Monday, June 1, 2009

Fast facts about HuffPost


The following is meant to provide the newcomer with a quick-reference guide to vital data about the
Huffington Post (“HuffPost”), its claims about itself and its users, etc.

It is divided into two sections:
SUMMARY, for a brief overview, with references to...

DETAILED DATA, the organized body of research upon which the Summary is based, along with contextual, fact-based commentary where appropriate

  • Unique visitors per month: Has grown from estimated 2.6 million in 2006 to 9.4 million in September 2009 (surpassing the Washington Post). Section 4.

  • Revenue model: HuffPost does not charge users to read articles or post comments on its site. Its revenue is generated from advertising, which is based on page-views. In summary, the more users who view its pages, and the more comments posted by users (who then refresh their screens), the more HuffPost is able to charges in advertising fees.

  • Web ranking: In America, it is the 15th most popular political website, and 98th most popular website of any kind. Globally, it is the the #1 blogsite, and the 450th most popular website of any kind. Section 4.

  • Political slant: HuffPost stated at its inception, and states to this day, that it is nonpartisan in both its "news" coverage and comment moderation practices, and that opinions are relegated to its blogs. The evidence, however, demonstrates that it regularly presents news and information from a left-wing, anti-Israel, Islamist-sympathizing perspective. And as is documented here, HuffPost has been extremely partisan in its comment-moderating practices, in that it enables and protects radical leftists to "live" on the site and violate its Comment Policy and Terms of Service at will. At the same time, HuffPost has censored/banned non-violating users who have dared to challenge/oppose them, some --- after as few as six comments. Sections 1, 2, 3, 6.

  • Special demographic note: An estimated 1.5% (135,000) of HuffPost's unique visitors per month live in Iran and Pakistan, two of the nations that are most responsible for fermenting, exporting and supporting global Islamist terrorism. Section 4.3.

  • Political influence: Significant. On November 21, 2008, Arianna Huffington publicly claimed (for the first time), “I only text (message) three people - my two teenage children and Barack Obama.” HuffPost has been called on twice in recent presidential news conferences (the first for any blogsite), and has top members of Congress as official bloggers, some of whom publish articles discussing important government hearings, reports, etc., that are going to be making news the same day. Most recently, top Republicans in Congress have begun blogging at HuffPost --- despite their belief that they will be savaged by its headline writers, bloggers and commenters. Section 6.

  • Advertisers: A broad spectrum of the biggest corporations in the world, including automakers, insurance companies, financial services firms, clothing makers and retailers, consumer product manufacturers, national restaurant chains, telecommunications firms, travel services, hotels and more. In mid-2009 announced enlistment of external sales firm to market ads outside of U.S. Section 7.

  • Media partnerships: Numerous, including Discovery Communications, InterActive Corp., The History Channel, ESPN, NewsTrust, The Atlantic Philanthropies ("investigative journalism" project), Tribeca Film Festival, others. Section 8.

  • Most recent venture capital investment: $25 million in late 2008 from Oak Venture Partners. Section 9.

  • Estimated market valuation: $100-$112 million. Section 9.


(1) HuffPost-authorized description of itself

(2) HuffPost's claims of nonpartisanship in its news coverage and comment moderation standards

(3) HuffPost's sales pitch to prospective advertisers

(4) HuffPost user traffic, growth, and visitor location data

(5) HuffPost's site structure

(6) The political evolution and "legitimization" of HuffPost

(7) Partial listing of HuffPost advertisers

(8) HuffPost's media affiliations

(9) Other data re HuffPost


(1) HuffPost-authorized description of itself


As noted in Section A, and particularly A(4), here, HuffPost has yet to publicly publish a definitive description of itself --- including even on its "About Us" page (which has only contained a list of its employees, for years). This stands in stark contrast to other major political web/blogsites, which clearly identify what they are "about."

Thus, alternative means of finding an answer was required.

An Internet search revealed that the most comprehensive description we could find of HuffPost appeared on a June 2, 2008 press release, announcing their "partnership" in "covering" the 2008 presidential campaign. Typically, when two organizations announce any kind of a joint effort, each party has the duty to ensure that it either provides, or authorizes, the way it is described in any press releases. Based on this, we assume the following was either provided by, or authorized by HuffPost (emphasis added, and content broken into paragraphs for ease of reading):
"About The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is a news and opinion website which in three years has become an influential media brand -- "The Internet Newspaper."

The site offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living and green, and is a top destination for news, blogs and original content.

The Huffington Post ("HuffPost") has over 10 million unique users each month and is the most-linked-to blog on the Internet, per Technorati. HuffPost has an active community, with over 500,000 comments made on the site each month.

The Huffington Post has
1,500+ influential bloggers -- from celebrities and politicians to academics and policy experts -- who contribute in real-time on a wide-range of topics making news today, including: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Wesley Clark, Nora Ephron, Ari Emanuel, Mia Farrow, Russ Feingold, Al Franken, Gary Hart, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Bill Maher, Nancy Pelosi, Margaret Cho and Alec Baldwin.

A comprehensive list of the contributors to The Huffington Post can be found in its bloggers index:"

Also, as noted in Section (4), and based on the premises listed above, HuffPost apparently describes itself on Alexa (a website traffic monitoring site) as:
"Offers syndicated columnists, blogs and news stories with moderated comments."


(2) HuffPost's claims of nonpartisanship in its news coverage and comment moderation standards


As is documented throughout Section (A) here, HuffPost has repeatedly deflected criticisms (Section [B] here) that its "news" coverage is partisan in any direction.

Here are some of HuffPost's public statements regarding its alleged nonpartisanship:
"[T]he news is not right-wing news or left-wing news, it's the news. And that will be the sensibility, that will basically permeate our news coverage."

"The editorial stance of the Huffington Post is to debunk the right-left way of thinking."

"(W)e are increasingly seen ... as an Internet newspaper, not positioned ideologically in terms of how we cover the news.”

According to HuffPost, its news is played "straight," while opinion articles are relegated to the blog section of the site.

HuffPost also has claimed, and continues to claim, that it is nonpartisan in its comment moderation policies.
For example, HuffPost
claims on both its FAQ: Comments & Moderation and Comment Policy pages that:
"We never censor comments based on political or ideological point of view."

The following screens from the above links were captured and highlighted on June 25, 2009:

Huff-Watch contends that the documentation it has amassed demonstrates that all of the above are absolutely not the case.
Regarding HuffPost's supposedly nonpartisan "news" coverage:
Archive of false/misleading HuffPost headlines

Archive of anti-Israel, ant-Semitic bias, libels and hate at HuffPost

Regarding HuffPost's supposedly nonpartisan comment moderation procedures, this detailed report documents how it has established a de facto three-tier "caste" of users, based on their political ideology (and the volume of comments they post), to whom it applies its "rules" according to starkly different standards:
HuffPost's protection of the most egregious violators of its "policies" --- and its banning of non-violators --- often on a minute-to-minute basis

We further contend that it is largely upon these false claims of nonpartisanship, combined with its traffic statistics, that has enabled HuffPost to garner major advertiser support, while other prominent and aspiring political blogsites --- which state their biases up front --- have been unable to do so (*see Section A[4] here).

Section 3 further bolsters this argument: that HuffPost also fails to disclose its biases in its initial (very brief) pitch to prospective advertisers.


(3) HuffPost's sales pitch to prospective advertisers


Many major political websites offer easy, downloadable advertising kits, containing its pitch, research data, etc. HuffPost does not offer this. The only source for information on advertising at HuffPost is found via its "Advertise" link, at the bottom of the page, which reads (in its entirety):
"Reach over 20 Million thought-leaders!

"The Huffington Post attracts a large, affluent, educated audience of opinion leaders.

"With The Huffington Post's recent editorial expansion, marketers can advertise in the content environment that best complements their brand, e.g., Business, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Media, Green, Style or Politics.

"Additionally, our sales team can provide powerful, customized sponsorship and integration ideas in addition to "standard" advertising plans.

"For more information on how to partner with The Huffington Post, email James Smith, Chief Revenue Officer, at"

The following screens were captured on June 26, 2009; red arrows at right show that as claimed, this is HuffPost's entire "Advertise" page (and not an excerpt of it):


(4) HuffPost user traffic, growth, and visitor location data


HuffPost has experienced phenomenal growth in user traffic since its opening, in May 2005.

According to Nielson, as reported in Time, in February 2009 HuffPost "became the 15th most popular news site, just below the Washington Post's and above the BBC's." By September 2009, HuffPost had surpassed the Washington Post's monthly user traffic.

Technorati (a blog research firm) claims that that HuffPost is the most popular blogsite in the world, a distinction it has maintained for some time.
Reported unique monthly visitors to HuffPost:
  • October 2006: Unknown to 2.6 million (here)

  • October 2007: 1 million - 3.6 million (here)

  • November 2007: 1.4 - 4 million (here)

  • May 2008: 4.7 million (here)

  • February 2009: 8.9 million (here)

  • September 2009: 9.4 million (here; surpassing the Washington Post; this stands in sharp contrast to another claim by HuffPost that it has 24 million unique monthly visitors, here)

  • March 2010: Business Insider reports two very different unique monthly visitor traffic stats in the same article: 40 million, and 9.8 million.


The following data was accessed through Alexa (a website traffic monitoring site), on June 26, 2009.

According to the following Alexa screen, HuffPost is now ranked as the 450th+/- most popular global destination on the Web:

(4.2) In terms of raw global reach, according to the following Alexa screen, slightly less than 1/4 of 1% of the world's Web users visit HuffPost. As there are approximately 3 billion Web users in the world, this translates into an estimated 70 million people globally who have visited HuffPost.

(4.3) Given that much of the content on Huff-Watch deals with our allegations of severely biased, if not overtly anti-Israel, pro-Islamist, anti-U.S. military (1, 2) "news" stories at HuffPost (and its willingness to approve, publish and even protect user comments containing vicious propaganda and blood libels), is worthwhile to consider HuffPost's "reach" in "the Muslim world."

According to the following Alexa screen, as of June 26, 2009,
2.1% of HuffPost's traffic comes from three Muslim-dominated nations: Iran (0.8%), Pakistan (0.7%) and Indonesia (0.6%), within which an estimated one-third (433 million) of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims reside:

Assuming that by June 2009 it had reached 9 million unique visitors per month, this would mean that an estimated 135,000 (1.5%) of HuffPost's monthly visitors reside in the two nations that are the world's leading fermenters and exporters of Islamist terror: Iran and Pakistan.

According to the following Alexa screen, HuffPost is ranked among the top 1,100-1,700 most-visited websites in Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia:


(5) HuffPost's site structure


HuffPost's website structure is described in detail here.

The graphic below, produced of the December 31, 2008 front page of HuffPost, provides a snapshot overview:

The design itself is indicative of HuffPost's original (and continuing) claim: that its news and opinion sections are divided by a clear line --- in this case, that "news" items are positioned at the top of the page and down the center column, while opinions are secured along the left margin.

Yet as is documented throughout Huff-Watch, the way that HuffPost "plays" its news stories --- from the sources it chooses to rely upon, to the way it crafts its headline copy and accompanying photographs, to the comment moderation practices it employs --- collectively comprise a subtle, unannounced, yet unmistakably partisan ideology.

Given HuffPost's global user traffic, its political access and influence, and the "legitimacy" granted it by major advertisers, this unannounced bias is a source of major concern --- not just for Huff-Watch, but for others who pay close attention to HuffPost's "news" coverage.


(6) The political evolution and "legitimization" of HuffPost


HuffPost is alone among political web/blogsites in accomplishing the following, in its four years of existence:
  • Being called on to ask questions twice in presidential news conferences (including, most recently, in what has been reported as a coordinated stunt to ensure its "reporter" got priority)

  • Publishing exclusive articles (blogs) by top members of the U.S. Congress --- including regarding important events that were about to take place the same day

  • Obtaining exclusive, one-on-one interviews with members of Congress

  • Featuring exclusive blog articles by influential members of governments, non-government organizations and others with influence over governments, from around the world

To understand this meteoric rise by a web/blogsite barely four years old requires an in-depth look at key aspects of HuffPost's history, based on documented facts, and contextual commentary. Huff-Watch features a supplemental article that addresses this issue, specifically and exclusively:
The political evolution and "legitimization" of HuffPost

The reader is encouraged to read this article in its entirety before proceeding.


(7) Partial listing of HuffPost advertisers


If one peruses the articles here at Huff-Watch, s/he will see screen captures of HuffPost pages containing top-line advertising from major corporations from around the world.

The following is a partial, alphabetical listing of HuffPost's advertisers. Tthe first link contains an image of the ad in the context in which it appeared on HuffPost. The additional link(s) to the right take you to the article on Huff-Watch which addresses something having to do with what the advertiser was being featured alongside --- and was supporting (whether knowingly or otherwise). Notably large advertisers are featured in bold:
AARP (here; here)
AT&T (here; here; here)
Al Jazeera (as a source cited for news story here)
AllTel (here)
American Airlines (here)
American Cancer Society (here)
Audi (here)
Bowflex (here)
Capella University (here)
Ditech (here)
Domino's Pizza (here)
Dunkin' Donuts (here)
Eurostar (here)
FX (here)
Ford (here; here)
FunJet Vacations (here)
JetBlue (here)
GM (here; here; here)
Gillette (here)
Levi Strauss (Dockers; here)
Liberty Mutual
(here, here)
MediFast (here) (here)
Microsoft (here)
Nabisco (here)
Neiman-Marcus (here)
Netflix (here; here)
Pizza Hut (here)
Proxy Networks (here)
Quizno's (here, here)
Reckitt Benckiser (Airwick; here)
Sheraton (here)
Shell Oil (here)
Staples (here)
TIAA/CREF (here)
T-Mobile (here)
The Outer Banks (here)
University of Phoenix (here; here)
Verizon (here)
Vonage (here; here)
Walden University (here)
Zecco Trading (here)

What is truly remarkable in all this is that HuffPost has attracted the support of advertisers such as those listed above (and many others), whereas other large and mid-size political blog/websites have not. The difference is not only user-traffic; a number of sites on the left and right have heavy traffic.

For example, DailyKos is a self-professed website devoted to leftist advocacy; ditto for DemocratUnderground (more here), and both get significant traffic. Yet neither have any "brand-name" advertisers. Same for smaller sites such as FireDogLake and ThinkProgress. Why?

We contend that the crucial difference that has enabled HuffPost to acquire such advertisers --- and the political "legitimization" that it currently enjoys --- is the fact that it has been able to maintain the public perception that:
  • As it has repeatedly stated (see Section 1), its "news" coverage is approached in a nonpartisan fashion, and...

  • Despite negative publicity on occasion*, that other aspects of its business operations are run in a professional, responsible fashion (*e.g. comment-moderation procedures; here, here and elsewhere)

The reader alone must decide whether this perception is, in fact, the reality. Huff-Watch has been designed to act as a fact-based resource with which to aid the reader in doing so.

is an article that provides further insight into "the HuffPost difference."


UPDATE June 15, 2009: HuffPost hires new CEO. Excerpt (emphasis added):
"[HuffPost replaced] CEO Betsy Morgan with longtime online media powerhouse Eric Hippeau...

“I could not pass such an opportunity, especially with the explosion in the delivery of the news and opinion on the Web,” he said. “This is really the place to build the next really big brand.” To get to that level, Hippeau said that a lot of things have to happen at the site going forward.

“Clearly we have got to make the revenues commensurate with traffic of the site and size of the opportunity,” he said. “At the same time, we have got to make sure we are very community-focused and using all kinds of new tools to increase engagement.”


UPDATE June 23, 2009: HuffPost inks deal with AdGen007 to bolster its ad sales beyond the U.S. Excerpt (emphasis added):
"AdGent 007 (, a global digital advertising services company, has reached an agreement with The Huffington Post to sell ad inventory for territories outside of the U.S.
"As one of the top online destinations for news and commentary, we attract millions of consumers from all over the world," said James Smith, chief revenue officer of The Huffington Post. "Our partnership with AdGent 007 allows us to tap into a valuable and often overlooked international audience."


(8) HuffPost's media affiliations


Arguably as a result of its projection of itself as a nonpartisan "news" source, and given its sheer user traffic, HuffPost has also been able to forge "affiliations" with other media organizations, including:
Discovery Communications ("Planet Green"; note that in this article, a Discovery executive described HuffPost as "one of the most respected news and opinion destinations on the web")

The History Channel (A&E; source needed; see screencap at right of HP-THC banner)

IAC/Interactive Corporation ("23/6")

ESPN (Chicago sports coverage)

Tribeca Film Festival (the press release claims that "The Huffington Post has become, according to The New York Times, 'a well-known, oft-cited news media brand in the blink of an eye'.")

NewsTrust (according to its press release, " helps people find and share good journalism online. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization is committed to helping citizens make more informed decisions about their lives and governments... [T]hey publish a daily feed of quality news and opinions from trusted mainstream and independent sources...")


UPDATE March 30, 2009: HuffPost announced "partnership" with Atlantic Philanthropies to fund "investigative journalism" project. Excerpt (emphasis added):
"The Huffington Post said Sunday that it will bankroll a group of investigative journalists, directing them at first to look at stories about the nation's economy.

"The popular Web site is collaborating with The Atlantic Philanthropies and other donors to launch the Huffington Post Investigative Fund with an initial budget of $1.75 million.

"The Huffington Post Web site is a collection of opinionated blog entries and breaking news. It has seven staff reporters.

"Huffington said she and the donors were concerned that layoffs at newspapers were hurting investigative journalism at a time the nation's institutions need to be watched closely. She hopes to draw from the ranks of laid-off journalists for the venture.

"'All of us increasingly have to look at different ways to save investigative journalism,' she said."


May 5, 2009:
HuffPost hired away a CNN executive to strengthen and build its "partnerships." According to the press release (excerpt; emphasis added):
"Derek J. Murphy has been named Senior Vice President, Business Development [at HuffPost]. Murphy will oversee new and existing business partnerships for The Huffington Post ("HuffPost"), focusing on distributing HuffPost content across a wide-range of media platforms, creating video partnerships and developing business partnerships for the site's expanding list of content verticals.

"Murphy joins The Huffington Post from CNN, where he was responsible for developing strategic partnerships for the CNN Interactive Group."

Said Derek Murphy: "I'm excited to join a brand as dynamic and exciting as The Huffington Post. The site has developed into a well-known media company in relatively short order, and I see great opportunities to strengthen existing business partnerships as well as develop new ones."


(9) Other data re HuffPost


Estimated market valuation:

Venture capital investment:


Send tips, inquiries and (polite) feedback to huffwatcher1 (at)



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