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HuffPo Reinvents the Media Wheel

  • Fortune, Wednesday, October 31, 2007 1:45 PM

Is Arianna Huffington reinventing the media business? As it's grown, the HuffPo's business model has morphed into something akin to "building communities around news content" by getting experts and influential people to blog about their specialties for free.

But who wants to blog for free? Apparently, 1,600 people and counting--all personally invited by Huffington to drop their two cents on specific topics from politics to entertainment to food. It's an ingenious business model, "cooked up with relatively little money" by Huffington and her fellow co-founders, and one that keeps overhead low because it only needs a small editorial staff. The unpaid guest-columnists are what really drive the site's popularity.

At last count in September, the HuffPo's user base was 3.6 million with 90 million total page views--about half that of The Drudge Report. The company doesn't disclose revenue, but one source estimates it could earn $4 million this year and as much as $7.5 million in 2008. The HuffPo only launched in 2004.

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