The Huffington Post Removed Me As A Writer For The Dumbest Reason
I used to love you.
I used to hold you in such high esteem.
I still love you to be honest, but I’m about to tell a tale I’ve never told before.
I’m about to show people what it’s ACTUALLY like to be a Contributor to the Huffington Post.
I’m going to tell people why I’m honestly at peace with my removal.
Most of all, I’m going to tell people about the dirty deed I did that got me removed (it’s actually not that dirty).
How I Became A Writer At The Huffington Post
My relationship with the Huffington Post began back in June of 2016.
Yeah, its been that long.
I still remember getting that amazing acceptance email. I was on my way to Los Angeles, completing a 4-week road trip across the country.
My submission was about my trip.
I wrote about what I learned in New Orleans, Austin, and Phoenix. I wrote about how I worked remotely the entire time.
I wrote about purpose, and I wrote it ONLY for The Huffington Post. You can read more about how I got accepted here.
It was honestly one of the best days I ever had as a writer. It was so validating for me. I realized in that moment I made the right choice getting into this field.
That’s something so many other people don’t get to have — the validation that they made the right choice becoming a writer.
I’m happy I got it early.
What It Was Like Contributing In The Old Days
Back in the day Huffington was the bees knees. It was the bomb-dot-com (it was actually www.huffingtonpost.com ).
Every single article I published underneath their light green banners hit the front page of a specified section instantly.
I could immediately get on the front of the “Travel” page, WHENEVER.
It was something else.
It was like wielding the power of the blogging Gods. I was only 23.
Despite having power, I remained respectful. I only published posts that were original to Huffington. I also only posted like, once per week.
I quickly learned that platforms are everything — not necessarily content.
Yeah, you content has to be good, but it certainly helps when you have millions of people ALREADY reading the site you’re publishing to.
One day an article of mine went viral and hit the front page. Then three days later another article did. My blog traffic blew up and I didn’t know what to do.
Gosh, those days were amazing.
Then something happened. Something horrible.
Just months after I became a contributor and was granted the power of instant virality, the Huffington Post came out with something called the Athena Platform.
This is like one of the Series of Unfortunate Events books.
You know, you can click away from this page right now because what you’re about to read is filled with sadness, missed opportunities, and dreadfulness.
You want to keep reading?
How The Athena Platform Ruined Blogging At The Huffington Post
You can read about how I’m not even close to alone in hating the Athena Platform here.
You see, back in the day Huffington used to have an army of 100,000 contributors. They were all vetted pretty well to ensure posts were TOP DOLLAR.
That’s why they got such a great rep in the industry.
Because their contributor pieces were just as great as their journalistic ones.
It was INSANELY tough to even get into Huffington as well. In summary, it used to mean something.
It used to mean you were good at what you did.
It used to mean you had something to offer the blogging world.
Then the Athena Platform came, and Huffington basically started letting anybody and everybody contribute whatever they wanted whenever they wanted.
This is amazing, right? In theory, sure.
But the problem with the Athena Platform is that all your articles no longer go directly to the front page.
The only ones that do are now handpicked by Editors who may or may not throw your piece in the garbage just by looking at the headline.
Huffington’s goal last year was to hit the 1,000,000 contributors mark. You can only imagine how many MORE articles were being submitted every single day after the implementation of the Athena platform.
And now editors were/are handpicking the ones with headlines that caught/catch their eye the most. Or something.
I mean, it’s a great system in theory.
It’s cool that everybody now gets to write at Huffington and wear that badge of honor.
The problem is that badge of honor doesn’t REALLY mean anything anymore — but everybody thinks it does.
After Athena people used to email me all the time about featuring their business in The Huffington Post (I never used to do that anyway).
The problem was it meant nothing anymore. There was no guarantee the Editors would hand-pick my article to get featured.
It’s just not going to get seen. There’s no audience. It’s living on the site, but it’s not getting featured anywhere. The only people that CAN view it are the ones I send there.
My contributor profile at the Huffington Post became meaningless overnight.
I was a wreck.
All that work to get in meant nothing in the long-term.
This is why you should never place too much value or spend too much time on platforms. You just never know what’s going to happen.
Do you understand my frustration?
My Relationship With Huffington After Athena
After Athena, I still published pieces at The Huffington Post. It was still kind of cool. Every three weeks or so an article was “promoted” — meaning it was featured on the site somewhere.
But these articles never really did anything to be honest.
They never went viral. They never made the front page.
That’s because there were probably so many other articles getting promoted, too. Mine probably just got lost in the fray.
After a while I started questioning why I made the effort to publish original pieces at all.
Why would you? If you had an uber slim chance to actually have your article seen by anyone, why the hell would you work really hard at crafting something new and engaging?
I’ll just answer that for you.
You honestly wouldn’t.
So I started re-publishing pieces there.
That was my sin. At least, that was my sin to Huffington.
The other day I tried to login to the Athena platform and they didn’t let me.
Then I tried to read some of my articles and saw that they were removed. All weren’t, but most were.
Just the ones I re-published from places like The Mission.
I’m just happy I still have my original article posted. I thank Huffington for THAT courtesy.
In the moment after I realized I was removed I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t angry. I honestly didn’t feel much of anything except sadness that my run with Huffington was over.
I had so much tied up in that place. So many memories. I got to be seen by millions of people because of THEM. I got to interview the guy who wrote my favorite Disney movie because of THEM.
Most of all, they gave me the validation I was searching for as a young up-and-coming writer.
Most never get that, much less get a chance to contribute at The Huffington Post.
So why am I writing this?
Well, to say goodbye. I like to write posts that deeply tap into nostalgia. I also like to write posts that act as markers for my blogging career.
This is one of them.
The day I was removed from The Huffington Post.
I’m not too upset. It didn’t mean that much anymore anyway.
Forbes, holla at ya boy.
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