Huffington Post Canada began its launch with the over-sized headline CYBER FAIL, and beneath it an error message.
It happens. Any kind of website launch has its momentary glitches.
More embarrassing to the Canadian branch of the U.S. mega-aggregator/news site should be the use of the word "cyber".
Again, it just opened for business today. So there must be a lot of new kinks to work out.
That said, what is it about Huffington Post Canada that seems so familiar?
Three letters: Aol.
The thinking goes like this: in February of this year, Aol acquired HuffPo for $315 million. Aol, of course, has had a successful presence in Canada for the past five or so years.
So the same strategy used to bring Aol to Canada is being employed with Huffington Post. Only with a site like HuffPo, which already has an audience, it might not be as easy as simply adding the .ca and posts from Heather Reisman.
When Aol Canada launched, it promised Canadian coverage with similarly impressive media names attached. The thinking was that Aol could publish local content - from the CBC News and other syndicated outlets - out of a small Toronto office without much cost to the American operations.
In order to do this, there were Canadian mirror sites. Type in Aol.com and you are redirected to Aol.ca, Spinner.com became Spinner.ca, and so forth and so on.
A Canadian sales team then capitalized on local advertising, charging a premium for displaying ads to a targeted market. More localized content, more localized ads.
With only the slightest tweak to the content, Aol earned itself a lot more advertising dollars.
This is the same thing they're doing with Huffington Post - type in Huffingtonpost.com and you get kicked out to huffingtonpost.ca.
The x-factor with HuffPo will be whether or not readers here want to be redirected to HuffPo Canada. The .com site already had its share of Canadian readers, who now won't have the same access to the content which they've been accustomed to reading.
If comments on the inaugural post are any indication, Canadian readers preferred the American edition. If there was a toggle button where you could flip off the .ca onto the .com - which there's supposed to be - I suspect readers will likely use it.
If commenters can be genuinely be used as a bellwether - debatable, though I believe they're on to something here - the Aol Canadianizing strategy will not work with Huffington Post Canada.