Just over two years after its launch, The Huffington Post is expanding its offerings.  Arianna Huffington explains in her blog post announcing the update last night that, "But the main reason we've grown to the point where we need to expand is you, the HuffPost community. The blogosphere is a constantly evolving conversation, and we're blessed to have such an active, passionate, and vocal readership."

I've always found this liberal watering hole and The Drudge Report, its conservative counterpart, interesting since a major draw to each site is a collection of links mainly to other news sites.  Of course, story selection and link text are catered to each site's target audience.  In a way both are glorified news aggregators.

However, The Huffington Post offers original content mainly through a network of contributing bloggers who provide opinion and analysis with more content partnerships — including Off The Bus, citizen generated Election 2008 coverage with NewAssignment.Net (the pet project of Jay Rosen from NYU) — and sources on the way.  Sometimes these posts and features garner hundreds of comments.  The unique content and interaction are aimed at attracting and maintaining an audience for the site.

While the Post needs to expand over time, I'm wondering about the other reasons for this expansion.  First, according to Compete The Drudge Report gets about three times the unique visitors over April 2006 and April 2007; I got similar results from Alexa.  

Despite more community features, Matt Drudge has a stronger following than Arianna.  

Is the link aggregrator sans community model better for political sites?  It is worth noting that liberals on-line are more active at creating content via blogs than conservatives.  This makes me wonder if there are more conservatives for liberals on the Internet.  Granted, there are other metrics for on-line success like return visitors, time spent on site, and off-line actions like fundraising, but Drudge's site still gets more visitors than Huffington's.

Second, The Guardian in Britain has announced a new portal at GuardianAmerica.com that will beef up the site's American news coverage and bolster Comment is Free, its group blog that is popular among American liberals.  Some think that The Guardian wants to supplant The Huffington Post as the premier on-line American liberal watering hole.

I wonder if these new features are specifically meant to counter Drudge and The Guardian.  We'll see if The Huffington Post can match The Drudge Report and stave off GuardianAmerican.com.