How Cofounder & President, Arianna Huffington Started Huffington Post & Sold to AOL for $315 million

Picture of Arianna Huffington

In less than 6 years, Arianna Huffington launched and grew Huffington post, sold it for $315 million and still retains control over it and more.

Arianna Huffington launched Huffington post in May 2005 and sold to AOL in February, 2011 at a huge sum of $315 million. Still, she serves as the President and Editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group which include Huffington Post and all AOL’s media properties – Engadget, TechCrunch, MapQuest, AOL music, Autoblog and many more.

Arianna Huffington – The woman who revolutionized media

Arianna Huffington was born as Arianna Stassinopoulos in Athens, Greece on July 15, 1950 – she was born a Greek American. She moved to England at 16 years of age to attend college.

In 1972, she graduated from Cambridge with a degree in Economics. She eventually moved to the U.S in 1980 for personal reasons.

By following her passion for politics, she quickly rose to stardom and eventually became the face one of the most popular Internet Newspaper allowing commentary and reporting – Huffington Post.

She was

  • The Greek of the Year (named by the US Chamber of Commerce) in 2001,
  • One of Time’s 100 world’s most influential people in 2006,
  • #12 in Forbes’ list of most influential women in media in 2009, and
  • #28 in Forbes’ list of 100 most powerful women in 2010.

Today, Arianna Huffington is the #1 face of Huffington Post – its heart and soul. She remains one of the most sought-after political commentators.


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Arianna Huffington – The Past & the Present

Arianna Huffington and Kenny Lerer hatched the terrific idea in her Brentwood mansion on December 3, 2004 when they were discussing the influence of the media on 2004 election. The two of them agreed on a 50-50 partnership, and they both raised $2 million each to jumpstart the project.

They eventually launched Huffington Post on May 9, 2005, and Huffington Post quickly became one of the most desired Internet destinations.

From the outset, the plan of Huffington Post was to create a 24/7 news platform with an attitude, and they achieved it.

Today, Huffington Post, popularly called HuffPo, is more than an Internet newspaper. They publish news, blogs and videos as a community.

Every month, Huffington Post gets close to 30 million unique views and 4 million comments.

Huffington post is ranked #1 blog on Technorati. As at October, 2010, they could boast of 6,000 unpaid bloggers and 186 paid staffers.

Arianna Huffington & Her Versatile Nature

Before launching Huffington post, Arianna Huffington was already known for her liberal political beliefs and versatile personality.

In the 1970s, she was a regular political discussant on radio and TV.

In the 1980s, she wrote several articles for National Review and some biographies including Maria Callas – The Woman Behind the Legend; Picasso: Creator and Destroyer. She also wrote other books like The Fourth Instinct, The Gods of Greece, and Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream (her 13th book).

Later, she was involved in comedy and acting.

She got into politics and ran as an independent candidate against Arnold Schwarzenegger in California recall election in 2003.

Elizabeth Spiers described her as a Force of Nature (on Forbes.com).

Arianna Huffington first got into the Internet world with the website, Resignation.com (calling for the resignation of President Bill Clinton). Later, she hosted Ariannaonline.com.

Connect with Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington has 601,934 followers on Twitter while she follows only 1,254 persons. On Twitter, she now describes herself as,

‘president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group’

You can follow her @ariannahuff

Words from the Ingenious and Versatile Cofounder & CEO, Arianna Huffington

Concerning the sale of Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington wrote about her respect for the Chief Executive of AOL, Tim Armstrong.

“I was … struck by his clear-eyed assessment of his company’s strengths and weaknesses, and his willingness to be so up front about them … he said that the challenge lay in the fact that AOL had off-the-charts brand awareness, and off-the-charts user trust and loyalty, but almost no brand identity”

Arianna Huffington revealed her own reasons for selling Huffington Post to AOL in these statements,

“The Huffington Post will continue on the same path we have been on for the last six years – though now at light speed – by combining with AOL. Our readers will still be able to come to The Huffington Post at the same URL, and find all the same content they’ve grown to love, plus a lot more – more local, more tech, more entertainment, more finance, and lots more video. We are fusing a legendary and powerful new media brand with a vibrant, innovative news organization, known for its distinctive voice, a highly engaged audience, an expertise in community-building, and a track record for demystifying the news and putting flesh and blood on the data while drawing our audience into the conversation”.

She would have thought about the possibility of introducing a pay wall for their online contents like New York Times but she holds a different view. She believes pay walls will work for special or weird contents but not news articles. Her remark was,

“Ultimately we’re betting on content being free. People are not used to paying for news and opinion.”

Further Reading on Women Entrepreneurs for You

  1. Women CEOs: How Michelle Madhok Built an Internet Empire earning $1.3 million
  2. Women CEOs: How Chelsea Rustrum makes $120, 000 to $140, 000 from Her Blog annually
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