Huffington Post forces Canadians into national ghetto (then lets them out)
"Who the hell wants news about Canada?" wrote an angry reader in the comments section of Arianna Huffington's editorial on the newly launched Canadian Huffington Post. "No big civil rights issue, no death penalty, hardly any violent crime, universal health care and extremely boring politic make for a very boring news cycle."
Huffington Post Canada has finally arrived, but on the day of its launch, readers accused it of rounding up Canadian readers into a boring national news ghetto. Readers are miffed they can no longer access the breaking news from the U.S. Huffington Post website. Instead, they say they are shocked to find themselves bounced back into Canadian territory like unsuspecting travellers rebuffed at the U.S. border.
"ARGH!!!! I don't come to this site for Canadian news!!" complained one reader. "If I can't get the American edition, than I'm not going to be visiting much anymore."
"I am forced to view Canada Huffington Post...I cannot access the American Huffington Post," fumed Northerndar. "Why is the NEW Huffington Post doing this?"
Some readers link this change back to AOL, which acquired Huffington Post for $315 million in February. The web services and media giant is making a big push for localized news with its new site, Patch.com, and some see the Canadian Huffington Post website site as an extension of AOL's localizing strategy.
A small handful of people had positive words for the Huffington Post's foray into Canada, believing it would add to the diversity of voices in the media.
"Thank you for Huffington Post Canada! This is my main site for news (politics comedy style etc :) and I was feeling bad for not spending that much time on Canadian news!" wrote abregasi. "Now I can browse your site guilt-free!"
The site, which accused the Canadian government of a "Cyber Fail" in its headlines this morning, seems to be a victim of some cyber glitches itself: when frustrated readers tried to contact the site, they were taken to a contact form requiring a CAPTCHA image verification, which was broken even on the form to report a technical problem:
Coincidentally, just minutes after the publication of this piece, Huffington Post changed its options so that readers can view the U.S. and Canadian versions of the site.