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Yahoo! has bought Associated Content - which brands itself "the People's Media Company" - a sort of Wikipedia with a business plan.

The site collects content from its contributors - short articles or videos mostly - on a variety of subjects and then sells ad space alongside them. Payments to contributors are tiny - between $2 and $15 upfront followed by $1.50 per thousand page impressions your article receives.

Only US citizens can get paid, although this may change as Yahoo! intends to expand the site internationally.

Luke Beatty, Associated Content's founder and president, said he was "super-excited" about the deal. He said: "Combining our crowd sourced content with Yahoo!'s distribution, world class editorial team and online marketing leadership will accelerate our growth..."

The company's content will be spread more widely, and its advertising sold more effectively.

Yahoo! also said that it would use information gleaned from its search engine to spot topics of interest to surfers and advertisers and get content created around these subjects.

The site was started in 2004 and now claims 380,000 contributors - enough to fill a city slightly smaller than Bristol. The site gets 16 million visitors a month and its staff look at more than 50,000 pieces of content each month. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Press release is here. ®

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