I disagree with this article and I will be more than happy to tell you why with examples.
Here you have an entity in which the content creators made the site become what it is. Many, many non-paid people and notable "guests" provided much commentary to the site and never saw a penny from it. The site was presenting itself as simply an independent news and information site with a social element provided by visiting commentators who would then carry out debates based upon the provided content. It was pretty much what you could call infotainment, or newstainment. That in itself was nothing new either. What was different was in the content, and amount of, that was provided. Without that, you have nothing but a system without a gimmick to pull anyone in.
Compare it to Facebook. Better... compare it to techdirt or Floor64. If you create something, does that make it a success? NO!! It is people using it which makes it a success, or not.
So if nobody showed up en masse, then what? Huffington Post doesn't get sold and it's dismissed as a failure because people consider it a left-wing rag/tabloid.
Fact, many people do not know that the right wing is behind the site as it was co-founded by, and initially operated by, a fellow by the name of Andrew Breitbart. But let's not talk about that Mr. Masnick, you must not feel anyone here is interested in the truth?
The fact is, what was presented as something that couldn't be bought off (they were), which would not be influenced by advertisers (they were) and were to remain independent and generating only enough income so as to keep the site operational... why did they suddenly open a DC bureau and start wanting to sell themselves to the highest bidder, which is all the rage now? Taking something that produces nothing, has no tangible assets and then selling it for mega amounts of money.
That would be akin to you starting up techdirt, allowing 5 other people to help you run it, then one of the other people sells it out from under you.
What keeps that from happening? Contracts and written agreements. Right?
What do you think exists between Huffington Post and their content providers? These people were USED in order to facilitate a money making venture. They did all the work, Arianna sold it out from under them while telling them she was forever going to remain an independent entity. There was no disclosure about the true nature of Huffington Post's future plans.
Mr. Masnick, you can thank me whenever you get around to it.