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Big news: AOL buys Huffington Post

The big news this evening is the announcement that AOL is purchasing Huffington Post for $315 million. That's more than most big newspapers would be sold for these days. Maybe even entire newspaper companies.

Huffington Post has risen through the masses of blog sites to be a fairly legitimate source of political news and commentary, and its traffic is highly ranked - No. 27 amid U.S. websites. That puts it well ahead of every American newspaper website out there (The New York Times ranks 73rd, and USA Today is 254th, according to Quantcast).

And HuffPost has even gotten into the journalism game a bit, hiring people who write actual original content. But most of HuffPost's draw is on the back of others' work, same as, which is just behind the New York Times in traffic. The age-old question in this era is how sites that aggregate the work of others will fare if the others, well, go away. Not that they will anytime soon. Despite what you might think you know about the American newspaper industry, it is still highly profitable and is unlikely to ever go away.

But that's a different discussion for another blog.

It will be interesting to see how the AOL-HuffPost deal shakes out for both sides. Stay tuned because this will be fun to watch.