Arianna Huffington's Traffic Win Over Matt Drudge Means Mostly Nothing

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Everyone is terribly, terribly excited at the possibility that Arianna Huffington's political blog site, the Huffington Post, may have raked in slightly more traffic last month than the Drudge Report. The left has triumphed over the right! The epic battle of the Greek socialites vs. the Miami fedora-wearing former psych patients has a winner! Rah! Or not.

Depending on whom you believe (and in Web metering, your dog might be considered a decent authority), HuffPo had between 300,000 and 700,000 more unique visitors in February than Drudge did. In the grand scheme of the Webosphere, that's really not a whole lot to write home about, especially when you consider what that victory probably cost HuffPo.

The site doesn't pay its many, many contributors, but it does pay a staff to manage them as well as produce other original content; it also foots the bill for a center of operations. And when was the last time you went to a special event sponsored by Matt Drudge? As if. Drudge is free of all these expenses with his staff and format, both of which are skeletal. You'll visit the site 40 times a day just to, basically, read over Matt Drudge's shoulder while he surfs the Web for stuff he finds interesting. Now that's a business plan! As Portfolio's Jeff Bercovici notes, HuffPo's dizzying array of comment-friendly blogs allow it to "pad out its numbers" — in the end, no matter how good it may feel to watch Arianna smack Matt around a little, there's no question who's more powerful. —Maggie Shnayerson