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Yahoo buys online contest site Bix

Play the role of Simon Cowell, Yahoo says

Yahoo plans to buy Bix.com, a website that lets users create online contests, as part of its push into offering more online social media services.

Bix.com users create contests and then ask others to submit entries. Contest subjects include lip-synching, photography, dance, beauty and many others. Viewers cast votes and winners can receive prizes if the contest creator offers one. Some contests are sponsored by companies that view them as promotional opportunities.

Mike Speiser, Bix.com's president and chief executive, posted a note on the company's website announcing the planned acquisition, claiming it would help create a larger audience for Bix users.

In a Yahoo blog posting last week, Bradley Horowitz, Yahoo vice president of product strategy, described the site as offering fans of American Idol - the US equivalent of X Factor - the opportunity to play the role of the show's producer, a contestant and Simon Cowell, a popular judge on the amateur singer contest TV programme.

Once Bix.com becomes part of Yahoo, users can expect more community features and more entertaining content, Speiser said. In addition, Yahoo is already looking into how it might integrate Bix with other offerings such as Yahoo Groups, Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo Video.

Bix.com, founded in January, joins several other social media companies acquired by Yahoo including Flickr, Jumpcut, Del.icio.us and Upcoming.org.

Yahoo competitor, Google, has also been aggressively pushing into the entertainment and social online offerings arena. Google recently bought YouTube, the popular online video sharing site.

Speiser will become vice president of community for Yahoo's communities group. Speiser was one of the founders of Epinions, a popular website that lets users share their experiences using a wide range of products that they've bought.

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