Why the Huffington Post Is Successful

Engaging Your Audience as Active Contributors and Promoters Was Baked into Its DNA

February 17, 2011

What can we learn from the success of the Huffington Post? How to innovate by challenging the assumptions in your industry and start from scratch. How to co-design a business strategy with your most influential customers and stakeholders. How to help your audience get what they crave: recognition and influence. We can also learn how to develop an online content strategy that leverages the seven best practices that the Huffington Post has practiced.


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.

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.

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?

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