In making his pitch, Kearney clearly violated section 3.iv of Huffpo's user agreement, which forbids bloggers to "post advertisements or solicitation of business." (While bloggers often use Huffpo to promote their books or personal blogs, there's usually at least some pretense that they're writing about a larger topic.) But maybe Thrillist is a special case, since its co-founder, Ben Lerer, is the son of Huffpo chairman Ken Lerer? I emailed Huffpo editor Roy Sekoff and its head of PR to ask about this but have yet to receive an explanation. It's not the first time Huffpo has served as a promotional platform for Thrillist. Back in June, Huffpo's Living section editor, Verena von Pfetten, blogged about going on an all-expenses-paid junket to Las Vegas courtesy of Thrillist and JetBlue. Her post failed to mention the Lerer family connection. Rachel Sklar, who covers media for Huffpo, also accepted the junket and wrote it up for Radar. And Thrillist and Huffpo are close in another sense as well: They share office space in Soho.
The Huffington Post has a guy who emails me if I typo their URL in a Valleywag entry. So I doubt it's a lack of managerial attention that allowed a brazen advertorial for Thrillist's new Miami edition to run on the HuffPo Tuesday. I wouldn't have noticed if Portfolio hadn't called it out as a violation of the site's own user agreement. But read Portfolio's summary of the situation and ask yourself how many outraged HuffPo editorials would appear if anyone remotely related to Sarah Palin were to get this kind of play on Little Green Footballs:Portfolio media blogger Jeff Bercovici says: