Now here’s an interesting but strange phenomenon: The Huffington Post Union of Bloggers, a site composed of multiple blogs, arranged by subject area in a way that’s reminiscent of some other amalgamation of blogs headed up by a silver-tongued Greek woman. No, this is not the Huffington Post, but a new entity formed in the wake of a class action lawsuit filed against The Huffington Post.com, Inc., Huffington Post owner Arianna Huffington, and her co-owner, AOL.com, Inc., “alleging that thousands of writers and other content providers have been wrongly denied any compensation for the substantial value they created for the Huffington Post.” The new HPUB is a nonprofit that’s “affiliated” in some unstated way with Local 1981 of the National Writers Union; its directors and members are “[c]urrent and former bloggers and employees of the Huffington Post and their supporters. Their names are confidential.” There are seeming positives here, according to the site’s answers to frequently asked questions: HPUB is dedicated to “quality original and reprinted material that reflects our Progressive values and vision of change.” It doesn’t look like any of the bloggers on the site are getting paid right now, but “[t]he Union is working on a business model to pay contributors,” which is a good thing, as long as the Union works fast. Of course, I’m also compelled to state the obvious here: Most people work out the business plan before they start the business. And the secrecy thing is really hokey and smells of the kind of lefty conspiratorialism that tends to be death to any attempt to create a practical business. (I mean: If this nonprofit is looking for the tax exemption that will allow people to contribute tax free, it will have to say who its directors are, and fairly soon. Why not now?) And using the Huffington Post in the new publication’s name is not exactly helping you build a brand, if you actually expect this thing to fly. You may think you’re sticking it to the woman. Actually, you’re giving her free advertising.
Still, I’m not here just to carp, but also to serve. If anyone has a great blog and likes what HPUB’s up to, it is now accepting new submissions, according to a LinkedIn discussion posting.