February 7, 2011

Remember when it was fun to mock Arianna and her little HuffPo project?

Begun with $1 million, it's now being sold to AOL for $315 million, with Arianna reigning as as president and editor in chief.
By handing so much control over to Ms. Huffington and making her a public face of the company, AOL, which has been seen as apolitical, risks losing its nonpartisan image. Ms. Huffington said her politics would have no bearing on how she ran the new business.
What difference does it make? AOL as a brand meant something to me in the 1990s, but not now. Who cares whether AOL retains a semblance of political neutrality? In any case, mainstream media always feels pretty liberal, so why would anyone really notice. Now, that quote is from the NYT, so... think about it. The NYT would like to be the big news site that looks neutral (but satisfies liberals). HuffPo is the raging competition, which needs to be put in its place.

49 comments:

Charlie said...

AOL is still around? Oh well, it will still be fun to mock Zsa, Zsa....I mean Arianna.

Daniel Fielding said...

Well, I guess that fatso with the Greek accent will get even more insufferable.

The Drill SGT said...

what's her cut of 315? maybe 20% ?

Chris said...

Good for her, but she could sell Huffpo for 3.15 billion and the word I'd use to describe the site would still be "fluff".

Paddy O said...

AOL might be apolitical, but it's a whole lot like Yahoo. A really big innovator early on that beginning early in this millennium became less about innovation and more about gobbling up other innovators. And almost always, the innovations they bought out turned to dry dust.

AOL is also much more well known now for being the heavy weight that almost brought down Time Warner. Which used to be AOL Time Warner, until everyone realized the AOL brand was toxic.

But, Arianna was really always in it for the money (her politics shift with the opportunities to cash in), so she is the winner here.

This also totally makes sense after this weekend. The amount of .com ads in the Super Bowl for all kinds of random products and services made me feel like we were back in the midst of the .com boom. It was surreal.

Well, not exactly like the .com boom. The commercials in the heyday were much better. The ones yesterday were mostly disturbing and unfunny

TWM said...

AOL is so yesterday. Young people are ashamed to have an AOL email address, which I am told ranks far behind gmail and hotmail and pretty much any other email provider.

I never read Huffpo, and I can't imagine who does except a) liberals, and b) bloggers who look for moronic stuff liberals say so they can post about them.

Is that enough to make it worth $350 million?

AJ Lynch said...

Arianna is all about helping the poor and the middle class and the little children. I bet she will donate her windfall profits to the federal govt to help out some underfunded govt programs.

Hagar said...

AOL is apolitical? Who knew!?

Pogo said...

Good for Huffpo.

Must be hell for them to deal with that goddamned capitalism, though.

Like a fire-n-brimstone preacher sneaking out to get a back-alley abortion for his mistress.

Mary Beth said...

What your email address says about you. In my experience, people with aol email addresses seem to be stuck in the early 1990s internet-wise.

Chris said...

"I bet she will donate her windfall profits to the federal govt to help out some underfunded govt programs."

Stay away from casinos.

AJ Lynch said...

Chris:
LOL. Btw, I try to bet the opposite of my snarkasm.

MadisonMan said...

Mary Beth, what does my netscape.net email say about me?

bagoh20 said...

"Ms. Huffington said her politics would have no bearing on how she ran the new business."

Of course. Modern liberalism is a product. Nobody actually lives their life or runs their business by it. That would be suicidal.

Shanna said...

What your email address says about you.

Heh. My Yahoo email address says “I feel no need to change the email address I’ve had for 10 years just because gmail is cooler now”.

That said, if it were AOL I might change it.

PETER V. BELLA said...

What do you mean when it was fun? It still is fun to mock her.

Michael said...

Great transaction for AH and congratulations are certainly in order. Content remains key and she has provided it on a model that is very interesting. She attracts egos with bad ideas to write for free for an audience that perceives these pieces as intellectually stimulating. In another sense she has provided the right mix of bullshit and celebrity that is accessible by the non-cerebral left. Perfect fit for AOL.

edutcher said...

Maybe AOL will do for Puffington what it did for Time Warner.

Next to Kos, it's probably got some of the most hateful people in the world as adherents.

PS Good one, Mary Beth.

Pogo said...

Air America's old hosts must be spitting nails right now, including the Senator from Minnesota.

That shoulda been us.

SteveR said...

Wow, I haven't used AOL since I used a 14.4 modem

DocRambo said...

Cancelled my AOL account. Wonder how many others will do the same?

Alex said...

The staggering envy in this comment thread is staggering. I don't see any right-wing blog being sold for ANY money! Nobody would want it! This will help provide much needed cash for ACORN and MoveOn.Org.

caplight said...

Congratulations are in order for Arianna. She is proof that the American system of entrepreneurial capitalism works! Her recent life is a stinging rebuke to most of what her blog stands for at least in business and economics. And to those who complain about her ego, her pursuit of profits at the expense of political consistency, I say tough. Lots of wealthy capitalists are egotistical. She has simply found a market and effectively exploited it.

Ankur said...

caplight said.."She has simply found a market and effectively exploited it"

Bingo! That holds true for Fox News, for NYT, for any business really.

So, if you think the media is too liberal, maybe you should ask the market why they are still buying liberal media. And if you say that liberal media is dying - well then, again, the market gets what it wants.

The market might not always be right (or fair, or just) - but it still holds the final responsibility of how things are, in a free market society.

Coketown said...

Good for her. It just goes to show that a woman with a dream and an undisclosed divorce settlement from her super-rich ex-husband can still make it in this world.

J said...

. Arianna started off as a republican floozie. Now she's a demopublican floozie.

HuffPo may feature some "liberal" writers (actually, some of them quite good) but HuffPo's not really democratic, as in FDR/Truman/JFK democrats

Celebrity-liberalism should not be mistaken for the real thing (and ObamaCo itself about as corporate as Clinton--both opposed to New Deal tradition)

Hoosier Daddy said...

The market might not always be right (or fair, or just) - but it still holds the final responsibility of how things are, in a free market society.

Indeed. That is exactly why conservatives oppose reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.

Scott M said...

That is exactly why conservatives oppose reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.

Well, that and most of us consider it paternalistic and egotistical to assume that there are only two sides to any one issue.

Leland said...

I hope it works out better for AOL than Newsweek did for Washington Post.

J said...

The market might not always be right (or fair, or just) - but it still holds the final responsibility of how things are, in a free market society.


That's the teabagger/free-market line, typical of small business-persons--at least until Walmart comes into Podunkville, and Ma and Pa shoppes of all types are shut down in a matter of weeks.

Anti-trust/monopoly laws are on the books, anyway--which is to say, controls on robber-baron capitalism--but the demopublicans are not enforcing them. Bill Gates, Buffet, Ellison, Jobs, et al are hardly different than Carnegies, Rockefellers, and JP Morgans--just that robber-baron capitalism now has been cyber-ized.

Michael said...

"It just goes to show that a woman with a dream and an undisclosed divorce settlement from her super-rich ex-husband can still make it in this world."

Say what you will about the left, but they are united in their hatred of people with money. They believe that had they the dough they too would be successful. They are filled with envy and class hatred.

AH started this enterprise with a million dollars, not such a big deal in the real world. She spun it into 300 times that much in less than a decade. Well done!! And lefties who think they could do the same if only they had an "undisclosed" (the best kind!!) settlement of some sort? They don't have the talent or the energy and wouldn't begin to know how to get the money.

Quaestor said...

AOL is so yesterday. Young people are ashamed to have an AOL email address...

Absolutely, using AOL marks you as so far behind the curve as being in imminent danger of extinction. It's a fitting home for HuffPo.

J said...

It's always mysterious intangibles like...Talent and Energy, isn't it Mikey--. Not like ...being a rocket scientist, or doctor, or even schoolteachers.


Arianna more or less got all her millions following her divorce with her rich queer husband. Plus she knows like all the right westside people. Had little to do with talent but with....chutzpah and fortunate roll of the dice . A Demopublican success story.

Roux said...

I didn't know that AOL existed anymore. Huh?

Arianna "I didn't know my husband was gay" Huffington makes millions off of hating George Bush.

Michael said...

J: "That's the teabagger/free-market line, typical of small business-persons--at least until Walmart comes into Podunkville, and Ma and Pa shoppes of all types are shut down in a matter of weeks."

And what, you pistol packing hipster, is the leftie/stupid person line?

Michael said...

J: You do know, don't you, where she was educated? You do know, don't you, that she is, shall we say, smarter by far than you? And do you infer that doctor's and teachers don't need talent and energy?

Hoosier Daddy said...

That's the teabagger/free-market line, typical of small business-persons--at least until Walmart comes into Podunkville, and Ma and Pa shoppes of all types are shut down in a matter of weeks.

Ironically enough, Sam Walton was your quintissential Mom and Pop store owner who had the business acumen to turn a five and dime store into a retail superpower.

Staying in business means adapting, dare I say, change within the business environment. The idea that Mom and Pop should be able to charge ridiculous prices for cheap goods without facing competition is absurd or simply ignorant of how free markets work.

rollingdivision said...

$315 million, so it's safe to assume approximat­ely $157.5 million will immediatel­y go to charity?

Freeman Hunt said...

All the people I know who still have AOL are old.

And conservative.

I don't think they'll appreciate the new face of their news.

Paddy O said...

I hope it works out better for AOL than Newsweek did for Washington Post.

I hope it works out better for AOL than AOL did for Time Warner.

rick said...

When I first read the news of the sale, specifically the sale price, my immediate reaction was ah ha, the housing bubble has reared it's head in another form....the website bubble. Ain't capitalism great? Good for Zsa Zsa. Take the money and run baby. Oh wait, she's still in charge.

rick said...

BTW, the real Zsa Zsa is in bad shape. Gravely ill after having a leg amputated.

Skipper50 said...

Will AOL do to the Huff what it did to Time Warner?

Skay said...

From an article by Kyle-Anne Shiver in 2011--

"In 2006, one year after Arianna launched HuffPo, she was the beneficiary of millions in venture capital from Softbank Corporation, one of whose most prominent directors had a long history with George Soros. From the Forbes profile of Mark Schwartz:


From late 2002 until early 2005, he served as a senior advisor to George Soros and then as President and Chief Executive Officer of Soros Fund Management LLC. From 1979 to 2001, Mr. Schwartz served in various positions at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., including as Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asia, from 1999-2001, Member, Management Committee, from 1998 to 2001, and President, Goldman Sachs Japan, from 1997-2001. Mr. Schwartz was a partner of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. from 1988 until he retired in 2001. ... Mr. Schwartz currently serves as a director of Softbank Corp.


Another venture capital firm, which invested early and strong in Ms. Huffington's "radicalized" web initiative, was Alan Patricof's Greycoft Partners. Once again, there is a connection to Soros. From the financial/political links mapping site Muckety Maps, one takes away a clear picture of Patricof's relationship with George Soros through his brother, Paul.


Now, it's not so hard to fathom how millions and millions in venture capital have propelled a shallow socialite with an icky European accent into the annals of internet success. With the success of HuffPo, Arianna has proven herself, once again, to be the quintessential female opportunist."

Beldar said...

This is as stupid a deal as when Time-Warner bought AOL.

Nevertheless, one has to hand it to Ms. Huffington, who's managed to turn moderately good looks, a funny accent, and her status as the ex-wife of a rich oil man's son into a successful franchise for stupidity.

Beldar said...

(Her ex-husband's late father, the aforementioned oilman Roy M. Huffington, was someone I had the privilege to represent back in the 1980s, and he was among the finest men I've ever met.)

Beldar said...

@Alex: I'm not suggesting that the financial terms are comparable -- in the name of simple sanity, I'd certainly hope they weren't -- but you apparently missed the news of the recent transaction involving Hotair.com. And if you think Glenn Reynolds hasn't had offers to go corporate, you're badly out of touch with internet traffic stats and the market value associated therewith.

John Lynch said...

The most upwardly mobile Greek since Icarus continues her ascent.

Michael said...

I am no fan of the Huffington Post but my hat is off to AH. I find it odd that the comments focus on her inherited wealth and he gender versus her education (Cambridge) and her writing (multiple books) not to mention her talent in assembling this site and reaping the AOL crazy pricing.