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AOL To Buy Huffington Post 160

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gobble-gobble-gobble dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The La Times reports that AOL has agreed to purchase the Huffington Post for $315 million. The purchase will increase AOL's news portfolio as it competes against Yahoo's growing online news publication profile and Google's news efforts, as well as traditional media companies online. The purchase has yet to acquire government approvals, but the boards of directors of each company and shareholders of the Huffington Post have approved the transaction."
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AOL To Buy Huffington Post

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  • by makomk (752139) on Monday February 07, 2011 @09:47AM (#35125508) Journal

    AOL are not only still going, but actually buying up websites? Who'd have thought it. Wonder how long until they kill this one off.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Moryath (553296)

      I don't know. Huffington Post and DailyKos were the two big attempts of the left wing to create their own "viral" websites. The end result's been a lot of hate speech, a whole lot of banned commentariat, and very little if anything accomplished.

      Huffington Post's biggest claim to fame in recent years has been as a haven for the anti-vaccination lunacy of retards like Jenny McCarthy, Dana Ullman, and followers of Andrew Wakefield.

      • by DrXym (126579) on Monday February 07, 2011 @12:00PM (#35126882)

        Huffington Post's biggest claim to fame in recent years has been as a haven for the anti-vaccination lunacy of retards like Jenny McCarthy, Dana Ullman, and followers of Andrew Wakefield.

        The HP might be fine for political commentary but it is a haven for quacks, woos and snakeoil salesmen peddling all kinds of pseudo scientific new age nonsense. It is as anti-science and anti-reality. Not surprisingly many liberals, especially scientists and academics are as ashamed by what the HP promotes as conservatives are of creationist drool that infects their blogs.

      • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Monday February 07, 2011 @12:02PM (#35126908) Homepage

        I don't know. Huffington Post and DailyKos were the two big attempts of the left wing to create their own "viral" websites. The end result's been a lot of hate speech, a whole lot of banned commentariat, and very little if anything accomplished.

        I'd say that turning a $1 million investment into a $315 million buyout is one hell of an accomplishment.

      • by bonch (38532)

        You're getting modded down, obviously by supporters of those sites. However, it's true--DailyKos was infamous for its "screw them" post regarding dead soldiers in Iraq, and since the campaign consultant scandal, Kos posts so little that the site has become a place for user "diaries." Basically, it's just user-submitted articles now that only serve to pat liberals on the back for being liberals.

        Huffington Post was Ariana Huffington's attempt to create a left-wing version of the Drudge Report, right down to t

        • by Moryath (553296)

          Both sides have their kooky and their mature sites.

          I had almost listed Little Green Footballs as yet another site that operates more on cult of personality (which is ironic given that Mad King Charles has all the personal magnetism of day-old jello left in the trash), and a perfect example of how such cultishness is not unique to one side of the aisle or the other, as evidenced by the way he went from the right-wing deep end to the left-wing deep end in such a perfect performance of blackwhite [wikipedia.org] (complete wit

          • Both sides have their kooky and their mature sites.

            As for "liberalism tends to be so fueled by emotion that it drives centrists away" - the right wing is much the same way. The lunatic fringe of the Pee Tardiers

            I'd be interested in hearing your definition of mature...

        • You realise by world standards none of these sites are actually left wing dont you?

          JUst right and far right wing. Americans view of social justice would be laughable if not for its tragic results.

      • by Mansing (42708)

        Site Information for huffingtonpost.com
        Alexa Traffic Rank: 128 Traffic Rank in US: 31
        Sites Linking In: 40,775

        Site Information for dailykos.com
        Alexa Traffic Rank: 3,775 Traffic Rank in US: 860
        Sites Linking In: 10,523

        Site Information for drudgereport.com
        Alexa Traffic Rank: 430 Traffic Rank in US: 85
        Sites Linking In: 6,977

    • Until their base of "confused old people who pay $20 a month to hear 'You've Got Mail' whenever their bloated AOL client connects over the (cheaper, faster) DSL they are actually using..." dies off, AOL should be able to operate with a certain degree of freedom.

      Longterm, their prospects are rather grim(which is presumably why they are buying up non-doomed properties while the cash holds out); but anybody who hasn't switched away from an AOL subscription by now(either to DSL for incrementally less money a
      • by DrXym (126579)
        I think AOL knows the writing is on the wall for their service. It costs a lot of money to run and their user base is literally dying off. It must be an expensive pain in the ass to maintain that client, and run all those dialups and field support calls, and an infrastructure of mail servers, and put content into the thick client to justify its existence. At some point the user base will drop below a point that it is economical to do and they'll kill the service in phases. I think AOL are smart to diversif
    • They haven't managed to kill off Time Warner yet, and to be honest netscape had been killed off by microsoft long before AOL got involved. AOL seems to be little more than a hedge fund these days.....
      • by tnk1 (899206)

        Of course, Time Warner spun off AOL last year, so they won't be killing Time Warner at all.

        As for the rest of it, AOL actually made a (small) profit last year, unlike pretty much every year since 2005 or before.

        AOL still makes money off of Granny, but that's no longer their business model. They're a content and advertising company now, and one of the biggest, if not THE biggest internet advertising business around courtesy of advertising.com.

        Having said that, the CEO has mentioned in the past that, unlike

    • by Junta (36770)

      I think I see their plan..

      They buy up *all* the websites, then take them off the 'web' and make them accessible only through their 'AOL keyword'.

      • There's a lot of hate directed at AOL, but people forget it was the first national service to provide a full graphics interface (rather than plain text) in the 1980s.

        Whatever they are now, they used to be a great service (just like Mac used to be a great computer) (j/k). - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjgH27p-FAM [youtube.com]

        • by swordgeek (112599)

          No.

          AOL was *NEVER* a great service. When I had a 1200 baud modem, AOL was a joke. When I was first discovering usenet, AOL was unknown, but a few years later became a bad joke. (And arguably led to the eventual death of usenet.) When a tech preview of Mosaic rendered our Gopher site better than Gopher itself, AOL was a joke and a ghetto.

    • by Compaqt (1758360)

      Just when you thought Huff Post couldn't get any worse.

      What's funny is that AOLnews [aolnews.com] actually looks like a professional news site, like Politics Daily. Huffington Post looks like a carnival side show.

    • by antdude (79039)

      They still have $$$?

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday February 07, 2011 @09:53AM (#35125550)
    If they waited another year it would have been Huffington Post buying AOL.
    • AOL learned their lesson very well; back with Time Warner: Buy now, while they still think you are worth something...
    • by NevarMore (248971)

      If they waited another year it would have been Huffington Post buying AOL.

      Even HuffPo isn't that dumb.

    • If they waited another year it would have been Huffington Post buying AOL.

      Actually that's what I first thought it was when I very tiredly saw the headlines this morning.

  • Color me surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Monday February 07, 2011 @09:57AM (#35125584)
    I'm surprised that anyone would think the Huffington Post was worth $315 million. I'm even more surprised AOL still has that kind of money.

    /rimshot
    • by Xacid (560407)

      That was actually my first though.

      An article I read mentions that this wasn't so much buying the site as it was buying Huffington herself as a way to perhaps revive AOL's dying economy.

      My personal take: AOL doesn't stand a chance with the AOL name. That branding is tainted. Reinvent yourselves, guys.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      It only recently turned a profit, IIRC. I'm not sure how you can value a project that only recently got into the black, at $315m. Maybe it's the HuffPo's advertising gross, although if it was that high I would've expected it to go into profit long ago. Maybe it's their anticipated ad gross based on projections into the near future. Maybe the intangable value of a zeitgeisty outlet is factored in somewhere.

      • by NoSig (1919688)
        Knowing what I now know, I'd buy Google stock well before they got into the black.
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday February 07, 2011 @09:58AM (#35125588)
    Correct me if I am wrong but on the news this morning they said that most of the content of the Huffington Post came from unpaid bloggers, usually with a liberal outlook. It seems to me that they might not be as happy working for nothing for AOL as they were with an independent outlet. What are the chances that a good number of them will move elsewhere?
    • by Compaqt (1758360)

      1. Works for Slashdot. Basically it depends on whether people feel the site is a community as well as a business.

      2. For people who have something to say, and want to say it to a lot of people (millions), free is a good price. Yeah, you're not getting paid, but you're not paying anything either.

      • One of the supposed big appeals of HuffPost is its talkback system, but I can't stand it. Slashdot's talkback system may be a huge resource hog, but it's the only one I've seen that can handle large threads in a way that's useful. If nothing else, Huff should emulate Slashdot's ability to take you back to your posting to see any responses. All HP has is the ability to page through hundreds of pages of stuff in an LIFO order, so you post just keeps getting buried deeper and deeper.

        • by drsquare (530038)

          You should hope they copy the old slashdot system rather than the new one which doesn't actually work.

  • Or were they the ones whose users always posted responses to porn trolls on Usenet groups in the early 90's, "Add me to the list!" . . . "Me, too!"

  • It used to be that people heralded the internet as a death knell to the media conglomerates like ClearChannel and News Corps. Now we're seeing just how simple it is for even a dying internet presence to gobble up prominent venues for discussion, whether of technology (Engadget, TechCrunch) or politics (HuffPo). There's no reason to break out the tin foil hat just yet, but it's surprising how a left-leaning blog such as Huffington Post is not immune to a major league buyout. I'm sure many fans of the blog wi
    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday February 07, 2011 @10:25AM (#35125792)

      It used to be that people heralded the internet as a death knell to the media conglomerates like ClearChannel and News Corps. Now we're seeing just how simple it is for even a dying internet presence to gobble up prominent venues for discussion, whether of technology (Engadget, TechCrunch) or politics (HuffPo). There's no reason to break out the tin foil hat just yet, but it's surprising how a left-leaning blog such as Huffington Post is not immune to a major league buyout. I'm sure many fans of the blog will defend this acquisition as a huge increase in journalistic capability, and claim that the authors will remain as interested in maintaining an independent politic voice, but only time will tell.

      The thing is, people are mobile on the web. Network execs hated the invention of the remote control because they counted on people being too lazy to get up off the couch and change the channel. The last thing they wanted was the ability for people to change channels as quickly as the impulse hit them.

      And as far as the web goes, the content producers are just as mobile. If the Huff name dies, everyone can make the jump to a new site, easy-peasy.

      As for her selling the site, I suppose there's absolutely nothing illegal about it though it does seem to go against the basic assumptions someone would make about why she put it together in the first place. The assumption would be that it's intended to be a megaphone for getting progressive values into the public sphere, gaining suitable publicity, and any money-making activity there should be limited to the non-profit, self-perpetuating kind. But if none of that was spelled out in a charter and bylaws then there's nothing illegal about it even if it is terribly disappointing. Might be an impetus to put together something with those expressed interests instead.

      The thing that surprises me is AOL of all companies. I thought they were in their death throes.

      • this is italicized

        this is blockquote

        plain test

        Ok, looks like Italics don't work anymore but blockquote does. Once again slashcode amazes me. Didn't meant to steal the comment I was quoting above, tried putting it in italics.

      • by dachshund (300733)

        As for her selling the site, I suppose there's absolutely nothing illegal about it though it does seem to go against the basic assumptions someone would make about why she put it together in the first place. The assumption would be that it's intended to be a megaphone for getting progressive values into the public sphere, gaining suitable publicity, and any money-making activity there should be limited to the non-profit, self-perpetuating kind.

        I don't know that HuffPo ever promised its readers or contribut

        • by jeff4747 (256583)

          I suppose there's absolutely nothing illegal about it though it does seem to go against the basic assumptions someone would make about why she put it together in the first place. The assumption would be that it's intended to be a megaphone for getting progressive values into the public sphere, gaining suitable publicity, and any money-making activity there should be limited to the non-profit, self-perpetuating kind.

          Yeah, but the the anti-vaxx, alt-med and new-agey crap spewed all over the site, and there r

        • by jkauzlar (596349)

          The assumption would be that it's intended to be a megaphone for getting progressive values into the public sphere, gaining suitable publicity, and any money-making activity there should be limited to the non-profit, self-perpetuating kind.

          I heard it recently and I had to look it up just now: She was actually a republican in the 80's and 90's. Not only that, but she wrote a handful of articles for the National Review and was married to a republican congressman. I personally have no doubts that since that

      • by fermion (181285)
        The internet has certainly disrupted many media models and the purchase of virtual online assets by less virtual companies is part of this. Newscorp is putting huge investment into an iPad app because the other physical assets are going to performing less well over time. The Fox news channel will lose viewers quickly as the death camps kill the old people that make up most of it viewers. The purchase of the WSJ was only a stopgap as the journalism has been declining for years and now it is mostly just dr
      • by Raenex (947668)

        As for her selling the site, I suppose there's absolutely nothing illegal about it though it does seem to go against the basic assumptions someone would make about why she put it together in the first place. The assumption would be that it's intended to be a megaphone for getting progressive values into the public sphere, gaining suitable publicity, and any money-making activity there should be limited to the non-profit, self-perpetuating kind.

        People are so naive. The first basic assumption anybody should make is that people are in it for the money unless presented with strong evidence to the contrary. I'm sure it wasn't even declared as a non-profit.

    • by bjourne (1034822)
      You don't need a tinfoil hat. Pure old greed will do just fine. Sad really because Huffington Post was one of the few worthwhile who reported real news instead of Brittney Spears gossip.
  • For the Huffington Post, this was no doubt a ridiculously good offer. $300m cash for a web site, which has fairly good traffic but a limited amount of really unique content; they'd be idiots not to sell. The owners / investors make out very well, and future value becomes AOL's problem. Even (liberal, conservative) bloggers can do math well enough to know when it's time to sell out!

    On the other hand, I'm surprised that the activist investors of the world haven't been trying to force AOL to turn this cash
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday February 07, 2011 @10:24AM (#35125778) Homepage
    This reminds me of Disney's "take over" of Pixar, in which Pixar effectively took over Disney Animation.
    • There is no reason to look outside of the history of AOL for something like that. When Time Warner split off AOL everybody talked about "Why did Time Warner buy AOL in the first place?" when in fact AOL had bought Time Warner and then kept Time Warner as the overall corporate name.
  • Sure, the focus will be on AOL: Who? They have money? WTF?

    But to me it's about two things:

    1. Huffington Post was supposed to be some kind of independent voice. So much for that. Good job Arianna, sell your soul.

    2. Really? We need f'ing government regulators to "approve" the sale? That's what our country has come to, huh?

    • Ok, let me see if I've got this straight. You make two points: one to complain about corporate media consolidation, and the other to complain about the regulations that were once an effective barrier to media consolidation, before they were gutted by people who love them some corporate media.

      Do YOU see any inconsistency there?

  • So long HuffPo it was good to know ya' -

  • AOL buys SCO!
  • The Huffington Post totally belongs on AOL. I believe it’s one of the few “commercially viable” new sites, but I think it’s pretty awful. Misleading teaser headlines, Hollywood gossip obsessed, thin on content. ”You’ve Got News”. Not.
    • I've been reading HuffPo for a number of years and there is one thing that they do that is just so tacky, the "rate this picture."

      There are always topics like "The 10 best cities to raise a kid" and then pictures of each city and then everyone votes on which picture is best. What is the point of that? About 50% of the time they'll put up a picture of a different city than that indicated.

    • by solios (53048)

      This has been my experience with Huff - the last time I had the patience to wait for the front page to load, I was struck by the resemblance to USA Today. Just as tabloid, just as buzzword, just as bland - buckling under one of the most over-loaded information "designs" I've seen since the 90s.

      That the site design seems contrived to make the "good stuff" hard to find., that the visual clutter is a significant majority of any loaded page, that you can get a "liberal opinion" elsewhere with a bit of effort a

  • Thus begins Internet Bubble 2.0

    I mean, I read the news and thought they forgot to put a decimal point in front of the 3.

    0.315 million.

    Go go Huffington and all that, but damn, 315 million is a LOT of coin for a site like that.

  • went out of business in '94...
    • by Ant P. (974313)

      They did, but they repurposed their account cancellation call centre to handle the chapter 11 filing

    • went out of business in '94...

      You know how when you pick a flower you've effectively killed it, but it still looks alive and continues to function for a while?

      That's what happened to AOL in '94. Its time will come.
      -Taylor

  • Uh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Monday February 07, 2011 @11:07AM (#35126214)
    "The purchase will increase AOL's news portfolio"

    The Huffington Post is news? I always thought of it as a mega-blog of commentary. Perhaps there belays a shift in our cultural thinking as traditional journalism dies and commentary from biases become the norm and thus the only thing we can call "news."
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Raw news is valueless today. There's little advantage to being the first to break it when the other outlets can be echoing your story in minutes. It's as fungible as water. Commentary is brandable, and unique, and protectable though. That's where the value is.

      • by jav1231 (539129)
        Commentary is also subjective, though. And can be fraught with mistakes or omissions purposefully to express a point of view. Then again, even pure journalism can't tell the whole story, only give different perspectives. In the end, I'd rather have several perspectives from say witnesses than commentary from an author if I want the news. That's not to say that I wouldn't find the commentary valuable but I would want the story first.
    • by solios (53048)

      I hate to break it to you, but the shift towards "biased commentary" started with Walter Kronkite, if not earlier. Once the network execs figured out that viewers were trusting his face, voice, and delivery and were by and large fact-agnostic, that was basically the end of it.

      Twenty to thirty years ago you could still get actual news out of the newspaper or television. These days you gotta dig long and hard, intentionally and carefully, for the few nuggets lost in the slurry of spin, opinion, and the almi

  • Man, that streaming Bill Mahar video will really suck...

  • JAKE 671 at 5:25 AM February 07, 2011

    AOL absorbs AH, forming AHOL. PERFECT!

  • by Wireless Joe (604314) on Monday February 07, 2011 @12:05PM (#35126936) Homepage
    Daily Kos is in talks to be purchased by Adelphia, Crooks and Liars is being taken over by Net Zero, and TalkingPointsMemo will become a part of Earthlink.
  • I cant help but think that this will mean an end to the independence of the HP editorial staff.
    This sucks.

    • by ScentCone (795499)

      independence of the HP editorial staff

      By which, of course, you mean the editorial staff's strong political leanings and the web site's lefty culture? If that actually becomes more balanced, people who go there for their news aggregation will just go somewhere else. This is just the web site's founder doing what she planned all along, and finally racking up a big chunk of cash after setting out bait for an audience that swears they hate it when anyone makes a big bunch of cash. The irony is pretty great, though.

  • So Ariana Huffington collects $315 million for the website that agglomerates snippets dropped to her by leakers and other interested busybodies.

    Really, it IS the 'end of days', isn't it?

  • There's a reason one of the longest running USENET groups is alt.aol.sucks.

    AOL allows it's userbase unfettered access USENET: Eternal September [wikipedia.org]
    AOL merges with Time/Warner: Why it failed [publicradio.org]
    AOL billing practices: Just reverse the charges [consumeraffairs.com]
    AOL layoffs: Keep your bags packed [wordpress.com]

    Good luck HuffPost...you may need it.

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