Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Posts Tagged: Stephen Hull editor of HuffPo proud not to pay

Okay, so I just about calm down then see something that fires me up. So yes folks, I put on my war paint. And Huffington Post? You have simply gone too far.


Some of you may be asking what has gotten my panties in such a bunch. A friend of mine, Chuck Wendig, who’s a fantastic writer and legendary blogger brought this quote to our attention yesterday in his post Scream It Until Their Ears Bleed—Pay the Fu&%ing Writers. In Chuck’s post, it’s easy to tell what set him off. Check out this quote:

Um…bite me?
Um…bite me?

THIS Folks, is what happens when we let FREE get out of hand. FREE has side-effects and one of the primary side-effects are hallucinations that the other person likes it and needs it and actually you’re doing them a favor.


Before we go any further, yesterday I mentioned that I love the work of economist F.A. Hayek and I will say that what Huffington is doing? It IS…*gags* “just.”

They’re doing what they are doing with the permission of those who contribute. Those who contribute feel/believe that it is worth the “partnership” with Huffington and you know what?

That is their right.

Technically, there is no exploitation.

I once was excited to be asked to post for Huffington. I’ll admit, I bit too. At first I felt this gushy pride like I’d been asked to the prom by the captain of the football team, Huff Po. He was soooo cute and other kids would see me on Huff’s arm and be soooo jealous. What that would do for my status!

*hair flip*

But what began as this fantasy that Huff loved me turned sour when he didn’t bring me flowers and only wanted to bend me over the limo for a quickie before he picked up the date he really loved, Advertisina.

Advertisina doesn’t give anything for free. She has standards and so Huff respected her.

Me? I was a literary booty call.

At first I thought my needs would be met. Two posts later? All I wanted to do was cry, eat Ben & Jerry’s and watch some movie with Bette Midler in it.

Advertisina would never be treated this way.

(Read how blogger Chloe Jeffreys was duped by Huffington into being part of a Depends commercial where of course, she was NOT paid).

Authentic Writing

So this assclown Hull believes unpaid workers are more authentic and that quote alone is enough to make me throw up just a little bit in my mouth. Authentic. Can you guys imagine any other business saying this and getting away with it? Any other business so flagrantly exploiting hard working people and getting off scot-free?

Wait. They don’t.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Paul Stein
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Paul Stein

AOL/Huffington reportedly brings in $2.3 billion a year and Huffington’s entire business plan rests on profiting off unpaid workers. This means no benefits, no healthcare and no…PAY. Again, if any other business did this? People would lose their ever-loving minds.

But they don’t.


Well, it’s only writers and they should feel honored to be able to share their work outside of their grandmother’s basement.

We writers are continually treated as if others are doing us a favor and not the other way around. Did I mention that Huffington Post sold for over $300 MILLION?


Shame On You, Arianna Huffington

Original image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons via C2 Montreal
Original image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons via C2 Montreal

And maybe what is making me postal is the sheer hubris I’m seeing. Arianna Huffington wrote a book called Thrive and over at Forbes did an interview on why entrepreneurs should embrace the third metric.

All I have to say is…

If Money and Power are two of the metrics and Ms. Huffington calls them LEGS then what exactly is this THIRD METRIC she wants me to embrace and why do I suddenly feel dirty all over again?

Embrace it. Just like that. Sure Baby, I’ll respect you in the morning….

Ms. Huffington is so far removed from reality, she doesn’t even realize she’s a troll.

It (the third metric) matters to entrepreneurs with big ambitions because in this new definition of success, building and looking after our financial capital is not enough. We need to do everything we can to protect and nurture our human capital as well. ~Arianna Huffington

Wow. Don’t you love how rich ladies tell you that money isn’t important. Btw, money is a HUGE factor in how most of us see success.

Hold on, it gets better.

Many of the problems contributing to millennials’ stress — from a weak job market to massive student debt — require political action and economic reform. But at the same time, there are things millennials can do to help strengthen resilience and ingenuity in the face of adversity and also lead to greater performance in the workplace. Meditation, yoga, getting enough sleep, renewing ourselves, and giving back are all ways to make us better at our jobs at the same time that they make us aware that our jobs don’t define who we are. ~Arianna Huffington

Folks, there are few times I am speechless but I need a minute.

I’m back.

Ms. Huffington, I know you’re a mega-millionaire, but I am just going to speak for us little people. What is contributing to our stress are predators like you creating vast systems of wealth that rely on duping unpaid workers into believing you’re actually doing them a favor. Millennials are told to go to college and work really hard and eventually it will pay.

But Huffington doesn’t eventually pay, does it?

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The problem is you and your ilk have generated a system where it’s socially acceptable to exploit workers and then demonize that worker if she has the audacity to complain. Ms. Huffington, how DARE you write about me living the life I want, about not settling for less than I am worth?


You have set the precedent for all kinds of other businesses to find lapses and loopholes to get around compensating contributors. To use technology to get around paying workers.

Workers whose contributions have been valued at some amount or how else would you pay taxes?

Food for thought.

And if they aren’t employees then you don’t need to give them benefits even though they benefitted you to the tune of $300 MILLION. But what do you care? You get to hang out with your pal Oprah who also benefits off unpaid performers who can help her push the same soma about Living the Life You Want.

Sure, and doing porn movies will eventually lead to big roles in Hollywood.

Ms. Huffington, you create a business model that prides itself on not paying contributors and then have the freaking gall to say the answer to worker stress is….YOGA?

Original Image via Wikimedia Commons
Original Image via Wikimedia Commons

But I have to applaud you. You figured out how to monetize Stockholm’s Syndrome.

Btw, Ms. Huffington, embrace your own third metric.

To quote Chuck:

We can pretend that money is somehow a corrosive influence, that it corrupts the journalistic process — oh, wait, but Huffington Post is valued at tens of millions of dollars? Hull even says that they’re profitable. Well, of course they are. It’s easy to be profitable when you don’t pay the people.

Actually, Chuck, I have a correction. HuffPo sold for hundreds of millions.

But again, let’s look at this notion of how NOT paying contributors helps “maintain integrity.” No, I think fellow author KJ Charles said it best:

Let’s be honest: if producers don’t pay people to write, then the people writing are the ones who can afford not to be paid. Which, as with publishing internships, means that the people who can get ahead are the ones with money. The rich parents, the lucrative day job, the well-paid spouse. When producers don’t pay for content, it privileges the voices of the wealthy.

There was a time when writing was a pastime of the wealthy because they were the only ones who could afford to write. Do y’all really want to go back there?

I don’t.

Btw, might I mention that virtually every revolution started with an entitled aristocracy pissing off the working and middle class. We are Digital Citizens, NOT Digital Serfs.

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 Put On Your War Paint

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So here’s the deal, folks. If other writers want to write for Huffington? Have fun storming the castle. Me? My hypocrisy only goes so far.

First, as a writer, I refuse to be a literary booty call. Do I guest post for folks? Sure. But the people I am guest posting for aren’t making hundreds of millions in advertising dollars so they get to pay me with exposure because that is the only capital they have. FREE is on my terms and I am its mistress.



I am not just a writer, I’m a consumer, too. Writers consume a lot of information. We read it, promote it and link to it. Until Huffington mends its ways? It is DEAD to me.

As a consumer, I choose to only support businesses who operate ethically.

I will no longer link EVER to Huffington.

I will not promote ANY article from Huffington.

I will tell everyone who will listen why they need to boycott Huffington.

I will boycott any advertisers linked to them and have no problem shaming the advertisers too because they are profiting off the backs of unpaid workers.

I have uploaded anti-HuffPo memes over on my Author Kristen Lamb page and at Pinterest on my Bite Me HuffPo board for others to see and share.

I am installing Block Site on my web browsers to block ANYTHING tethered to Huffington.

When Huffington issues an apology? I will link to that. When they post about their new plan to add in levels where writers can be compensated? I will link to that too.

And I will link to all PAID Huffington articles.

I had no problems with Huffington using free labor to get started. It was an untested idea. But once HuffPo started raking in the moolah from advertising? I feel there should have been a moral imperative to create some kind of compensation (especially from a woman who went on to write self-help books and claims to have a soul).

The business model should have changed once HuffPo reached profitability.

Sure, the untested newbies could work for exposure, but the pros? The ones blogging regularly who made Ms. Huffington a rich, rich, RICH woman? If she’d actually cared about workers and I dunno…basic human freaking rights….she would have been better served creating a system of compensation instead of cashing out BIG and running off to write Rich White Lady books about how we need yoga instead of money to be successful.

(Btw, she doesn’t accept yoga or exposure for those books. She wants $$$$.)

Writers, we are at a crossroads. We have to start standing up to this crap. If Huffington approaches you to post? I hope you say no. If you’re currently posting for Huffington, I hope you walk away. They have more than enough money to pay for content, but they won’t so long as we keep supplying them. Cut off the free supply and all that’s left is the paid stuff.

But everyone has to make their own choices. Me? I put on my war paint.


What are your thoughts? Are you tired of aristocracy telling you that you don’t actually need money? I am all for capitalism but this is sociopathy. Do you find it more than a little hypocritical that Ms. Huffington is calling for economic and political reform to aid in the weak job market…a weak market that SHE helped create?

If your landlord doesn’t take exposure dollars, do you think he will accept yoga and meditation as payment?

What do you think of embracing Ms. Huffington’s third metric?

Are you going to put on your war paint? I hope you do! Maybe if enough crazy pissed off painted writers are floating around the Internet people will pay attention.

I really DO love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of FEBRUARY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook