Published on March 31st, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Judge Rules Against Unpaid Huffington Post Bloggers in Suit
The unpaid bloggers who took legal action after the Huffington Post was purchased from AOL last year have been dealt a blow in court, after a judge ruled that they should have no expectation of payment despite the massive sum the blog received in the buyout.
In the blogosphere, the Huffington Post was notorious for paying bloggers in “exposure,” a practice many felt was somewhat predatory. The ethical contrast became even more stark when AOL acquired HuffPo for $315 million, and many of the bloggers felt they had been exploited by the site that profited off of their unpaid labor.
Judge John Koeltl in New York did not agree with the bloggers, however, issuing a decision that sided with the Huffington Post and writing:
“Quite simply, the plaintiffs offered a service and the defendants offered exposure in return, and the transaction occurred exactly as advertised… No one forced the plaintiffs to give their work to the Huffington Post for publication and the plaintiffs candidly admit that they did not expect compensation.”
Koeltl opined that the bloggers tried to “change the rules of the game after the game has been played,” and wrote:
“The principles of equity and good conscience do not justify giving the plaintiffs a piece of the purchase price when they never expected to be paid, repeatedly agreed to the same bargain, and went into the arrangement with eyes wide open.”
The suit sought $105 million in compensation from the Huffington Post.