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The editor-in-chief of Huffington Post UK caused a mini Twitter storm last week when he told Radio 4 that unpaid journalism is more authentic, more real than a paid column.
This ignited pretty much the same debate that raged when HuffPo was sold to AOL in 2011. Many unpaid bloggers suddenly felt aggrieved that their work had lined Arianna's pockets.
But in 2016, this gaffe is more a lesson in PR than it is a chance to re-examine the economics of publishing.
Entries for The Digitals 2014 continue to roll-in as the deadline looms ever closer. The best submissions feature inspiring and innovative case studies from the digital world.
It’s not too late to enter though. You have until 24 September 2014 for your chance to showcase your team's finest work to the global digital and ecommerce community. Just click here for the entry form.
Perhaps you need some extra encouragement? A challenge, if you will.
Here I’ll be taking a look at last year’s winners, highlighting their triumphant victories and throwing down the gauntlet in order to see you puff up your chest, roll up your sleeves, remove your spectacles and say, “Oh yeah! Well we'll see who’s the best!”
Here are last year's most impressive victors. Now show them who's boss.
The latest update to Econsultancy’s Internet Statistics Compendium sees the usual batch of hand-picked data gems.
This month, the Social Media sub-report of the compendium saw some particularly interesting stats about engagement (from SocialFlow), how US Fortune 500 companies are using social networks and blogs (Umass) and research which will likely be of interest to businesses and household web-users alike released in August by Fractl.
For many media buyers, the more prominent the ad, the better the ad.
Case in point: earlier this year, GM pulled its paid campaigns on Facebook in a very public way prior to the social network's highly-anticipated IPO.
The back story: Facebook had rebuffed GM's demand for bigger, bolder ads.
The next big (read: nine-figure) consumer internet acquisition may involve an unexpected buyer - CNN.
According to Reuters' Felix Salmon, the Time Warner-owned cable news network could announce as early as Tuesday that it is acquiring Mashable, one of the most popular tech/social media blogs for a figure that could be north of $200m.
The Huffington Post UK is launching branded blogs at the start of next year, mirroring a service already offered by its US counterpart and Forbes.
The US version of Huffington Post already offers brands the chance to blog, providing a new form of advertising to clients like BMW.
After being bought by AOL for $315m, it's safe to call The Huffington Post one of the most successful new media ventures to date.
The HuffPo's rapid rise and nine-figure acquisition is all the more incredible because of the fact that much of the HuffPo's content is created by unpaid contributors.
Lured by the promise of being able to write for a massive audience, experienced and often-recognizable individuals helped Arianna Huffington build the HuffPo into what it is today.
Yesterday's surprise announcement that AOL is buying The Huffington Post for $315m sent shockwaves through the blogosphere.
The deal is not only one of the biggest in the consumer internet space in the past several years, it's one of the biggest online publishing acquisitions ever involving a 'blog'.
If you're the head of a struggling newspaper, The Huffington Post has an enviable business model. While content production is almost always the greatest cost in running a publishing/media business, it largely relies on the writing of an unpaid army of contributors. The value proposition the HuffPo offers them: exposure to a very large audience.
It's a model that has been the source of controversy. After all, the HuffPo is a for-profit business, yet it doesn't pay the vast majority of the individuals who labor for it. That's an especially interesting thing for a company founded by a person who wrote a book entitled "Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America."
The Huffington Post, with its legion of unpaid contributors, has provided a controversial model for journalism and publishing in the digital age. Despite the controversy, it's hard to argue that the Huffington Post hasn't had some success with its model thus far.
The model has apparently worked well enough to interest stodgy old publishers to get in on the act. According to a tweet from Forbes editor David M. Ewalt, Forbes.com will soon see its own brand of the HuffPo model: standard journalistic fare supplemented with "a level 2 bottom of the pyramid: 1000s of outside contributors."
According to Arianna Huffington, writing for her website takes as much energy as lying on the couch to watch TV. Speaking at the CMSummit in New York, Huffington explained that people write for her website for fun and don't need to be paid.
As she says:
"Self-expression has become the new entertainment."
So much for the future of paid journalism. But at least she's consistent. As much as Huffington doesn't think writing on her site is worth paying for, she doesn't think readeres will be willing to pay either.
Everyone and their mother is trying to tap into the real time feed of Twitter. And many brands are attempting to make money from real time. While search giants like Google and Microsoft are encorporating real-time information into their search results, Huffington Post went straight for the content feed this week, encorporating tweets onto the sites pages and possible serving ads alongside.
But here's the catch. They didn't ask for permission first. And tweeters were less than pleased.