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Hello? Michael Arrington? Fetch me a Non-Fat Latte.

February 7th, 2011 No Comments

This just in: AOL bought The Huffington Post for $315 million dollars.

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, in the DOT COM world, it’s pennies. (Ask Mark Zuckerberg.)

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about this….

I find it interesting that a HUGE content website was purchased for such a small amount.  And, as a result of the deal, Arianna Huffington gets to dominate the Not-So-Jolly Giant Mike Arrington.

Lost? Let me explain.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Huffington Post, it’s a news website that offers perspectives on current events as well as tawdry tabloid headlines (because that’s all anyone wants to know AND it generates traffic). HuffPo, as people endearingly call it, is fueled by Arianna’s personal Roledex of reputable journalists and writers who blog for free. Traffic is generated inorganically (meaning crazy SEO strategies) because they need the cash from advertisers. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t?

AOL’s CEO Tim Armstrong is quoted as saying, “[Arianna] is the best content-DJ on the web.” I’d agree that 24 million readers ain’t bad.

Without much info on hand, let me attempt to break down this purchase for you.

  1. $315 million seems like a bargain for HuffPo’s street cred. If that was all it took to buy it, the VC’s would have swooped it up a while ago.
  2. In the deal, according to Ad Age, they created the Huffington Post Media Group. In effect, Arianna will be the head of all of the AOL content properties, including Tech Crunch (run by ego-maniac Michael Arrington – you can bet he’s pissed) and Engadget, and Patch that are three of the largest tech sites online.
  3. Her position within AOL lead me to understand why she sold out for such a low figure.
  4. AOL is buying up everything cool and successful to save itself. (Please note this plan has failed for other multi-media brands in the past.)

Apparently they weren’t looking to join forces, but it seems to be a win win for everyone. Well, with the exception of the readers who will likely be bombarded with more ads and canned content.

Honestly, I look forward to see what they make of this merger. I don’t expect much. AOL bought Arianna to hang with the cool kids, and even though she now has more milk money, I think her 15 minutes are about up.

(Side note: I received this news FIRST from Anthony on Twitter, at least 10 minutes before Mashable posted it.)

This article was first published on my Houston Chronicle blog @HoustonSocial

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