Friday, April 15, 2011

Arianna Huffington to Share AOL Sale Proceeds with HuffPost Bloggers on May Day

Arianna Huffington is selling the Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million. This has generated considerable controversy among the unpaid bloggers on HuffPost, many of whom feel Arianna is profiting unfairly from their work. One blogger has even launched a class action lawsuit seeking a share of the sales proceeds.

Arianna's first response to the lawsuit was dismissive, "I am hesitant to take any time away from aggregating adorable kitten videos to respond," she said. We have learned form our inside sources that she has had a change of heart and will be giving her 9,000 HuffPost bloggers a cut.

Bloggers will receive 2% of the AOL purchase price, net of investment banking fees, for a total of $6,000,000 to be spread equally among the bloggers. For each blogger, that works out to a check for $666. Arriana arrived at that number after arguments from a group of angry bloggers that 2% was less than the taxes she saved in the sale due to the extension of the Bush tax cuts last December.

Arianna is planning a surprise May 1 party at Huffington Post headquarters at 560 Broadway in New York City to announce the checks. "May 1 was a big holiday among the working people in my native Greece," Arianna told her inner circle. "We'll have ice cream and cake and then hand out $666 checks to everyone in attendance." Following the noon reception, really more of a rally, Arianna and her staff and boggers will parade through Soho. "A traditional May Day parade, like we had in Greece," says Arianna.

What changed Arianna's mind was being reminded of an old 2007 email inviting bloggers to participate in a "new cooperative internet media" and "become a member of our blogger community." Cooperatives are a type of legal entity where members own the organization collectively and are entitled to a share if the organization is sold.

We're told the party will start Sunday, May 1 at noon. Bloggers unable to attend can apply through the Contact Us page at the Huffington Post to have the $666 sent to their PayPal accounts.

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