February 14, 2011

Ritholtz On Arianna Huffington Getting Rich Off Unpaid Writers

February 14, 2011

Ritholtz On Arianna Huffington Getting Rich Off Unpaid Writers

There’s been lots of chatter about how the top dogs at HuffingtonPost will get rich from AOL’s $315m acquisition of the site, and how that trend may continue because all the content is sourced from bloggers for free. Top-dog financial blogger and money manager Barry Ritholtz has a great take on this model that’s followed by HuffingtonPost, BusinessInsider, DailyBeast, etc.

Below are Ritholtz’s excerpts on what the big sites offer to bloggers, and the questions bloggers should ask themselves. And the full piece is a must-read for every blogger. Worth noting that it’s easier for a one-man content farm like Ritholtz to denounce big content farms, especially when his contributions to those farms helped him build his ability to stand on his own. I’ve thought about approaching bigger sites with The Basis Point’s content, but don’t have any extra time. Also, just starting year two, so still trying to focus on voice and consistent content flow without thinking about how writing for another site will change the voice. Thanks for the post Barry, very helpful.

In the present discussion, consider these various dangles made by content factories to me over the years:

1) You will get traffic back from the content site;
2) You’re building an audience;
3) You are enhancing your own personal brand;
4) You will raise your Google Page Rank
5) You are developing a reputation

If you currently “donate” your content to an aggregator, I suggest you should ask yourself the following questions:

1) Am I giving away content to a firm that received VC funding? What is their potential upside? What is mine?

2) Has the Dangle been met? Have the promises of benefits made to me occurred? I seeing substantial Traffic increase?

3) When I search for my own content on Google, is my site ranked below my own content republished by aggregators?

4) Is any enhancement to my brand or professional reputation coming from the aggregator’s site?

5) What benefits, if any, are accruing from republished content?