In May 2005, Arianna Huffington launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that paved the way for digital media and quickly became one of the most widely read media brands on the Internet.
The Huffington Post (sometimes abbreviated Huff Post or HuffPo) is a politically liberal American online news aggregator and blog that has both localised and international editions founded by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, Andrew Breitbart, and Jonah Peretti, featuring columnists. The site offers news, satire, blogs, and original content and covers politics, business, entertainment, environment, technology, popular media, lifestyle, culture, comedy, healthy living, women’s interests, and local news.
The Huffington Post was launched on May 10, 2005 as an overtly liberal/left commentary outlet and alternative to news aggregators such as the Drudge Report. On February 7, 2011, AOL acquired the mass market Huffington Post for US$315 million, making Arianna Huffington editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group. In 2012, The Huffington Post became the first commercially run United States digital media enterprise to win a Pulitzer Prize.
In July 2012, The Huffington Post was ranked #1 on the 15 Most Popular Political Sites list by eBizMBA Rank, which bases its list on each site’s Alexa Global Traffic Rank and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast.
In 2011, after its purchase by AOL, The Huffington Post subsumed many of AOL’s Voices properties (including AOL Black Voices, which had originally independently established in 1995 as Blackvoices.com, and AOL Latino). The Voices brand was expanded in September 2011 with the launch of Gay Voices, a vertical dedicated to LGBT-relevant articles. Other established sections, such as Impact (launched in 2010 as a partnership between Huffington Post and Causecast), Women, Teen, College, Religion and the Spanish-language Voces are also sorted under the Voices meta-vertical.
By late 2013, however, The Huffington Post was taking steps to operate as more of a “stand-alone business” within AOL, taking control of more of its own business and advertising operations, and directing more effort towards securing “premium advertising”.
In addition to columns by Arianna Huffington and a group of contributors such as John Conyers, Harry Shearer, Jeff Pollack, and Roy Sekoff, The Huffington Post has many bloggers—from politicians and celebrities to academics and policy experts—who contribute on a wide range of topics. Specialist contributors include spiritual author Craig Taro Gold and health expert Jeff Halevy.
Contributors to the site are unpaid, a fact which has engendered some controversy.
Celebrities are allowed to post blogs on the site, and a number have opted to do so over the years. In many cases, such as that of Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, content is cross-posted among multiple sites.
In August 2006, The Huffington Post announced that SoftBank Capital would invest US$5 million in the site, which had grown in popularity in only a year, to help expand it. Plans included hiring more staff to update the site 24 hours a day, hiring in-house reporters and a multimedia team to make video reports. Alan Patricof’s Greycroft Partners also invested. The news marked the site’s “first round of venture capital funding”.
The site has now invested in video blogging, with many of the site contributors contributing via video, capturing clips in the media and posting them on the site.
In November 2008, The Huffington Post completed US$15 million fundraising from investors to finance expansion, including more journalism and the provision of local news across the United States.
On February 7, 2011, AOL announced it would acquire The Huffington Post for US$315 million. As part of the deal, Arianna Huffington became president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, including The Huffington Post and existing AOL properties Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater (now HuffPost Celebrity), AOL Music, AOL Latino (now HuffPost Voices), AutoBlog, Patch and StyleList.