Before there was Twitter or WhatsApp there was AOL IM. Now it is being shuttered. When people wail about the dominance of Google and Facebook remember AOL, “You got mail” and they merged with Time Warner in a deal that capped the internet’s first boom. It was going to dominate the world once. Now it is a sad old legacy brand and we are waving goodbye to the yellow man…
Bloggers from AOL’s stable of online media titles are heading for the exits following the announcement that Verizon will acquire AOL for $4.4 billion. Within hours of the deal coming to light yesterday, writers from AOL’s media wing, which includes Huffington Post, Engadget and TechCrunch, were firing off speculative job applications. Who wouldn’t want to work for a phone company?
Verizon has a less than stellar reputation when it comes to running media companies. Last year they launched a tech blog called SugarString that explicitly banned its reporters from covering certain topics. Worryingly for HuffPo writers, SugarString was quickly shuttered…
According to the most read article on the Huffington Post this morning “If you type the key words ‘children’ and ‘bikini’ into an Internet search engine, you’ll find tens of thousands of results for child bikini contests.” In that sentence is the explanation for why the search engine optimised website is running a story – with a picture* – of an under-age girl in a bikini.
The editorially left-wing website campaigns against The Sun’s page 3 photos yet hypocritically boasts “Side Boob” – paparazzi pictures of celebs revealing more boob than they might wish – is the most popular part of the website. This is an attempt to have their cake and eat it, Carla Buzazi, the editor of HuffPo oversees a site with content bordering on soft porn that professes to be right-on when actually it is commercially cynical. It poses as a left-wing operation – going as far as hiring left-wing firebrand political commentator Mehdi Hasan – whilst simultaneously pretending to be a Luxembourg-controlled corporation to avoid UK taxes. In 2011 after AOL paid $315 million for HuffPo the unpaid blog writers filed a class action demanding a share of the payout. AOL fought the claim and paid the striking writers not a cent. Is Mehdi proud of his employer?
Former political editor Chris Wimpress has quit the site, he’d had enough and directly blamed Mehdi’s appointment, other staff are keen to escape and applying for jobs elsewhere. 5 staff have resigned in recent months, 3 without jobs to go to. Jimmy Maymann, AOL’s senior vice-president responsible for HuffPo told the Monaco Media Forum last week that AOL are unwinding the integration with HuffPo,“we’ve taken a step back — Huffington Post, within AOL, is a standalone business. Only with that way can you unlock the full potential…We are giving a two-year period to break even…” Claiming “right now AOL is a good owner for Huffington Post and we’ll keep it.” A signal the site could be sold by AOL in the not too distant future…
*We have blurred the image. HuffPo’s editor Carla Buzazi told Leveson that the site had joined the Press Complaints Commission and abides by the PCC Code of Practice, that picture almost certainly breaches the code.
How long before they join their US counterparts and have a whole section of the site devoted to “sideboob”?
UPDATE:HuffPo UK Editor Carla Buzasi is very passionate about this subject:
There’s been an awful lot written about women’s bodies recently. What with the endless articles devoted to Kate’s boobs, the revelation that the ‘average’ woman spends 17 years of her life on a diet, not to mention the ongoing political battle about who gets to decide when she keeps or doesn’t keep her unborn child. All in all, that’s a lot of column inches devoted to fatness, thinness and everything in-between. No wonder we’re all so f*cked up about our figures. The fascination with bodies, celebrity or otherwise, isn’t exactly something new, of course, and shows no sign of abating. But here’s a thought: why don’t we just stop?