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Posted at 1:31 PM ET, 02/ 7/2011

Huffington Post meets AOL: A media match made in digital heaven?

By Melissa Bell
huffington post
On left: Arianna Huffington (Mark Lennihan/AP); on right: AOL's Timothy Armstrong (Nati Harnik/AP)

The Sunday night announcement that a new marriage in the media world had everyone aflutter with its ramifications. Now that the Huffington Post is part of AOL, will the local news sites on Patch start hot fireman slideshows? Is this a brilliant move by AOL chief Timothy Armstrong? Will bloggers finally get paid by the Huffington Post?

A week ago, the master editorial plan of AOL leaked. It placed the editorial emphasis on page views and increased output by its staff. It seemed to show the company wanting to become a Huffington Post-type outlet with an eye on traffic, revenue and turn-around time.

So, it's not as big of a surprise the the company has taken the final step and fully merged with its role model. Last year, Michael Rosenwald wrote on the 25th anniversary of the company: "AOL, which is once again independent, having spun off from Time Warner last year, is trying to look ahead, searching for a footing in a world of blogs, social networking, targeted ads and tweets from airplanes." Perhaps with Huffington Post it has found that foothold. So far, the jury is still out:

Dan Lyons at the Daily Beast: "AOL's pseudo journalism, Huffington Post's minuscule ad rates, and editors with big egos and a tough boss will doom the just-created media company."

Ken Auletta of the New Yorker (whose daughter also works at the Huffington Post): "AOL's purchase of the Huffington Post is the equivalent of a fourth-quarter Hail Mary pass. ... I'm reminded of when AOL and Time Warner made similar claims for their 2000 merger. Beware. But by placing AOL's content efforts under the Huffington Post umbrella, Armstrong demonstrates that he understands that AOL can't win by gaining a few yards at a time. He had to scramble and throw a long pass, and he has."

Peter Kafka at All Things Digital: "Here, at least, both companies are trying to do the same thing: Make a lot of Web stuff at a low price, and sell ads against it. So maybe AOL + HuffPo won't equal 11. And maybe 10x Huffington Post's reported 2010 revenue is a very pre-Lehman multiple. But the broad strokes here make sense to me."

Steve Case, former AOL CEO, questions the math:

AOL to Buy Huffington Post; Tim Armstrong says "1 + 1 will equal 11" (NYTimes) http://nyti.ms/g3QFHN Really? That wasn't my experience.less than a minute ago via bitly

And then takes it back:

Why AOL + HuffPost Makes Sense http://bit.ly/fcc2SM I agree, makes sense strategically. Was just teasing about 1+1=11. Congrats Tim/Arianna.less than a minute ago via bitly

The snarky response from Nick Denton, Gawker.com's founder:

How convenient to have so many rivals gathered in one place.
http://gawker.com/5753578/less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

The requisite AOL CD response:

I just got a Huffington Post free trial CD in the mail. That was fast.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Sharon Machlis, managing editor at Computerworld, asks a question most writers want to know:

AOL to buy Huffington Post http://cwrld.us/ezYuSG Do you think bloggers writing for free for HuffPost will do so for AOL?less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Chris Lehmann, managing editor of Yahoo's News Blog, answers it:

Arianna note to contributors: "the only real change you'll notice" is "more people reading what you wrote." i.e., you still won't get paidless than a minute ago via web

And, finally, overheard by the Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal:

OH: "The 90s just acquired the early 2000s."less than a minute ago via Seesmic twhirl


In Huffington's letter on the merger, she wrote, "Far from changing our editorial approach, our culture, or our mission, this moment will be for HuffPost like stepping off a fast-moving train and onto a supersonic jet. We're still traveling toward the same destination, with the same people at the wheel, and with the same goals, but we're now going to get there much, much faster."

By Melissa Bell  | February 7, 2011; 1:31 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ken Lerer, chairman of Huffington Post, steps down
Next: What domain suffix would you register? #icannlove

Comments

I understand Aol are looking into also buying "HB Gary Federal" as it seems to be going very cheap.

Posted by: dannymega | February 7, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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