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Athena: The New Huffington Post Platform (and Why I've Stopped Contributing) - Erin's Inside Job

Athena: The New Huffington Post Platform (and Why I’ve Stopped Contributing)

To be honest, I haven’t published anything to The Huffington Post since November of last year. Life got busy, I didn’t want to duplicate posts from my blog for fear of Google penalizations, and I simply didn’t make it a priority.

I always had it scribbled at the bottom of my permanent to-do list, with more pressing things always taking precedence. Over the past few weeks, I’ve received more emails from readers who seemed to have the same questions about their Huffington Post publications:

  • Why can’t I find my post?
  • Why don’t I seem to be getting any traffic and/or shares?
  • Am I actually published on HP?

In doing some research, I discovered that Huffington Post has made some changes since the beginning of the year that makes publishing on their platform not as elite and noteworthy as it once was.

Recently, The Huffington Post has made some changes to its contributor platform. Called Athena, here is more information about the change and why I've decided to stop contributing regularly.

Athena: The New Huffington Post Platform

Earlier this year, Huffington Post launched a beta version of a platform called Athena. According to Fortune magazine, in order to reach its goal of 1 million contributors, Huffington Post developed a new platform that would allow an increase of 900,000 (from their current 100,000) contributors to write for the site.

What does this mean for contributors?

The changes with the new blogging platform are simple: a huge influx of content, no more pre-post editing, and even less of a chance for bloggers to get their content featured.

Previously, writing for The Huffington Post consisted of a few steps:

  • upload content to backend of the site
  • choose applicable vertical (healthy living, style, college, etc.) and tags
  • submit post for editing and approval (anywhere from 1-several days)
  • post is published and can usually be located under vertical of choice

With Athena, The Huffington Post becomes very similar to sites such as Medium, where you are able to create an account and publish at will with no oversight. Granted, you still have to be invited to join Huffington’s contributor platform, but one you are, the process is virtually the same.

  • upload content
  • choose tags (no choice for vertical)
  • publish immediately
  • post is found on the contributor platform unless picked up and featured under a specific vertical

What happens when the post goes live?

Unless your post catches the attention of editors and they choose to feature it on one of their social channels, the only way that your post will get traction is if you promote it. Hard.

  • Share it on your social media channels
  • If you have a newsletter, include it in there
  • Email the link to friends and family and ask them to share

Why I’ve Stopped Contributing Regularly

Personally, I’ve stopped relying on The Huffington Post to increase traffic to this site or gain me much exposure after I realized what happens after being published. While my first post did substantially well in driving traffic to this site, no post since then has even come close.

There have actually been more clicks TO The Huffington Post than the other way around.

For me, being able to put these publications in my writing portfolio has been great, but I feel that as time goes on, the weight of such an accomplishment will begin to diminish as The Huffington Post approaches its 1 million contributor mark.

After getting the questions listed at the beginning of this post, I decided to see what would happen if I published a post. Although the backend and process was still the same for me, there was an alert that contributor accounts were in the process of being migrated to the new platform, so I expect the process to look different once that happens with my account.

Mine still required editor approval, but once it was published, it didn’t appear in the normal healthy living section and as of three weeks later, there are only 22 likes on Facebook and no comments. This leads to the assumption that it is lost in the sea of publications to the site as I did no promotion of it after it went live.

I’ve decided to stop regular contributions to the site for the aforementioned reasons. I prefer being paid for the quality of the work I do than throwing it into an abyss of words, so I focus more on freelance opportunities and this beloved blog which has been my lifeline for almost three years.

It’s still an awesome achievement to be able to say you’ve been published in The Huffington Post, but I wanted to write this in order to explain the recent changes and my own point of view, which may differ from someone else’s. In the end, if you love to write, just write — and publish it wherever your heart desires. 🙂

For more detailed information during my process of writing for The Huffington Post, make sure to check out these posts:

38 comments on “Athena: The New Huffington Post Platform (and Why I’ve Stopped Contributing)

  1. Loving this perspective, Erin! This is exactly why I haven’t tried to publish on Huff Po. I really don’t know if it’s worth the effort, especially if you don’t see any boost in traffic to your site. Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Beth recently posted…Top 5 Yoga Positions for RunnersMy Profile

  2. Thanks for sharing this Erin! I never bothered to contribute there because I feel they should pay all writers for the quality content they get sometimes. I’ve done a few posts for Elephant Journal and Good Men Project to build a portfolio, but now I’m at the point where I only take paid gigs, and you should too! Your writing is definitely worth top dollar, so don’t take anything less!
    Bri recently posted…Blogfest bound!My Profile

    1. Absolutely. And thanks Bri! I need to work on getting some more of those. I was on a mission last year and scored some, but it would be nice to have it be a revolving thing.

  3. Good to know. It sounds like they are following after what Mode network does. That is my network and I think with so many contributors it’s hard to get noticed. Best this is to work on home base (your own blog) and make it the best you can, that is my goal at least.

  4. Aw, this is kind of a bummer to hear, especially since one of my unofficial goals in the next several months is to submit something to HP. Womp womp. Oh well, considering I don’t really, it’s still a goal. I might focus on Scary Mommy since they pay for original content.
    I can understand your reasoning – especially since you aren’t bringing in any income by continuing – but I still think it’s pretty impressive you’ve been a contributor.
    Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine recently posted…Pineapple Coconut Water Iced Tea Rum CocktailMy Profile

    1. Yeah I agree. It’s still cool to be accepted but I think last that it’s not a great way to spend my time. You should definitely still try for it!

  5. Smart move. I think you have to focus on what give your readers more benefit. Which you ALWAYS do. HUffington post does bring traffic but it’s not consistent. ALthough I loved your articles written for them ALWAYS! <3

    buzzfeed has same concept. I've done a few. Nothing monumental. LOL!

    1. Hey Lori! I wrote a piece for them and had a good experience (and got paid!). The editing process is a little more intensive, but the piece I wrote also got picked up by Refinery29 so that was awesome!

  6. Hi Erin,

    Wow, huge WOW! Your revelation, which I really appreciate, comes as a huge and disappointed surprise. As a complete newby to freelance writing, I had of course, a vision of being published in the Huffington Post. But now, my energy is going to be directed elsewhere.

    Thank you so much for letting us all know this!

    ~Allan

  7. Your post has gone a long way to solve my dilemma and it also explains how there are so many low quality articles there. Thanks. Best to stay away from any place that prioritises quantity and doesn’t pay either!

    1. Totally! I think as time goes on it won’t be as big of an achievement as it once was. Good luck in your writing!

  8. Hi Erin, Thanks for this post. I have access to both the old and new platform. But here is one thing I’ve not tried, and I’d love to see if you have knowledge of whether this works before I try it. If I post on the old one, and if it is not accepted/not published, could I then post it on the NEW one, or would that post somehow get blocked from publication due to them understanding that I’d first attempted to post it on the old platform?
    Chandi recently posted…The Best Three Dishes I Ate in FlorenceMy Profile

    1. When I signed in it was the same old backend, but when it published it was on the new platform so I’m not sure!

  9. Oh, that’s interesting, so it was published not on a category page which can be seen by Google, but on the “no index, no follow” unique blogger URL, page? If posts will go to that, even if uploaded to the old platform, then there is no point in uploading to the old platform versus the new one. But it’s my impression that some bloggers are using the old platform and being published in the old way, on a category page. Is that your impression?
    Chandi recently posted…The Best Three Dishes I Ate in FlorenceMy Profile

    1. From what I understand, HP is in the process of migrating old bloggers to the new platform so there may still be a chance that posts are being uploaded in that way. Not sure how long it will take them to shift everyone to this new one!

  10. Thanks for this. I just recently got published on huffingtonpost and after the first article where all my Friends were in awe I discovered the issues with their new rules. So I decided I will probably just do one article this year as it at does still boost your profile.. Going forward lets se how things go

  11. Hi – I like publishing on the new platform but did not see where to add tags? The old platform had space at the bottom when the vertical was selected, but where can I add tags on the new site? Many thanks if you can help?

      1. For some reason they have complicated ,or discontinued a writer the chance to post on Huffington…
        Sucks.
        Been in recovery since 94..actually first meetings were in the 80’s but never stayed surrendered to recovery till then.
        When I had 5 years clean I had a stroke and a heart attach and lost the ability to write..could not even feed myself for two years.
        So all in all,disabled veteran trying to stay steady at it and right again..even with the odds against me.
        Hope you are well
        Dalin @onlinevisability.com recently posted…damit | Let’s get visableMy Profile

  12. Enjoyed your input. As for Athena, it has a lot of bugs IMO. Not near as user-friendly as Medium. Huffington Post contacted me and asked to publish an article I had on a vertical on Medium. Then I got to experience the platform. I just had major problems with a photo i changed on the post that refused to update on the thumbnail. After trying everything I could think of, I had to repost it which caused my client many problems with the now defunct link!

    Have you experience any of these posting problems?

    -Jann
    jann recently posted…Collection of postsMy Profile

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