Eqentia Content Curation Platform

Personalization Pays Off

February 24, 2011

Our product review of the Eqentia content curation platform provides insight into the capabilities provided to B2B marketers in uses ranging from improving SEO and nurturing leads to gathering competitive intelligence. Eqentia stands out for its focus on business and technology content, including human curation of sources, and the tremendous productivity it offers information consumers through exploration of custom content streams with faceted search and personalization of Web pages.


On February 7, 2011, AOL announced the purchase of the Huffington Post for $315 million ($300 million of which will be in cash). Privately-held HuffPo’s valuation is reportedly based on 10x projected 2012 earnings and/or 5x trailing revenues.

Launched on May 9, 2005, the Huffington Post has become one of the world’s most successful online media sites. The Huffington Post reports its traffic at “close to 25 million” unique visitors each month. Hundreds of famous, influential, and insightful people blog on the Huffington Post each month, garnering 4 million reader comments per month.

AOL also announced that, as soon as the merger is finalized (in 45 days), HuffPo’s namesake, co-founder, and editor-in-chief, Arriana Huffington will become president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which will include all Huffington Post and AOL content, including Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, AutoBlog, Patch, StyleList, and more.

One of the biggest questions everyone is asking themselves is: Will HuffPo continue to attract the number and caliber of volunteer bloggers and commenters that has made it such a successful new media property?” There are two parts to answering that question:

1. Why do so many thought leaders blog for free on HuffPo?

2. Will they continue to do so when it’s part of AOL?

Will the Huffington Post and its co-creators—all the active bloggers and pundits who have the habit of reading and posting on HuffPo—survive the transition to AOL? Or will its co-creators defect, to be replaced by a different group of commenters and readers?

The Huffington Post.com

© 2011 The Huffington Post.com, Inc.

The Huffington Post combines original reporting and breaking news with thought leader-contributed content and reader commentary in an equal balance. It’s free and advertiser-supported. It’s extremely well-designed for easy browsing and online reading with seductive serendipity.


Starting from the Outside In: Assume Customer Co-Creation

When Arriana Huffington, Kenneth Lerer. and Jonah Peretti founded the Huffington Post in 2005, they understood many things about new journalism that old media incumbents failed to grasp. Arriana had a deep understanding of the magnetic attraction that comes from networking powerful and influential people and getting them to air their views publicly on the critical issues of the day. She was able to create and to amplify her online “salon” through her tireless promotion and her own controversial stands and analysis. The Huffington Post was carefully crafted as a platform to attract powerful and articulate voices—people who want to speak out and who want to be heard on issues that matter to them. HuffPo was a media property designed to become an influential online salon with two-way interactive tentacles that reach out into all media platforms—network and cable TV, magazines, newspapers, the blogosphere, and social networks.

The Huffington Post did many things right. Whatever its fate within the AOL umbrella, it will live on as a success story and mark a turning point for journalism and digital media. Within less than six years—from 2005 to 20101—the Huffington Post has defined success in online media. The HuffPo’s winning recipe:

  1. Invest in original, professional journalism that takes a stand on the things that matter most to readers on a wide variety of topics (politics, business, media, entertainment, comedy, sports, style, world, green, food, travel, tech, living, health, divorce, arts, book, religion, education, etc.).
  2. Surround your own authoritative content with excellent content curation, pulling the best of the best from all media sources (broadcast and cable TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, internet-only multimedia—movies, audio, albums, podcasts, etc.). Showcase other publishers’ content with strict adherence to copyright “fair use”—with short snippets, accurate attribution, and links back to the source which will generate traffic for those media properties. Soon, they’ll be pounding on your virtual doors offering you content to showcase.
  3. Cultivate thought leaders. Attract experts, opinion-leaders, and articulate analysts and pundits to write about what matters to them, to comment on the content you provide, as well as to co-curate content that matters to them. Entice these savvy commentators with a large, thoughtful audience. It’s the audience interaction and appreciation that insightful people crave, more than financial reward.
  4. Ensure great organic search placement by paying attention to what matters most to search engines: the number of links from other influential sites and the amount of actual human, social conversation that swirls around each piece of content.
  5. Promote “stickiness” by encouraging readers to interact with content and to share it with friends and by providing serendipitous paths to follow to more interesting and engaging stories. Engagement is seductive. So is serendipity. The HuffPo team appreciated both forms of seduction.
  6. Design your underlying technology to make blogging and curation easy for readers. Integrate social networking to promote sharing. Measure everything!
  7. Monetize through advertising. Don’t charge for content, subscriptions, or memberships. Make sure that the advertising doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the content.

This recipe sounds easy to replicate. But it may not be that easy to reproduce if you don’t have HuffPo’s DNA and the benefit of its six years of organizational learning.

It’s too early to tell whether Arriana Huffington will be able to not only sustain and build on the success of her namesake media property, but also to replicate that success in AOL’s other media properties. However, it’s a good time to reflect on what made HuffPo successful in order to see what you could apply to your own media business and/or content aggregation or curation efforts....


1) Note that Facebook’s meteoric rise paralleled that of the Huffington Post between 2005 and 2010. (Accidental Billionaires?). HuffPo became the guinea pig for many of Facebook’s interconnect initiatives.


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