Democratic political consultants Peter Daou and James Boyce have sued the Huffington Post, claiming that Arianna Huffington and other founders took their idea for the site and never compensated or credited them.
Daou and Boyce had a lot of planning meetings with Huffington before the 2005 launch of the site, which was originally intended to be a liberal counterpoint to the Drudge Report. They sent Huffington a proposal for a site called fourteensixty.com that pitched features that were later implemented on Huffington Post, such as the inclusion of celebrity liberals as bloggers.
I haven't read the suit, but the story makes me question whether Daou and Boyce should prevail. The biggest weakness I see in their suit is that they waited six years to raise the issue and continued to actively blog for Huffington after they were allegedly ripped off. Peter Daou wrote numerous blog entries for the site from December 2005 to July 2010. Boyce contributed from May 2005 to Oct. 7, 2010, just five weeks before they filed suit.
Although they claim they could not speak out until now because of professional entanglements, I don't see why they would contribute unpaid work for years to a site that had stolen their ideas. I've had experience beginning a business partnership that was such a colossal error in judgment we ended up communicating only through lawyers. I reached a settlement, took my lumps and moved on. I didn't keep working on the project (for free no less).
I corresponded with Daou a few times back when he ran the Daou Report, a terrific political news site. His presence in the early stages of Huffington's existence could explain something I've wondered about -- how my blog ended up on the Huffington Post's original blogroll the day it launched.
The Vanity Fair piece and other media outlets covering this story keep saying that Boyce and Daou's site name was chosen because 1,460 is the number of days between presidential elections. So far, I haven't read any journalist who checked the math.
There are never 1,460 days between elections. There are either 1,456 or 1,463 days, depending on how Election Day -- the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November -- falls on the calendar. Daou and Boyce wrongly assumed that four 365-day years separate the votes.