As we mentioned in our review of the Huffington Post, the Huffington Post offers all of the content on their website for free. So, then, how do they make money? There are two main sources, which we will discuss below.
Like many Internet services that offer their content for free (and many newspapers in general), Huffington Post partially supports itself by selling advertising space on its website. The fact that the Huffington Post operates as a news aggregator -- meaning that they bring in content from other websites as much as (or more than) they create their own -- makes it particularly attractive for advertising. Bringing in more and different content quickly like this means the ability to attract more and different people to the website quickly to read it. This, in turn, puts the advertisements of companies who buy space on the website in front of their potential target audience quickly and en masse. At least, that's how the theory goes.
This is another strategy that Internet companies who offer their services for free (at least initially) rely on to make money, and it goes hand-in-hand with the first strategy we mentioned. By making their features and/or content free to access, they can attract more visitors to their website. This, in turn, lets potential investors speculate on how valuable it would be to control the website, in terms of collecting revenue from selling advertising space.
Apparently, America Online (A.O.L.) thought that there was enough of this value in the Huffington Post, as they purchased the company for $315 million U.S. in 2011.
That's a bit of information on how the Huffington Post makes money!
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