Arianna Owes Me (and Maybe You) Big Bucks

Time to pay up

I’ve never written for the Huffington Post, but I’ve given them something worth much more than words: my attention. So I think it’s only fair that Arianna hand over a reasonable chunk of the $315 million that AOL paid for her site.

Sure, Jonathan Tasini and all those other cry babies who are suing her wrote a lot of great content for HuffPo. But what’s content worth in dollars and cents without readers? Not much.  (Exhibit number one: the awesome blog you’re reading right now.)

Everybody knows it’s audience that bestows value. It’s an attention economy, not a content economy. As Jeff Jarvis puts it, ‘’Content is becoming a cost burden, what you have to have to get the links, but in and of itself, content can’t draw value without an audience, without links.”

And as Clay Shirky says, our precious attention is in high demand.  I figure mine is worth at least $50 an hour, but has Arianna paid me a single penny? Not on your life.  And that’s not counting my finder’s fee for all those HuffPo links I’ve shared.

When you add up all of us who’ve read HuffPo at some point, you have to figure it amounts to a lot more than $315 million. But we’ll settle for $105 million.

We’ve been modern-day attention slaves on Arianna’s content plantation long enough. So go screw yourselves, Tasini et al. This is our money.