City Desk

HuffPo Scolds Washington City Paper for Linking

Never thought I'd be scolded by a Huffington Post official for linking. But I was!

Here's a chronology that explains how this HuffPo reprimand came about:

April 1, 2009: Washington City Paper decides to give its readers a different look on its homepage. Instead of the usual lineup of images and blog links, we go with an April Fool's edition titled "Huffington City Paper." The whole thing is a rip-off of the classic HuffPo homepage, complete with navigation tabs, the ginormous news link at the top, and running feeds from our blogs. People love it. Our own staff wonders if we shouldn't try to move permanently to something modeled after this platform, which is better suited to highlight the various newsie posts we produce each day. One reader comes to the conclusion that the Huffington Post has acquired Washington City Paper.

April 2, 2009: The parody recedes into our archive, just as much a relic as any other April Fool's joke. It's history. Our tech guy says that in order to find the page, you'd have to know what you're looking for; it has gotten a barely measurable number of pageviews (around 300) since the April Fool's activity.

June 9, 2009: Washington City Paper columnist Amanda Hess writes a post blasting the Huffington Post entertainment page for using sexism to drive pageviews. An excerpt: "People—even progressive, conservative-hating, liberal-minded people—will click on nipple slip slideshows and boob jobs guessing games, and that’s a big part of the Huffington Post’s model." Hess's column gets some nice rotation on the Web, aided by a link on the Romenesko site.

June 10, 2009: Washington City Paper receives a request from a Huffington Postie asking us to remove the parody page from our archive. The HuffPo person expresses a couple of concerns. One is that the blog feed to this well-hidden page is still flowing. Correct: Deep within our archive, the page is sitting there, with virtually no one ever clicking on it, and inside of this dark Internet cave, it continues to update via the Washington City Paper blog feed. Again, the parody disappeared from our homepage on April 2, never to reappear. So what's the gripe here?

The second HuffPo objection is the headliner: The official was perturbed that the parody page that virtually no one has clicked on since April Fool's contains a link to the Huffington Post site. That bears repeating: The Huffington Post scolded us for linking to them.

Photo courtesy of eyeliam, Creative Commons Attribution License

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  • Mike Riggs

    In hindsight, my "ill-advised paragraph" doesn't seem so ill-advised. HuffPo is ruthless!

  • Brian Nelson

    Perhaps someone should remind them that they endorsed this joke...

    (a little less than half way down the page)

  • whet moser

    I have to say I'm completely confused by their objections. Like, not as in HOW DARE THEY but just on the specifics. They're ok with the parody but not with there being live WCP blog feeds?

  • Jamie

    Isn't criticizing someone for linking to your (public) web site, kind of yelling at the post office for delivering mail to you? There is no law against linking to another site.

    This is silly as hell. The correct response for CP now would be to publish a copy of their, er, "stop linking to me" letter, and link to the parody page, their web site, and the page referenced above where they celebrated the joke. And add a big "eff you" to the bottom of the page.

    Most pathetic, wah-wah-i'm-taking-my-toys-and-going-home response to criticism I've ever seen. Huffpost, you suck.

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  • Will Atwood Mitchell

    I kept the page up after April 1 because people thought it was funny and wanted to remember it and occasionally refer to it. If we publish something, and we can keep a record of it, we should. I know we got some laughs out of it and I hope our friends who work at Huffington Post did too. It wasn't meant as a jab, and it's not even in the same ballpark as Amanda's thoughtful, critical article.

  • Mike Licht

    How many viewers did you send them? Invoice HuffPo for quarterly compensation ($1.98?)on July 1.

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  • Jamie

    In the NYTimes article above, Huffington disputes that they asked you to take down the post and the link, but rather only pointed out nicely that the page blog feed was updating and asked that it be removed.

    So, would you care to post the email? Is CP way overreacting or is Arianna full of it?

  • Gustavo Arellano

    Give 'em hell, Erik!!!

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