Huffington Post Catches Heat for Spec-Based Logo Design Contest

The Huffington Post receives more than a bit of criticism about its journalism practices, but recently it found itself in a different sort of boiling kettle, enraging the anti-spec work crowd. The site recently launched a contest to design a new logo for their political wing, HuffPost Politics. Users would submit logos and the winner would see their branding used “all over the interwebs.” The sticking point, of course, is that a) they were digging for free design and b) so free that said winner wouldn’t even ever see a dime for their work. Given that the Huffington Post is now owned by the AOL empire, a company with a few dollars behind it, the whole thing stuck in the collective craw of those who find spec work appalling. AntiSpec heeded the call by requesting that people speak out against the contest, which resulted in hundreds of comments blasting the site on the contest’s page, an even greater number of conversations about it on social networks, and media pickups from the likes of AdWeek, Politico, and Forbes, all in the space of roughly 24 hours. Ultimately, HuffPo backed down, closing the contest early and releasing something that sort of vaguely resembles an apology, but in the eyes of AntiSpec, doesn’t quite go the distance: “I find HuffPo’s statement a little blah in all honesty.” Feel free to judge for yourself, as here’s the site’s official pull-away from the contest:

We asked fans of HuffPost Politics to submit suggestions for social media icon designs as a fun way of enabling them to express their passion for politics — and for HuffPost. As readers of our site know, we frequently engage our community with requests for feedback and suggestions. So while AOL Huffington Post Media Group employs an in-house team of more than 30 talented designers, we felt this would be a lighthearted way to encourage HuffPost Politics users to express another side of their talents.

Though they also make mention that readers should “stay tuned to see the competition finalists in the coming days,” so perhaps they’re just closing down early to quiet the angry buzz and will just pick a winner from the stash they’d already received.