HuffPo CEO Eric Hippeau: ‘We Are Now In The Big Leagues’

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The news spread quickly, aided by PR and the characteristic web glee anytime an online property appears to be leaving old media in the dust: the September numbers for *comScore* and Nielsen showed Arianna Huffington and The Huffington Post beating WashingtonPost.com in unique visitors for the first time. Coincidentally, just about when I was explaining on Twitter why that’s a meaningless metric to me, I wound up scheduling some time with Huffington Post CEO Eric Hippeau for his first deep dive since moving from board member to running the show in June. (Turns out a project he championed — Social News with Facebook Connect — may have had the biggest single impact on pushing the numbers. More on that below.)

I kicked off the lengthy interview by explaining my take on the “beat WaPo” meme: an online site beating traditional media for attention isn’t really news anymore — and HuffPo is no longer only a news-and-politics site going head-to-head with WashingtonPost.com in its own backyard. Ever the diplomat, Hippeau said he could see my points but quickly added: “It wasn’t so much the Washington Post — by the way, it

7 Comments

Patrick Mersinger

Yes, but which one is making money and which is still trying to raise cash. Not bad for a website that just takes others content.

TrashoutPro

We are very happy that HuffingtonPost is doing well. Our website used articles from HF for our foreclosure news section, but now when our system tries to copy and paste the headlines, it also gets alot of extra not needed info along with the headline. This also happens when you do it manually. We had to stop using news feeds from HF. See if you can fix this.

Bettina Kozlowski

I agree with Henry 100%. HuffPost's stellar numbers may be due to the fact that it's steadily morphing into a National Enquirer -type outlet, with its overload of "screaming headlines" that have little to do with the original mission of the site. Celebrity bloggers get top billing over experts qualified to analyze an issue and entertainment news now competes with political issues. . And to add insult to injury, HP rips off content for free everywhere, thereby shortchanging the original publications, and, sigh, journalists. I wish all original sources charged HP a fee for reproducing their material and I sure wish HP had the decency to pay its contributors and please, pretty please edit out some of the 1,000,000 blogs, such as those from new age life coaches.

steve

yes, but when it does have clothes it whips the pants off most other online "news" outlets in speed and presentation.

Henry Copeland

Lots of good stuff in there Stacy, though I'm not sure WSJ, LAT and NYC are fair benchmarks when Hippeau places Huffpo "in the big leagues."

Check out Huffpo's "most popular" leaderboard. On a recent day, posts 2, 3 and 4 were “Shauna Sand’s SEX TAPE: Lorenzo Lamas’ Ex’s Explicit VIDEO ONLINE” and “The 10 Creepiest Unintentionally-Sexual Ads Of All Time (VIDEO PHOTOS)” and “January Jones Drinks Beer, Dons Leather, Says Ex-Boyfriend Ashton Thought She’d Fail.”

Maybe PerezHilton or TMZ are a better points of reference in talking about Huffpo's explosive traffic growth?

Last summer Huffpo was including page view data for their "most popular" list, but that disappeared. A "cover up" for the nudity? No doubt the "most popular" list will soon become simply "recommended." (Assuming there's truth in labeling.)

More data here: http://weblog.blogads.com/2009/08/25/huffpo-hides-its-skin-fixation/

When it comes to Huffpo, the Empress's content often has no clothes. :)

Staci D. Kramer

@Chris point made but he's referring to overall traffic there. WSJ also counts on reaching "free" readers for advertising — that's why traffic is many multiples of the paid online paid circ.

Chris Flynn

Interesting statement "“It wasn’t so much the Washington Post—by the way, it’s also the LA Times, it’s also the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. ".

Funny, 'free content' media versus the online (paid) edition of The Wall Street Journal. For my money and quality of content, I'll take The Wall Street Journal. I am not certain, but I would guess the subscription revenue of the WSJ online is about 10x that of all revenue at "HuffPo". I wonder who has the stronger, more credible brand and will survive in the long term?

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