For Arianna Huffington, a comScore traffic report can sometimes be much more than a simple amalgamation of numbers. Per a memo circulated today to staff, it is also in some instances a flashpoint for a wave of prideful memories about how her company started and has grown.
Today I’m delighted to share the news of a major HuffPost milestone: in August we reached 115 million global unique visitors – the first time we’ve surpassed 100 million UVs on comScore – making us the #1 news site in the United States. (Our internal numbers, at 368 million UVs, are of course much higher) So much for the dog days of summer! August was also the fourth consecutive month HuffPost was recognized as the largest publisher on Facebook – with more than double the social actions of the second-largest publisher. In every significant growth area of the media business – social and mobile and video and native and global – HuffPost continues to lead the way.
I have to say, this news made me a lot more emotional than a comScore stat usually does. It’s the same feeling I get when I walk into our newsroom and see how a group of five has become a teeming team of hundreds – or when I visit one of our 11 flourishing international editions. It’s a lump-in-the-throat combination of gratitude and amazement; of satisfaction at what we’ve accomplished and surprise at how fast it all happened; of nostalgia for the early days when we celebrated every small spike in traffic and a delight in knowing that our best days, without question, still lie ahead.
I remember the first time Yahoo featured one of our blog posts on its home page and our traffic numbers went through the roof. Paul Berry, our CTO at the time, was obsessed with stats, and got so excited I worried for his health (this was before he became a fitness junkie addicted to SoulCycle). Or the time Perez Hilton linked to a blog post by Ryan Reynolds and hundreds of thousands of new users were introduced to HuffPost. Or the crazy numbers that the Tiger Woods saga delivered to our newborn Sports section.
I remember the way we celebrated when we hit 1 million UVs for the first time. And then the steady climb up the comScore chart: 5 million, 10 million, 15 million – dispelling along the way any lingering doubts of whether we could be more than a niche site, and surpassing the most iconic news outlets.
And at every step along the way, we refused to fall prey to the innovator’s dilemma by constantly evolving and innovating and reinventing vital aspects of how we put together The Huffington Post, while remaining true to the core values that made HuffPost HuffPost, including:
– Using storytelling to put flesh and blood on statistics. Putting a human face on the numbers.;
– Finding the buried lede and moving it to the top of our page;
– A commitment to transparency;
– Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable;
– Putting an end to seeing every issue through the tired frame of right vs left.
– The importance of integrating service into our lives.
– Helping our readers live lives with less stress and more meaning.
– Embracing voice and attitude and point of view, and not pretending that there are two sides to every story or that the answer is always to be found in the middle.
– A belief that, when it comes to the most important stories of the day, we need more biopsies and fewer autopsies.
– Being serious about what we do while not taking ourselves too seriously. As evidenced in so many of our headlines and splashes, playful and important don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
These are the things we return to again and again. All while obsessively continuing to innovate, develop cutting edge tools and strategies, and pursue new platforms and ways of telling a story to reach new audiences and better serve our current one.
The story of going from 1 UV to 115 million UVs in a little over nine years is, of course, the story of the people who built HuffPost, whose creativity, commitment, passion, and sense of purpose have fueled our evolution and our growth. People like our founding editor Roy Sekoff, who was there before day one and who, as the president of HuffPost Live, continues to disrupt and innovate (with 1.7 billion views and a shelf-full of awards to show for it). And people who now own (or who have sold on eBay) 7, 8 or 9 HuffPost Christmas sweaters, like Arthur Delaney, David Flumenbaum, Nick Graham, Ryan Grim, Jason Linkins, Nico Pitney, Nicholas Sabloff, Danny Shea, Whitney Snyder, Sam Stein, Anya Strzemien, and Stuart Whatley – longtime HuffPosters who helped define the site and continue to pass on their knowledge to the subsequent generations of editors and reporters and engineers and producers.
And of course, they’ve been joined by hundreds and hundreds of others, including a lineup of great new leaders who, along with all of you, will help lead the way to the next big milestones – starting with our fabulous CEO, Jimmy Maymann, and the equally fabulous trio of CTO Otto Toth, managing editor Kate Palmer and national editor Katie Nelson.
And make no mistake, more big milestones are coming. As I said, our best days are ahead. You can see it in our commitment to greatly expanding our efforts in video, our commitment to delivering a state of the art mobile experience, our commitment to social platforms and social engagement, our commitment to bringing HuffPost to more and more international markets (which now account for half of our overall traffic).
115 million UVs is an amazing accomplishment. But this is about so much more than numbers. It’s about a conversation that has grown to include voices that once would have gone unheard, and a larger movement built around not just telling stories but changing lives.
Thank you for all that you’ve done – and all that you do – to continue to fulfill our core mission. The effort you all put in, and the quality of the work you consistently deliver is inspiring – and deeply appreciated.
I can’t wait to send the email saying we’ve hit 200 million UVs! Thank you for everything.
Separately, Huffington Post deputy managing editor Kiki Von Glinow denied late last week that the site was failing to properly cite Reddit as a content source.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
HuffPo Christmas Sweater Tradition Stretched to New Heights