Wired News columnist Adam Penenberg says naysayers — including himself — were wrong about projections of failure for Arianna Huffington’s online empire. “Not only has Huffington delivered on her promise to create an ‘innovative group blog,’ she has created a viable business,” he flatly states. His gauge? Traffic. The Huffington Post, which debuted May 9, had 700,000-plus visitors in its first month; syndication deals with AOL (NYSE: AOL), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and Tribune Media Services boosted that more than 60 percent to nearly 1.5 million users viewing some 10 million pages. Penenberg interviews Huffington but it’s all about the journalism, not whether that traffic is being translated into dollars or how users are accessing The Huffington Post or whether the bulk of the traffic goes to the group blog or the news feed. For the record, HuffingtonPost.com tells prospective advertisers they can reach 800,000 monthly visitors. It uses Google (NSDQ: GOOG) AdSense and offers a mix of banner and display ads; no RSS ads in the feeds I get.
Not that I’m doubting the viable-business notion, mind you, just thinking about former web operations that equated traffic with success.