Forbes magazine criticizes AOL for recruiting under aged and unpaid child bloggers
AOL Patch is under fire again from Forbes Magazine, this time, claiming AOL utilizes unpaid and under aged bloggers to produce content for their new “Hyperlocal” project. Last month, Forbes questioned AOL’s ability to make good on their promise to become profitable in early adopting communities by the end of 2011. This time, it’s the recruitment of bloggers as young as 13 to write for the company’s Patch and Huffington Post websites.
The articles states:
That hypothetical is fast becoming reality as AOL’s Huffington Post Media Group gears up for the launch of its next vertical, HuffPost High School. It will join an ever-expanding constellation of topic sites that already includes religion, tech, parenting and divorce. But it will be unique in that it will be the only site produced by minors: Its editor, wunderkind Myles Miller, is only 17, and it will feature the work of teenage bloggers.
This isn’t the first time AOL has been under fire for utilizing writers without pay. AOL is already facing a $105 million lawsuit from a group led by Jonathan Tasini who are suing the company for not compensating writers who contributed to the blog site after the Huffington Post was purchased by AOL for $351 million. Tasini’s lawsuit claims the bloggers who donated their time to make the website a profitable commodity should have been included in the proceeds from the sale.
Now, AOL is in the cross hairs of the Newspaper Guild.
Not surprisingly, the people who think Huffpo is already exploiting its unpaid adult bloggers frown on the idea of tapping minors as a resource. “Unbelievable,” says Rebecca Rosen Lum, west coast coordinator for the Newspaper Guild’s Freelance Project. “Watch industry follow suit and start trying to hire 10-year-olds to run machines again.” (The Newspaper Guild hascalled for writers to boycott Huffpo.)
AOL says their Patch network will be in as many as 800 cities nationwide and currently services local Patch branded websites in Toms River, Brick, Berkeley, Barnegat and Lacey within Ocean County.
You can read the Forbes.Com feature in its entirety here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/09/09/huffpo-and-patch-recruiting-bloggers-as-young-as-13/