Huffington Blog a Failure?

Nikki Finke pronounces the Huffington Post, less than a day old, a collosal failure.

Arianna’s Blog Blows (LA Weekly)

Judging from today’s horrific debut of the humongously pre-hyped celebrity blog the Huffington Post, the Madonna of the mediapolitic world has gone one reinvention too far. She has now made an online ass of herself. What her bizarre guru-cult association, 180-degree conservative-to-liberal conversion, and failed run in the California gubernatorial-recall race couldn’t accomplish, her blog has now done: She is finally played out publicly. This Web-site venture is the sort of failure that is simply unsurvivable, because of all the advance publicity touting its success as inevitable. Her blog is such a bomb that it’s the box-office equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar and Heaven’s Gate rolled into one. In magazine terms, it’s the disastrous clone of Tina Brown’s Talk, JFK Jr.’s George or Maer Roshan’s Radar. No matter what happens to Huffington, it’s clear Hollywood will suffer the consequences.

One wonders by what yardstick Finke is measuring. THP has no SiteMeter or other public hit counter but I’d hazard a guess that it had tens of thousands of visitors on its first day, more than most blogs ever get. They had write-ups in major papers, including WaPo. InstaPundit linked them.

Finke reports that many of the big names touted by Huffington’s self promotion for the site failed to emerge and that most of the usual suspect liberal financiers stayed away. Fair enough. Air America proved that a lot of hype and a few big names don’t guarantee success.

Still, while I remain dubious of the long term prospects of a 300-member group blog, Huffington should get more than a day to prove she can do it.


Update (1821): ‘Huffington Post’ Syndication May Start in Early June

NEW YORK Tribune Media Services will probably begin syndicating content within a month from The Huffington Post, the news site/group blog that launched today. “We expect to go to market with the daily package early in June,” said John Twohey, TMS vice president for editorial and operations, when reached this morning by E&P.

Twohey said author/TMS columnist Arianna Huffington — whose new site features about 300 celebrity bloggers from the worlds of politics and entertainment — will travel to Chicago tomorrow to confer with the syndicate about the upcoming package. Over the next few weeks, Twohey added, “we want to establish ways of working with Arianna’s editors to capture content every day.”

The syndicated version of The Huffington Post will be a “best-of” selection of small and larger items from the site.

Not a bad start, if true.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Brian J. says:

    Well, he did temper his criticism.

    He didn’t say it’s the box office equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar, Heaven’s Gate, and Town and Country.

    Because that would really suck.

  2. billy says:

    keep in mind these are the same fools who pronounce air america radio dead on the same week they open 6 new stations; bill o’reilly loses 1/3 of his audience; and rush limbaugh loses: 25% of his listnership, 10% of his hearing, and gains 50 pounds.

  3. joe says:

    The site was also linked by Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing. I’ve been there and will no doubt visit again, but I’m in no hurry to add her rss feed…

  4. carla says:

    Wow. Talk about prognosticationus prematurus.

    It’s been up less than 24 hrs. Jeez.

    Conservatives are just so negative.

  5. I probably wouldn’t use Air America as a reference point. They recently came back on the air in Chicago. Well, not really Chicago. More like 50 miles northwest of there, on a 2500 watt station.

    Nikki Finke’s comments are obviously intended to dispel the widespread belief that HP is written by elites. As we know, the elites stayed away. That is intended to make people think Arianna is one of The People and that she’s opposed by the real liberal elite.

  6. Kathy K says:

    Doesn’t look any worse to me than any other start-up blog. Some I’ve seen turn out great, some not.

    I’m taking a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude on this one.

    Though I’ll note that it does seem to be missing one thing I consider a very big plus — comments. (And yes, I do have the same complaint about

  7. McGehee says:

    I’m taking a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude on this one.

    Heh. I’m taking a “stay away and be happy” attitude.

  8. gold says:

    no way to post comments. not as fun.

    but it does have comments from elected representatives of the us government. alot better than some fat ugly blogger in their back room somewhere spewing garbage.

  9. Huffington’s site is like someone trying to make a chopper out of a Vespa. No soul.

    “I’ve got some other exceedingly interesting pieces up my sleeve…” – Now we know why Uncle Walter made his name on television instead of in print.

    And no comments? Not really a blog, then (and yes, that applies to Instapundit and Kausfiles as well). What’s Arianna afraid of? Some dainty celeb poster getting mauled by the lumpen proletariat? The chance of a good celebrity bashing was the only reason I’d consider visiting her website.