Huffington Post considering donating blogger ad revenue to charity

The new-media news outlet has come under fire for not paying its blog contributors, but now the company's eponymous founder says that it's considering donating ad revenue to charity instead.

What's the hottest way to save face in today's eco-conscious, Jolie-Pitt-and-Project-Red world? Donate to charity, of course.

The Huffington Post, the online news outlet founded in 2005 by pundit Arianna Huffington and AOL veteran Ken Lerer, has managed to tick some people off because the site doesn't pay its army of bloggers . Since then, the company has attempted to justify that stance as accusations of greed and poor ethics (and of course the term "sweatshop") have been thrown rather liberally around the blogosphere.

"Think about the bloggers as op-ed page writers," Huffington said in an interview with Portfolio.com. "No one writes an op-ed for The New York Times for the money. They're writing because they want their views out there."

Problem is, the op-ed page of the Times is just one sliver of the newspaper, whereas a huge portion of the Huffington Post's revenue comes from ads running on those unpaid bloggers' posts--as well as on aggregated content from other news outlets. The "unpaid bloggers as op-ed contributors" argument just doesn't float that well.

So what's a left-leaning new-media mogul to do?

"We are looking at a model which would allow contributions to be made to a blogger's favorite charities," Huffington explained in the Portfolio interview. That would consequently keep the payroll small but prevent the company from looking, well, greedy. "Our bloggers would choose a number of charities, and we're working out a revenue model which would allow money to be sent to those charities."

Oh, snap. Brangelina would be so proud.

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About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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