AOL shelled out $315 million for the web start-up yesterday and it means they now control the biggest voices in online journalism – Techcrunch and Engadget which dominate tech world and now liberal online paper the Huffington Post.
It makes AOL one of the biggest content providers on the web – not only has it got its own portal of celeb news etc, but with the addition of HuffPo it gets one of the strongest online voices in politics etc.
Key rivals include Gawker and their portfolio of blogs like Gizmodo, Jezebel and Deadspin and then of course, the mainstream media – portals like the Guardian, the New York Times and the BBC.
HuffPo’s model of aggregation and comment rather than creation of content has become popularised and become the norm for web businesses, though its model of providing general news (rather than the more specific subject focussed stuff) hasn’t caught on so much.
Perhaps because the big traditional media outlets sharpened up their act and got online with their general news stuff. Perhaps because it’s easier to sell advertising if you’re in a niche.
However HuffPo did retain the traditional bloggy feature of a unified voice “a liberal prism” as the New York Times puts it. Something that separated the HuffPo apart from everything else out there.
When the New York Times’ paywall goes up – expected soon.. AOL’s manoeuvring for online dominance could be shown to pay off…