The Note Huffington Sent to Her Bloggers About the AOL Acquisition

By Alexis C. Madrigal

AOL is buying the Huffington Post for $315 million, the companies announced last night. Arianna Huffington will become the editor-in-chief of all of AOL's content sites. As you might expect with such a big deal, there's plenty of speculation about the wisdom of the acquisition. Om Malik, for one, thinks it's not such a good deal.

This morning, thanks to a long-ago blog post for the Arianna's empire about the future of newspapers, I got the email in which the HuffPo team told their content creators what to expect going forward. The big takeaway? Nothing's going to be different: "That's the only real change you'll notice -- more people reading what you wrote."

Which may be a nice way of saying: hey bloggers, don't expect to make any money from your writing just because the company got bought for $315 million.

Here's the note in full:

We are writing with some very exciting news.  As you will see if you click on the HuffPost home page, The Huffington Post has been acquired by AOL, instantly creating one of the biggest media companies in the world, with global, national, and local reach -- combining original reporting, opinion, video, social engagement and community, and leveraged across every platform, including the web, mobile, and tablets.

Central to all of this will be the kind of fresh, insightful, and influential takes on the issues of the day that you and the rest of our bloggers regularly deliver.  Our bloggers have always been a very big part of HuffPost's identity - and will continue to be a very big part of who we are.

When the Huffington Post launched in May 2005, we had high hopes.  But we would have been hard pressed to predict that less than six years later we would be able to announce a deal that now makes it possible for us to execute our vision at light speed.

The HuffPost blog team will continue to operate as it always has. Arianna will become editor-in-chief not only of HuffPost but of the newly formed Huffington Post Media Group, which will include all of AOL's content sites, including Patch, Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, PopEater, MapQuest, Black Voices, and Moviefone.

Together, our companies will have a combined base of 117 million unique U.S. visitors a month -- and 250 million around the world -- so your posts will have an even bigger impact on the national and global conversation.  That's the only real change you'll notice -- more people reading what you wrote.

Far from changing the Huffington Post's editorial approach, our culture, or our mission, it will be like stepping off a fast-moving train and onto a supersonic jet.  We're still traveling toward the same destination, with the same people at the wheel, and with the same goals, but we're now going to get there much, much faster.

Thank you for being such a vital part of the HuffPost family - which has suddenly gotten a whole lot bigger.

All the best,

Arianna, Roy, David, and the HuffPost Blog Team

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/02/the-note-huffington-sent-to-her-bloggers-about-the-aol-acquisition/70854/