The Huffington Post, also known as HoffPost and, simply, HuffPo, announced today that it is shutting down its contributor network, effective immediately. The contributor network was essentially HuffPost’s blogging arm, allowing anyone holding a Huffington Post contributor account to write an article and post it to HuffPo.
The decisive, unequivocal – and unexpected – announcement sent out today to the 100,000 Huffington Post contributors explained that the decision was made because, with the rise of social media and other platforms, “Those who are willing to shout the loudest often drown out new, more-deserving voices. The same has proven to be true on our own platform.”
Translation: Letting people publish their own opinions on Huffington Post has led to people using Huffington Post’s perceived authority to further their own agendas.
The balance between enticing people to provide content to a site for free in order to build a fat body of content in an Internet era where content is not just king, but necessary to woo the search engines, and having that free content come back to bite you in the editorial backside is a delicate balance indeed. Apparently, reading between the lines, HuffPo has been bitten.
Here is the full announcement that arrived in Huffington Post contributors’ inboxes this morning:
From: HuffPost Blog Team
Subject: Important: The HuffPost contributor platform is closing
Dear HuffPost Contributors,
When HuffPost launched in 2005, it introduced a group blogging platform that revolutionized and democratized online commentary. It allowed teachers, parents and protesters to share space with celebrities, politicians and CEOs while trading ideas on the pressing issues of the day. Over the years, more than 100,000 contributors have posted on the site, with many of you posting from the start.
Today, with the proliferation of social media and self-publishing platforms across the web, people have many more opportunities to share their thoughts and opinions online. At the same time, the quantity and volume of noise means truly being heard is harder than ever. Those who are willing to shout the loudest often drown out new, more-deserving voices. The same has proven to be true on our own platform.
It is with this in mind that we have made the decision to close the contributors platform on our U.S. site. Going forward, when you log in to the portal at contributors.huffingtonpost.com, you’ll see that you are able to access your previous drafts and published posts — and unpublish those posts if you choose to do so — but you won’t be able to post anything new. We won’t be taking down or making any changes to previously published content ourselves.
We’ll still be publishing commentary on the site, we’ll just be doing it at much smaller scale, collaborating with writers to share smart, original ideas and making sure that we’re lifting up the voices that have been left out of the conversation in the past. We hope to keep hearing from many of you in the future, and more information about how to pitch us your ideas will be published on the site.
Thanks for being an integral part of the HuffPost community. Your bold, thoughtful contributions to HuffPost’s contributor platform have helped to make us what we are today, and we are so grateful and proud to have had you with us in this endeavor.
The HuffPost Team
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