Despite its recent hiring spree, the Huffington Post’s bread and butter is content curation. Their rationale to those creating the original is that they’re driving traffic back to the source so it’s actually win-win all around.
Yesterday, Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco took exception to that, writing that what’s really going on is isn’t so much fair use as unethical aggregation.
As an example, he looks at the traffic stats for an article he wrote that the HuffPo later picked up. End result, 57 new page views from people clicking through from the HuffPo piece to the Ad Age piece. By comparison, Techmeme drove over 750 page views.
Ender result: Hufffington Post suspends writer, apologizes for over-aggregated post.
In a letter from Peter S. Goodman, Executive Business Editor of AOL Huffington Post Media Group, to Dumenco, Goodman writes:
We have made a very substantial investment in original reporting here, bringing in dozens of new writers in recent months. And while we will continue to curate the news for our audience, what occurred in this instance is entirely unacceptable and collides directly with the values that are at work in our newsroom. We have zero tolerance for this sort of conduct. Given that, the writer of the offending post has been suspended indefinitely.
More broadly, your complaint has prompted us to redouble our efforts to make sure our reporters and editors understand that this sort of thing is unambiguously unacceptable.
Update: via SoupSoup, Dumenco Writes Back:
I have to say, though, that I’m disheartened by your decision to indefinitely suspend the writer who “over-aggregated” (in the words of Steve Myers at the Poynter Institute’s Romenesko blog) my post at AdAge.com. I’m certainly not alone in feeling this way. I imagine that, like me, you’ve been reading the reactions that have been rippling across the media blogosphere, and you’re finding that there’s general unanimity that HuffPo is singling out — indeed, scapegoating — a young writer for engaging in a style of aggregration long practiced, condoned and encouraged by Huffington Post editorial management.