Associated content

Yahoo! Voices, formerly Associated Content (AC), is a division of Yahoo that focuses on online publishing. Yahoo! Voices distributes a large variety of writing through its website and content partners, including Yahoo! News. In early December, 2011, its owners Yahoo announced a major shakeup involving the introduction of a new service, Yahoo! Voices, which would replace the Associated Content site and take on the bulk of its content, while some 75,000 items would be retired under the new site's more stringent content submission rules.

History

Associated Content was started in January 2005 by Luke Beatty. It is based in Denver, Colorado, with business development offices in New York City.

In April 2009, Associated Content hired a new CEO, Patrick Keane, formerly of CBS Interactive and Google[1] and closed a $6 million Series C round of funding from Softbank Capital and Canaan Partners.[2] Their funding now totals $21.5 million. Three weeks after the funding announcement, Associated Content reorganized and laid off 5 employees.[3]

On May 19, 2010, Yahoo! announced that it would purchase Associated Content for slightly more than $100 million.[4]

Service closed, some items of content retired

On December 1, 2011, "Yahoo!" announced a new service, Yahoo Voices, which "replaces Associated Content as Yahoo! Contributor Network’s official digital library."[5] Announcing new, more stringent content submission guidelines, the company said "We have retired more than 75,000 pieces of inactive and outdated content from Associated Content. None of this content will appear on Yahoo! Voices, and only content that meets our revised Submission Guidelines will be accepted moving forward."[5] The new service would initially provide "more than two million pieces of original content, spanning thousands of different topics, created by more than 500,000 individual experts and enthusiasts." [5]

Publishing platform

In addition to text content (articles), AC has categories for video, audio, and slide shows. There is also an online community where users share their expertise, network and voice opinions.

In contrast to many content publishing sites, AC does pay many users for content up front.[6] Articles are usually required to be have at least 400 words and may include pictures from approved sources. The "Assignment Desk" is another source of article ideas and income for writers. AC displays predefined article titles and users can "claim" the assignment. All on-site assignments (as opposed to "Partner Assignments") pay performance-based revenue while some also pay up-front payment. Only authors who are over 18 years old and are US citizens or legal residents are eligible for up-front payments.[7] Users may also submit content for publication without an up-front payment. Slideshows and fiction submissions generally do not receive up-front payments. All articles written by users who agree to the contract are eligible to receive payments based on the number of times their content is viewed.[8]

AC exercises some editorial control over content, sending work back to users for "polishing" or rejecting work for violations of the site's terms of use and guidelines, including promotional or advertorial content and plagiarism.[9][10] Beatty claims the site is "all about content".[11]

Motifs

Associated Content originally billed itself as "The People's Media Company". The original schema was linked to its idea that its writers (originally called "Content Producers") were "Citizen Journalists."

In early 2009, Associated Content rebranded itself on the site as "Information from the source." Writers on the site, formerly called "Content Producers," are now called "Contributors" (after briefly being dubbed "Sources"). The "Citizen Journalist" motif was dropped.

Criticism

Associated Content has been criticized for the quality of its content. Slate technical writer Farhad Manjoo sums up this criticism thus: "Associated Content stands as a cautionary tale for anyone looking to do news by the numbers. It is a wasteland of bad writing, uninformed commentary, and the sort of comically dull recitation of the news you'd get from a second grader."[12] Scott Rosenberg criticized Associated Content and other companies for publishing content not aimed at human readers, but for the purpose of influencing search engines,[13] and for actually degrading Google search results.[14]

See also

References

External links

  • Official Website
  • The Y! Contributor Network blog
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