A lot of the commentary about AOL's purchase of Huffington Post is coming from people who don't appear to have ever visited the site. Huffington Post is not a liberal news and opinion site, though that was founder Arianna Huffington's stated goal when it began in 2005. It's a massive search engine optimized pile of junk content with a little original news and commentary sprinkled in -- and most of that was written for free with no editorial oversight or quality control.
On Saturday, an unnamed Huffington Post employee wrote an article that perfectly represents the dreck that it publishes -- a story titled "When does the Super Bowl start?" Check out some of the fine journalism that AOL valued at $310 million:
Are you wondering, "what time does the Superbowl start?"
It's a common search query, as is "what time is the super bowl 2011," "superbowl time" and "superbowl kickoff time 2011," according to Google Trends the evening before the Super Bowl.
It's easily answered too. Super Bowl 2011 will take place on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time and 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
The NFC Champion Green Bay Packers will take on the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Early odds had the Packers as the favorites and both sides have several standout players.
Usher, Slash and the Black-Eyed Peas are scheduled to provide the Half Time Show entertainment.
You can watch the game live on television (FOX) or follow along live online via Twitter or the numerous live blogs on the Web, including one right here on The Huffington Post.
In the meantime, be sure to preview some of the Super Bowl commercials here and share your prediction for the game below.
When Huffington Post isn't running Google Trends-inspired searchbait like this, it's taking stories from other sites, copying big chunks of them and putting a search-friendly headline and lots of tags on it. This often leads to the site getting more traffic and higher prominence in Google than the originator of the news.
People who think the editorial vision of Arianna Huffington will be good for AOL media properties -- such as the recently acquired TechCrunch -- are kidding themselves. If Huffington follows the same blueprint for success that got her acquired by AOL, TechCrunch, Engadget and the rest of AOL's original web content will be search engine optimized, topic linked and ad saturated to oblivion.
Spud stopped going to HuffPo a coupla years ago when the wheat to chaff ratio became intolerable.
In many ways, AOL and HuffPo deserve each other.
> "It's a massive search engine optimized pile of junk content with a little original news and commentary sprinkled in ..."
Think Playboy's original business model. How many people really read it for the articles? Now, instead of centerfolds, the moneymaker is SEO-bait (Googleprn?).
I'd love to see Google or a competitor come up with algorithms that are a disincentive to these content farms. There has to be a way to use links from trusted sources -- or the lack thereof -- to rank news stories that are content farm junk.
I think content on HuffPo varies from soft-core pr0n to informed progressive narrative. It's a place where a writer can attract a lot of readers. I linked there just this week, to a piece by Van Jones that was optimistic, upbeat, and--yes--"progressive." I'm aware that the move from Arianna to AOL is a few more swirls down the drain and into the corporate cesspool, yet there was the article by Van illustrating a point I wanted to underscore. The google took me straight to it!
Anyway, I don't visit HuffPo for the informed prose much. I go there for the Hollyweird Soft Core.