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Apologies to Arianna

February 18, 2011 @ 8:50am

Lots of people are complaining about how everyone worked on The Huffington Post for free and how they should get paid now that AOL has paid $315 million for their work. Some have suggested $50 per post. Comedian Andy Borowitz tweeted:

My share of the Huffington Post sale, zero dollars, was a little disappointing.

This is nuts.

First, everyone who blogged for free on Huffington Post understood that they were being paid in exposure. Plus many of the famous people who blogged on it — like Larry David, Madonna, Harry Shearer, Robert Redford and Craig Newmark — don't need the money. When Blog Maverick was at Weblogs, Inc., no one paid Mark Cuban to blog. In fact, we never considered running ads on his blog because readers would think, "Does Mark Cuban the billionaire really need to make a nickel when I buy a DVD he links to?" Very tacky.

Second, the Huffington Post has a large paid staff. All of that viral, aggregated content on their site isn't being cranked out by Bill Maher and Neil Young.

Third, Jason and I should apologize to Arianna for setting a bad precedent. When we sold our own blogging company to AOL back in 2005, we gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bonuses to all of our active bloggers — and none of them had contracts for that.

Newer: Strategic Conquest

Older: I am so glad AOL bought the Huffington Post