, about whatever topic you want and with whatever ideological slant you prefer.
posted by delmoi at 11:12 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


$300 million of the deal is in cash and Airana ends up as President of the new company. Go Arianna that's a pretty good deal. 25 million unique visitors, about $30 million in revenue from what I can tell (assuming they hit their plan to double revenues in 2010). That's about $12/ monthly visitor and 10x revenues. I'm not sure this is a very good deal for AOL shareholders. The paltry amount of stock in the deal $15 million suggest that Arianna is not taking much risk on this. I would expect a drop in AOL stock tomorrow.
posted by humanfont at 11:13 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


empath (quoting someone who is self-evidently a megatool, a tool unseen since the halcyon days of 1999, a tool of tyrannosauric proportions): "laser-focused on serving our audiences across every platform imaginable – social, local, video, mobile and tablet."

that's right, focused like an illegal toy used by adolescents to enact assassination fantasies and near-miss air disasters. On five nebulously foggy markets. TO THE CLOUD!

IT WILL BE LIKE FLOYD LASER AT THE PLANETARIUM. OR LAZER ZEPPELIN.

I know, I know, wrong corporate slogan. I pirated it.





From the cloud.

posted by mwhybark at 11:13 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Nah. Nobody would buy MeFi, because a site where all the content is moderated by actual humans is way too much work for the big guys to bother with.
First of all, Conde Nast owns reddit. I doubt Matt would have much trouble selling the site if he wanted too. Have you seen our pagerank?

How often do you see AskMe articles come up in Google searches? If there's a relevant AskMe it'll usually come up on top.
posted by delmoi at 11:14 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


spitefulcrow: "a site where all the content is moderated by actual humans"

Totally. Can't scale. What Matt neds to do is have pb whip up some spambots.
posted by mwhybark at 11:15 PM on February 6, 2011


TechCrunch has some good commentary on this, since, after all, Arianna Huffington is now their Editor-in-Chief.

The leaked AOL memo about this acquisition is amazing to me:
"The Huffington Post is core to our strategy and our 80:80:80 focus – 80% of domestic spending is done by women, 80% of commerce happens locally and 80% of considered purchases are driven by influencers. The influencer part of the strategy is important and will be potent."
I have to start talking like this. I've got to find three vaguely related statistics that are hard to even define, then tie them together through their common number, and call it a "focus." A focus that's important and potent.
posted by borborygmi at 11:17 PM on February 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


The craziest thing about this is that AOL's new business model is dependent on their main competitor sending traffic their way. Google just needs to tweak their algorithm to weight against content farms and - bam - no more business.
posted by rh at 11:17 PM on February 6, 2011


Estimemeted worth of metafilter.com is 1.16 million.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:18 PM on February 6, 2011


They are going to synergize the fuck out of this new paradigm.
posted by empath at 11:21 PM on February 6, 2011 [42 favorites]


The Huffington Post is core to our strategy and our 80:80:80 focus – 80% of domestic spending is done by women, 80% of commerce happens locally and 80% of considered purchases are driven by influencers. The influencer part of the strategy is important and will be potent.

This doesn't even make sense.
posted by empath at 11:22 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


They're going to laser-focus on importantizing the influenza equation, memetically.
posted by mwhybark at 11:23 PM on February 6, 2011


80:80:80 follows the 80/20 rule that says it needs to 50-50 sense and nonsense.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:24 PM on February 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Man, this is making so nostalgic for 1995.

Psst....I hear Geocities is going to buy up Facebook.
posted by Skygazer at 11:25 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


PO-TENT-O.

Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew.
posted by mwhybark at 11:25 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


twoleftfeet: "80:80:80 follows the 80/20 rule that says it needs to 50-50 sense and nonsense"

well, fifty-fiftying the sense and nonsense is an impotent part of the value-add equation, obliviously.
posted by mwhybark at 11:26 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


AOL has purchased the rights to network security protocol SSH. The new entity will be called ASSHOL.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:28 PM on February 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


I never had an AOL account (although I did take advantage of Prodigy's free trial offer at one point in my life). Even still, I am currently an AOL customer, much to my chagrin.

You see I have an old, old e-mail account on mail.com that I still use. Unfortunately AOL bought mail.com a while back, and sadly its service is exactly what you'd expect.

The last few months especially have seen outages like crazy. I've been unable to log-in, once logged-in, I've been unable to get my mail. I've been unable to log-out. You name it, I've been unable to do it.

Even worse than the outages is the annoying way it pesters me (before even allowing me into my mail) for an outside, non-mail.com e-mail address where it can send my personal information to, in case there is a problem with my account. After complaining to tech support that I have no interest in giving them additional contact information, they "relented" and said I could set up a second mail.com address and use that for my back-up contact account. No thank-you.

Now I know I should just shut the account down, but to be honest, I think doing that would be more trouble than it's worth, even though it is just a seconday or tertiary account at best. Besides the contrarian in me likes using a non-mainstream service.

While I'm not a Huffington Post reader, I do feel sorry for them. I know how bad the service is going to get. Mind you, I'll be able to see it all for myself as I'm sure mail.com will now be delivering up articles from that website to my homepage. Actually now that I think about it, I always got the impression from skimming over the headlines as I log in (I don't actually read anything posted on that site) that its news-bias was more conservative than liberal and lowbrow rather than highbrow so I'm not sure how well the switch in source material will be appreciated by anybody who actually reads the stories.
posted by sardonyx at 11:32 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well now the Huff Post is going down the tubes, does anyone know of a decent liberal leaning news website?

Salon? The Guardian? Both of which have the benefit of paying their writers actual money, instead of charging anti-vax loons to lend credence to their bugfuckery.

Also, the comparisons to MeFi are so off-base as to be ludicrous. MeFi is, for the most part, an assemblange of pointers to other peoples' work. I know it's all a web 2.0 world where links are more work than writing actual content and readers have raised themselves to a stature above writers, but... no. Just no.
posted by rodgerd at 11:33 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always got the impression from skimming over the headlines as I log in (I don't actually read anything posted on that site) that its news-bias was more conservative than liberal and lowbrow rather than highbrow so I'm not sure how well the switch in source material will be appreciated by anybody who actually reads the stories.

It's pretty lowbrow, but it's off in the "Criticize Obama is too conservative" area of the political spectrum.

Also the 0.83 is 0.512. In other words 80% of 80% of 80% is actually just 51%
posted by delmoi at 11:48 PM on February 6, 2011


Heh, from Arianna's blog on this:
Around the same time, I got an email from Tim Armstrong (AOL Chairman and CEO), saying he had something he wanted to discuss with me, and asking when we could meet. We arranged to have lunch at my home in LA later that week. The day before the lunch, Tim emailed and asked if it would be okay if he brought Artie Minson, AOL's CFO, with him. I told him of course and asked if there was anything they didn't eat. "I'll eat anything but mushrooms," he said.
Somewhere in there there's a joke about them Tim Armstrong tripping balls.
posted by delmoi at 11:53 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I meant the articles that are posted on mail.com seem conservative and lowbrow, not the HuffPoFluff.
posted by sardonyx at 11:56 PM on February 6, 2011


Ah.
posted by delmoi at 12:00 AM on February 7, 2011


Artie Minson, AOL's CFO

I read this as AFL CIO and was excessively bewildered.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:01 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, I was just at HuffPo and came across this article: Ed Schultz-Jon Stewart Feud Breaks Out (VIDEO) The "Fued" amounts to a single tweet from Schultz after after he was compared to Olberman on TDS the other day
posted by delmoi at 12:03 AM on February 7, 2011


delmoi: "Also the 0.83 is 0.512. In other words 80% of 80% of 80% is actually just 51%"

So instead of an 80:80:80 focus, it's half-assed?
posted by mwhybark at 12:16 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


80:80:80 follows the 80/20 rule that says it needs to 50-50 sense and nonsense.

Look, everyone knows that three quarters of all numbers thrown around are total rubbish.

That's almost 50%!
posted by sour cream at 12:31 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The snark has begun to flow from TechCrunchHuffCrunch. And The Arrington hasn't made a peep yet. This is as entertaining as Website Inside Stuff gets.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:20 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The rich get richer...even the fake republicans who are kinda democrats.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:46 AM on February 7, 2011


80:80:80 follows the 80/20 rule that says it needs to 50-50 sense and nonsense.

Like Barbie says, math is hard.

AOL are hucksters that take advantage of old people and HuffPo pushes woo like homeopathy. They're perfect for each other.

But other than that, aren't their audiences closer to being on opposite sides of the cultural and political equations? HuffPo is probably going to start leaning more to the right, not that it hasn't started to do so already.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:59 AM on February 7, 2011


The aol zombie it will suck whatever brain is left of Huffington Post.
posted by jojo chandran at 3:49 AM on February 7, 2011


"Our 80:80:80 focus – 80% of domestic spending is done by women, 80% of commerce happens locally and 80% of considered purchases are driven by influencers..."

...and 80% of our profit comes from people paying for email they can access for free.
posted by rory at 3:53 AM on February 7, 2011


Sigh. Now I need to find a new source for my anti-vaccine hype.
posted by TrialByMedia at 4:15 AM on February 7, 2011


Wait, AOL offered her money? They didn't just offer her tons of exposure?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:15 AM on February 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wait, AOL offered her money? They didn't just offer her tons of exposure?

Because it wasn't something they had on offer?
posted by delmoi at 4:20 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


"I'll eat anything but mushrooms," he said.

Tim Armstrong doesn't know what a portobello is.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:30 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I remember making the obvious LOL Time Warner joke the last time these chuckleheads did something stupid denominated in the hundreds of millions.

This time I got nothin'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:36 AM on February 7, 2011


Having an AOL.COM email address will become cool again!
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:50 AM on February 7, 2011



The Huffington Post is core to our strategy and our 80:80:80 focus – 80% of domestic spending is done by women, 80% of commerce happens locally and 80% of considered purchases are driven by influencers. The influencer part of the strategy is important and will be potent.

This doesn't even make sense.


Nope, it makes DOLLARS.
posted by chavenet at 5:22 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I liked The Huffinton early on but the political stuff has got drowned out pretty quickly by the celebrity news and lifestyle crap that it's pretty useless as a new source by now. Unless you really need to know "The Biggest Mistake Woman Make With Alimony" or "Is A Gossip Girl Dating The Super Bowl MVP?"
posted by octothorpe at 5:33 AM on February 7, 2011


This is just ridiculous in light of the recent paltry purchase price for okcupid. How does AOL even have this kind of money?
posted by Deathalicious at 5:41 AM on February 7, 2011


wall street at work.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:46 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the surface, this just reads like a ancient company trying to remain relevant. This is like seeing your dad show up at your prom wearing "wacky" sunglasses and low-fiving your friends.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:52 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where the hell did AOL get $315m in *CASH*? Does that number seem ridiculously high to anybody else?

Personally, I'd have seen AOL snatching up Gawker and its ilk a lot sooner than HuffPo, which IMO, has been increasingly going off the rails over the past year or two. The fact that Arianna's become the media's "go-to liberal" isn't exactly comforting.
posted by schmod at 6:41 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Although they criticize Obama from different directions, HuffPo and FOX News are philosophically united in their support of tittilation.

Seriously, the bottom right corner of HuffPo's front page is my go-to source for learning when a starlet has worn a daringly revealing dress to a premiere or posed naked for a magazine shoot.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:41 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I keep being amazed at the Old Internet companies that have managed to hang on.

AOL still exists? Really?

It's like when I see Yahoo! in the news, my reaction is always "wait, someone still uses Yahoo!?"

But my biggest surprise was when I found that Excite is still around, one of my less tech savvy co-workers uses it has her homepage. I'm assuming it isn't really it's own search engine anymore, but rather a front end on some real search engine, but I'm amazed that anyone even bothered to keep it around even as a false front.

As for the HuffPo, I stopped caring about it when they became the go to place for homeopathy and antivax lunacy.

And Ms. Huffington herself, we must not forget, was a conservative long before she switched to being a semi-liberal. I'm not at all surprised that she's the "go to liberal" for most of the media, she's not really liberal and she already had an in from the days when she was a conservative.
posted by sotonohito at 6:47 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Although they criticize Obama from different directions, HuffPo and FOX News are philosophically united in their support of tittilation.

I kinda see Huffington as the liberal Drudge Report.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 6:48 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


But my biggest surprise was when I found that Excite is still around

It gets less traffic then metafilter, about half as much.
posted by delmoi at 6:50 AM on February 7, 2011


Lycos is still around too. Seems hard to kill off a dot com era portal site.
posted by octothorpe at 6:59 AM on February 7, 2011


AltaVista is also still a thing, apparently.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:00 AM on February 7, 2011


AOL has ramping up acquisitions for ~4 years now, and probably owns 100+ well-known sites (they were at 75+ sites in the beginning of 2009, aiming for 30 more by the end of that year). They're becoming more of low-cost content creators, hiring journalists that major companies lay off, (possibly numbering in the thousands, as they were at 1,000 full-timers in 2009, and were aiming at doubling or tripling that number in 2010).

AOL is looking to be the man behind the curtain. Remember the AOL rebranding, where the logo became 'a stock photo superimposed with a white Helvetica "Aol." '?

But I'm sure those customers who pay their dues without receiving any service aren't hurting the whole of AOL.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 AM on February 7, 2011


Paul Carr at TechCrunch seems to be spinning just a teensy bit:

As I wrote the other week, I hate SEO. It’s bad for journalism as it disincentivises reporters from breaking new stories, and rewards them for rehashing existing ones. And it’s bad for everything else because, well, it’s garbage. But when discussing the SEO phenomenon privately, I’ve always cited the Huffington Post as the exception that proves the rule.

Here's what he said about HuffPo last month:

The fact is, it’s almost impossible to find a single ‘content’ company on the web that maintains a horseshit:quality ratio better than 10:1. Just look at the homepages of Yahoo! and MSN, boasting the respective top stories: “Why Clooney Won’t Marry” and “Five Things You Shouldn’t Do When You Propose”. For all its lofty ideals, even The Huffington Post has succumbed to the temptation of bolstering costly and time consuming think-pieces with an avalanche of linkbait crap and blatant cut-and-paste jobs from other blogs. “We always provide a link!” they protest, as if that’s an excuse. (“At least I’m proud of myself!” cried the kitten killer.)

I guess it's nice to learn he always tempered that in private.
posted by mediareport at 7:12 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I see that AOL owns Patch which recently started a website in my town. There is no mention on the site that they are owned by AOL, now I see why they make the distinction between providing content, and providing journalism. Content is providing a product to sell, journalism is about providing information.
posted by any major dude at 7:24 AM on February 7, 2011


Things are going to get very, very sticky.
posted by ftrain at 7:26 AM on February 7, 2011


I think the message here is clear: writers get paid, "content providers" do not.
posted by tommasz at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have agreed to acquire AOL for $1.

So far AOL has not made the same agreement.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:58 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm contracting for Patch in my town, providing them with 10-20 local human interest photos a week. I'm not going to make a living off of it, but I'm very satisfied with the compensation I receive for the 2-3 hours of work it requires.
posted by Scoo at 8:07 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


All the talk of MeFi selling out made me look up the Alexa stats. This entertained me:

Metafilter's audience tends to be Caucasian; they are also disproportionately childless, moderately educated women under the age of 35 who have incomes over $30,000.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:16 AM on February 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think Metafilter should be sold to Compuserve.
posted by Danf at 8:23 AM on February 7, 2011


Wow, Lycos has a mobile search with location input. Been ten years since I went to their website.
posted by the cydonian at 8:33 AM on February 7, 2011


Has there been a study on exactly what percentage of our economy is based on absolute shit*? It seems awfully high, like 70%.

*Note: Sanitation processing not included.
posted by odinsdream at 8:46 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mister Fabulous: "All the talk of MeFi selling out made me look up the Alexa stats. This entertained me:

Metafilter's audience tends to be Caucasian; they are also disproportionately childless, moderately educated women under the age of 35 who have incomes over $30,000.
"

I believe this is bullshit.

*gets sex change, higher paying job and sells child*
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:54 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


>I think Metafilter should be sold to Compuserve.

That would be great, except for the fact that Compuserve is owned by AOL.
posted by seanyboy at 9:06 AM on February 7, 2011


Wait - HuffPost Divorce is a real thing. I thought that graphic was a joke.

*does Google search, goes to main page*

After A Split,
Is Sapphic Love Better
?

in literally 60 point font.

DC is publishing a fairly awesome comic T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, the "hook" of which is that the gadgetry that gives these people their powers takes years off their lives each time they use it. Apparently the Huffington Post, specifically HP Divorce, is like that for me. But for my soul.

(Note to whomever is assigning the stock photography at HP Divorce. I'm pretty sure if your husband was Carson Kressley, formerly of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, then yes, a lesbian rebound relationship would seem like a grand idea.)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:07 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have agreed to acquire AOL for $1.

You got robbed.
posted by goethean at 9:10 AM on February 7, 2011


This is just ridiculous in light of the recent paltry purchase price for okcupid.

This is probably because OK Cupid's staff expect to be, you know, paid, whereas Huffington, that self-professed liberal, gets rich off having people work for nothing.
posted by rodgerd at 9:43 AM on February 7, 2011


I quite like "silly money" deals. They are usually a net flow of cash from the stupid to the less-stupid - or in the case of the English Premier League, from those who didn't earn it to those who did.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:43 AM on February 7, 2011


got into huffpo briefly but pulled out about the time they jumped on this bus.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 10:44 AM on February 7, 2011


LOL AOL; LOL HuffPo, all the way through this thread.

But look, the lady built up a site and sold it for $315 million, which is not an accomplishment to sneeze at. Tim Armstrong is the guy who pretty much put together Google's entire advertising enterprise. At AOL, in the last year, he has hired over 600 journalists, which is probably more journalists than anybody ever hired in a single year, and at good wages to boot.

Why does it matter that AOL was around in the stone age and everybody thought they were long gone? They've been building a pretty smart portfolio and the HuffPo acquisition adds to it. A more useful discussion here would be to consider what kind of integrated news and content organization might emerge out of the pieces AOL has assembled. My guess is that it could turn into formidable competition for eyeballs and ads not only for local and national newspapers, but for the existing big players in online news like Yahoo, CNN, MSNBC, and Google News. (HuffPo already ranks 6th behind those 4 plus NYTimes, which helps explain its valuation).

On the other hand, there are elements missing from the AOL portfolio. A big one, for a company that's got a strong local strategy, is the lack of a real community-building social component at Patch. (HuffPo doesn't bring that to the table; most of their comment threads read just like this one, in contrast to the usual level of discourse here.) They use Facebook and Twitter, of course, but they can't monetize there. Look for another AOL acquisition, or some serious R&D, on the social side. You can make jokes about selling Metafilter, but Metafilter's community functionality is something AOL actually needs, soon, from somebody.
posted by beagle at 10:50 AM on February 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's like when I see Yahoo! in the news, my reaction is always "wait, someone still uses Yahoo!?"

So many someones, in fact, that Yahoo News is the number one most visited news website in the world.
posted by ekroh at 11:00 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


They deserve each other.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:26 AM on February 7, 2011


Yeah makes sense. AOL has to do something, they can't just crawl into a ditch and die, they just might be aiming for "journalism 2.0". Maybe snatch up TPM next?

Also Huffington Post was mocked as a surefire spectacular failure from word one. Pretty impressive.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:37 AM on February 7, 2011


Metafilter's community functionality is something AOL actually needs, soon, from somebody.

Too bad you can't buy a community.
posted by empath at 11:41 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


And Ms. Huffington herself, we must not forget, was a conservative long before she switched to being a semi-liberal. I'm not at all surprised that she's the "go to liberal" for most of the media, she's not really liberal and she already had an in from the days when she was a conservative.
posted by sotonohito at 8:47 AM on February 7
Yeah, and I seem to remember her as being one of the nastier quotables of that ilk. If you need further evidence of A-Huff's brainal squishiness, she is a member of a cult that's almost self-parodic
posted by jtron at 12:10 PM on February 7, 2011


The Economist?

Is the Economist considered left-wing/liberal in the US? In the UK, it's seen as a centre-right institution, with a staunchly Friedmanite free-market ideology. Does this mean that, in today's US political climate, anything that's not foaming with nativist paranoia is seen as "liberal"?
posted by acb at 12:28 PM on February 7, 2011


Does this mean that, in today's US political climate, anything that's not foaming with nativist paranoia is seen as "liberal"?

A lot of things mean that.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:59 PM on February 7, 2011


Is the Economist considered left-wing/liberal in the US?

They believe in evolution, are willing to discuss abortion, do not dismiss global warming, and are willing to entertain such notions as restricting capital flow across borders. So yes, I would say they are fairly liberal by US standards.
posted by benzenedream at 1:04 PM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah makes sense. AOL has to do something, they can't just crawl into a ditch and die, they just might be aiming for "journalism 2.0". Maybe snatch up TPM next?

No! Please no! TPM has already diminished their credibility with their Gawker cross-posts. AOL would officially bury it.


A comment from a previous thread:

The next logical step is solid news reporting on the Internet. I've said this before, but this is how it could work:

In the past we had these huge news bureaus, all over the world, that covered many different issues. In essence, each company—NBC, ABC, etc—went out of their way to cover everything. This was expensive as hell. Nowadays, that's the wrong way to go — especially on the Internet. News organizations on the web should be niche and obsessed with reporting factually about their specific focus. The next step in making this approach work would be News Aggregating sites that we trust to aggregate only the most factual niche News sites. We'd go to a webpage like nytimes.com or cnn.com, but instead having our view of the world and what's happening delivered to us by one organization, we'll be taking in the work of many very dedicated, focused niche bureaus.


Its seems that AOL is trying to doing this, but they want to own it all.
posted by defenestration at 2:15 PM on February 7, 2011


I feel pretty sold out about this AOL - Huff Post merger, to be honest. I would bet money AOL wants to turn HP into a politicized sort of Facebook, except the people I connect to on there have no connection to me, or I to them beyond liking the tone of their comments here and there.

At any rate, call me paranoid, but I went into my account and removed any and all personal info, changed my password to a junky one I don't care about in the least and made sure the only email they have for me is my most throwaway Hotmail junk address. Cos, I guarantee that info's going to be leaked and that account is going to fill up with (even more) useless spam.
posted by Skygazer at 5:56 PM on February 7, 2011


acb: Does this mean that, in today's US political climate, anything that's not foaming with nativist paranoia is seen as "liberal"?

Yes. To the right in this country anyone to the left of Attila the Hun is considered a socialism loving homosexual.

And anyone to the Right of him is considered a possible presidential hopeful.
posted by Skygazer at 6:00 PM on February 7, 2011


Too bad you can't buy a community.
That's a nice thought, but probably not true. Metafilter is way to small to be on anyone's radar, but what about a site like reddit? It's already been sold to Conde Nast once, and could be sold again.
I feel pretty sold out about this AOL - Huff Post merger, to be honest. I would bet money AOL wants to turn HP into a politicized sort of Facebook, except the people I connect to on there have no connection to me, or I to them beyond liking the tone of their comments here and there.
Maybe that's what you would do, but I doubt it. First of all, isn't that what slashdot tried, and digg? People actually don't like having "Social" crammed in their face, just look at Google Buzz.

On the other hand, Tim Armstrong has been pretty clear that his strategy is SEO SEO SEO. HuffPo does that well, so it makes sense that they're just going to keep plugging away...
posted by delmoi at 6:30 PM on February 7, 2011


Hmm, I know Tim to speak to from Google and he looked really really awful on the interview I saw here in my hotel room... heavily made up, doped up even.

Frankly I have no idea what this guy is thinking, but frankly I have no idea what he was thinking taking the job in the first place. AOL is a dinosaur, he should have liquidated it right off.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:38 PM on February 7, 2011


Related: Ariana Huffington is being sued by two former friends who claim they were involved in the creation of the HP.
posted by arcticseal at 4:45 AM on February 8, 2011


So, is there any way to filter out SEO spam sites from Google returns?
posted by dejah420 at 5:04 AM on February 8, 2011


I would just like to point out that Arianna Huffington is a cartoon bear.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:25 AM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


(And, holy fuck, the bartender on that show is voiced by David Lynch?!)
posted by Sys Rq at 5:30 AM on February 8, 2011


I said whoa. Did anyone else say whoa?

whoa

WHOA!

It's like when I see Yahoo! in the news, my reaction is always "wait, someone still uses Yahoo!?"

So many someones, in fact, that Yahoo News is the number one most visited news website in the world.

Yahoo Fantasy Sports is still an industry leader, I think. And I think Yahoo Sports in general gets more traffic than ESPN. I visit tv.yahoo.com for TV listings occasionally (looking up satellite channels for sports games).

(And, holy fuck, the bartender on that show is voiced by David Lynch?!)

I never get a chance to watch it, but by god I like The Cleveland Show. I am ridiculed for it, but I do like it... (though I do wish the character of Terry was voiced by Charles Napier.)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:09 AM on February 8, 2011


Related: Ariana Huffington is being sued by two former friends who claim they were involved in the creation of the HP.

If those two former friends are twins, I call dibs on the movie rights to this story!
posted by dogbusonline at 1:09 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


From Politico:
Florida Republican Rep. Allen West said Tuesday that AOL's purchase of the Huffington Post is a threat to tea party groups' online presence.
...
"You look out there, you see that AOL has purchased the Huffington Post. Now all of a sudden a very far left liberal blogger such as Arianna Huffington has a huge influence in the Internet world," he said.
"We cannot allow ourselves to be suppressed. We cannot allow them to take over the Internet," he said, as audience members nodded vigorously and started clapping.


I'm guessing that among many tea-partiers AOL == Internet.
posted by octothorpe at 7:15 AM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love their idea that someone can "take over" the internet. As if somehow the presence of one group online pushes others off. As if, thanks to the HuffPo getting more links that means RedState gets fewer.

I also get a kick out of the HuffPo being described as "far left". I note that apparently there is no such thing as merely being to the left, one is either a teabagger or one is "far left".
posted by sotonohito at 7:53 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


(And, holy fuck, the bartender on that show is voiced by David Lynch?!)

Wow. Just wow. How did I not know this? Apparently, David Lynch, having scared off TV executives permanently with Twin Peaks and On the Air*, has to find more creative, round-about ways to blow my mind on the TV.

mrgrimm, though I mocked my boyfriend for liking it at first as well, I think The Cleveland Show is the best Seth McFarland show on the air right now, though some may say that's damning with fairly faint praise.


* Loved this and just realized I need to start the campaign to get it released on DVD.

posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:06 AM on February 9, 2011


Florida Republican Rep. Allen West: "We cannot allow ourselves to be suppressed. We cannot allow them to take over the Internet," he said, as audience members nodded vigorously and started clapping.

Too late. All your internets are belong to us, and we are going to take WikiLeaks all over your shoes....
posted by Skygazer at 1:38 PM on February 10, 2011


wow mega fail on their part
posted by joegardy at 12:50 PM on March 5, 2011


Florida Republican Rep. Allen West: "We cannot allow ourselves to be suppressed. We cannot allow them to take over the Internet," he said, as audience members nodded vigorously and started clapping.

Al Gore, motherfuckers.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:02 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Paul Haggis Vs. the Church of Scientology....  |  American academic Frances Fox ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments