Clearly AOL’s purchase of The Huffington Post has created some ripples within AOL. The company has lost several high profile execs and editors since the acquisition. It appears some ripples have been created within the Huffington Post’s ecosystem itself as well. One publisher, who has contributed numerous articles to the site has called for a “strike”.
Bill Lasarow, Publisher and Co-editor of Visual Art Source writes:
When we were invited to become a Huffington Post blogger last year I understood that the company paid nothing. We surveyed our writers’ reaction to assess their willingness to have their material reposted there for no additional pay. Visual Art Source, ArtScene and art ltd. (http://www.visualartsource.com) form an umbrella art publishing company that is actually quite large by the standards of our very specialized field. The tens of thousands of readers and online users that we boast, however, are miniscule compared to the 26 million visitors per month that the Huffington Post currently draws.
Yet we are now going on strike. For now, at least, no more content from us will appear on the Huffington Post.
And just like the corporate titans of the American Right, it would come as no surprise if Ms Huffington, whom I am certain has a good heart and only the best intentions, were to assume the obvious position: Who needs these people anyway? They are not even employees.
So what does Lasarow want exactly? Two demands: a pay schedule proposal for contributing writers and paid promotional material not posted alongside editorial content.
Good luck with that.
According to The Wrap, Arianna Huffington herself responded to this at the PaidContent event this past week indicating that she didn’t think all writers should be paid for contributing content, and that the promotion attained from the syndication is payment enough. She reportedly compared it to guests who appear on political news talk shows. “Go ahead, go on strike,” she is quote as saying, adding that plenty of people will be willing to take their place.
She’s probably right. It’s highly unlikely that the Huffington Post will have any trouble attracting other writers. That’s not going to be the answer everyone wants to hear, but the site is huge and will have plenty of writers still jumping at the chance to submit posts for the foreseeable future.
These aren’t staff writers. The Huffington Post has those too. Even more so now, if you count AOL’s content in its entirety, which Huffington is taking over. The Huffington Post itself also runs stories from AP and Reuters (through paid syndication).