Re-evaluating HuffPo’s unpaid bloggers

On his Mixed Media blog at, Jeff Bercovici offers a new angle to consider in the recent lawsuit that unpaid writers have brought against the Huffington Post and AOL.

Bercovici starts off by acknowledging that, in terms of ad revenue, US$105 million is too high a value for the bloggers’ work, but he builds a good case for why their writing enriches HuffPo in a different way: by helping guarantee the volume of traffic that Google directs to the site.

He suggests that when Google changed the algorithm that determines its search results to try to exclude “content farms,” the Huffington Post was one of the sites that they wanted to target. But, since that change took effect, the amount of traffic that Google searches direct to HuffPo has actually increased by 8 per cent.

While a good deal of HuffPo‘s content is aggregated from other sites, there is enough original content — a significant portion of which is created by unpaid writers — to set it apart from other content-farm sites like and Demand Media’s properties. And so long as Google is still king when it comes to directing visitors to sites — and their ads — it’s hard for HuffPo and AOL to argue that these bloggers aren’t helping the site succeed.

Here’s hoping Jonathan Tasini‘s lawyers are reading Bercovici and taking notes.

Posted on April 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm by editor · · Tagged with: , , , , ,

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