Discussing the Huffington Post in his February 13th Monday Note, Frédéric Filloux states that “original publishers are giving the ‘aggrelooter’ the rope it will use to hang them.” He was prompted to make this statement by a post on HuffPo by a staffer amusingly named Jason Linkins. In his post last week Linkins says:
All day long, [the front page editors] receive emails from reporters, editors, publishers, publicists and flacks from organizations that include but are not limited to, the following: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, McClatchy Newspapers, the London Guardian, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News, C-SPAN, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, etc. Those emails all ask the same thing: Would you consider placing this content on The Huffington Post?
Is this the rope that will be used to hang original sources of news? Or are these editors and publishers using HuffPo for free distribution – distribution that in
other industries would normally cost money? Can these people really be acting so aggressively against their own interests, or are they rational actors in a new content ecosystem? Surely it’s the latter. While news executives argue about “aggrelooters,” those charged with driving traffic and ad inventory understand that the aggrelooters are really free distributors.