Celebrities, Auto Enthusiasts and Bloggers To Build Cars For Free; Huge Spike In Profits Forecast
"I don't know why we didn't do this sooner," beamed an ecstatic General Motors Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, at a hastily called news conference this morning.
Wagoner was referring to, just hours before the news conference, his backtracking on the recent strike settlement reached just two-days ago, and his actions of dissolving the United Auto Workers Union contract with GM, in favor of adopting the business model of the popular blog, The Huffington Post.
It was reported earlier this week that The Huffington Post just closed on another round (their second) of $5-Million in funding, upping their total to over $10-Million raised.
In slightly less than three-years, The Huffington Post has built itself up to being the 5th most popular blog on the World Wide Web, primarily by having its' content providers and generators write for free.
Celebrities, politicians, actors, pundits, some famous, others up-and-coming, write daily for Huffington Post, all said not to be receiving any compensation other than "visibility, promotion and distribution with a great company", according to Ken Lerer, the co-founder of The Huffington Post.
Lerer added that they have no plans to begin paying bloggers - ever.
"If you wake up and have something to say, great," says Arianna Huffington, the Editor-in-Chief, author and former political candidate for whom the blog is named after.
Wagoner believes GM will be "enormously successful" with adopting The Huffington Post business model.
"There's thousands-upon-thousands of auto enthusiasts, auto club members, people who write about automobiles ... Even backyard mechanics, that are biting-at-the-bit to get their hands dirty and build a car," added Wagoner. "Now, we'll give them the opportunity."
Wagoner indicated a move has already been made, similar to The Huffington Post, to attract celebrities to the new GM plan, including some who are currently writing for The Huffington Post.
"We already have Alec Baldwin on board," grinned Wagoner. "He was jumping with joy with the chance, we didn't have to sell him on it ... And, he may some of his brothers with him, as well."
Others, Wagoner stated, have either have been contacted, or have signaled they will come on board, include famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawkings, American Idol Host Ryan Seacrest, newly-elected French President Nicholas Sarkozy, actor and activist Brad Pitt (who, Wagoner offered, wants to work on a line of "green" cars), The Blue Man Group, the musician, Kenny G., and soccer star Zinedine Zidane.
Missing millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett was to both invest, and be part of the new, pay-free GM and Wagoner said, that should he found alive, "the invitation still stands."
"We see quarter-after-quarter of record profits," said Wagoner.
Wagoner would not say if the celebrity-built automobiles will fetch a higher price than cars built by no-names or up-and-comers.
UAW's president, Ron Gettelfinger, was devastated, indicating he need to see the paperwork before commenting on any possible course of action. Gettelfinger urged his membership not to "be exploited" and reject taking part in this new GM business model.
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich called the GM move "breathtaking"
"This will be a economic revolution like we've never seen before," gushed Reich. "My God, if a relatively new, intellectual property-based, on-line entity can raise that kind of money - and via a free labor pool - General Motors will set profit records that will stand for decades to come."
Reich declined to say if he will join the GM production line, but did admit it has caused him to daydream about it.
"Ohhh," cooed Reich, "I could build the car of my dreams."
H/T To Barry Crimmins, and his Financial Modeling for Fun and Profiteers
Josh Wolf: Huffington Post doesn't plan to pay its bloggers
Valleywag: blogging for dollars - Huffington Post raises more cash
Dylan Tweney: This is the Future of the News: The Arianna Huffington Interview
With having GM change over to the The Huffington Post business model, as predicted by GM Chief Rick Wagoner, thousands are lining up to build cars for free