Keith wants to know whether I, as a sometime Huffington Post blogger, think I have a claim to some of Arianna Huffington’s nine-digit profit from the HuffPo/AOL merger.
No, I don’t. Not at all. Not even a little part of me thinks it has a claim for even a little bit of the money.
Arianna risked a chunk of her cash on an on-line magazine that might easily have folded. She put her own energy into making it happen. In doing so, she provided me, for free, with a platform to promote my ideas (and, for that matter, the RBC).
Arianna never asked me – or anyone else, so far as I know – to write for HuffPo as a favor to her, or to serve some wider purpose. When it was advantageous to me to post there, I did so. Otherwise, I didn’t.
Back in the days when fresh blog posts went on the HuffPo front page until displaced by later posts, I discovered that I could cross-post something from RBC at 11pm Pacific time with a good chance that it would still be on top when folks on Eastern time started to log on. So I did so fairly frequently when I thought I had something especially interesting to say, and got a pretty decent audience. Then the system changed to eliminate that ploy, and I went on HuffPo less often.
I’d be inclined to make a moral claim on behalf of some of HuffPo’s worker-bees, but not for those of us who merely droned on. No one has ever mistaken me for a saint, but it doesn’t take an ounce of moral energy to avoid feeling any resentment in this case. There’s simply nothing to resent.
Now the people trying to make a living by getting paid for their writing on a piecework basis, or looking for salaried jobs as journalists, have a legitimate beef against the HuffPo business model, and for that matter against the unfair competition provided by bloggers who, like me, get paid in other ways. But that’s a different gripe, and part of the larger problem of paying for non-rival goods.
I’m delighted that a basically Blue site, on which I still have posting privileges, will now reach a fairly large and mostly Red audience. And I’m glad that someone with an interest in progressive causes now has somewhat more money with which to express that interest.