Yahoo announced today that they've agreed to acquire Associated Content. (AdAge reports that the price is "just over $100 million.) Associated Content is an online publisher (and, up until now, distributor) of content from hundreds of thousands of freelancing contributors. They'll buy a writer's content and publish it through their own network, which is pretty successful--they've got about 16 million unique readers per month, which is a very respectable number.
Yahoo's currently competing with another bastion of Web 1.0 (also known as The Great Web), AOL, to figure out how to attract viewers and readers. Both seem to be going low-cost, as Associated Content is an extremely cheap producer of content (some articles are bought for as little as $5), and AOL recently invested in SEED. Here's what Associated Content had to say in their blog post  on the subject:
To our contributors, this means a world of previously unimaginable growth opportunities. As our partnership evolves, a combined Yahoo! and Associated Content will deliver increased distribution (600 million unique visitors monthly, oh my!), better performance, new tools and, more than anything, the opportunity to contribute your premium content to the web’s most powerful media company.
Yahoo offered a video introduction with Associated Content president and co-founder Luke Beatty. "It's a promotion for 380,000 contirbutors, really," he says, adding later that "Crowdsourced content's about to get even more exciting for everybody."
It's not clear how this will exactly affect Associated Content's business--as AdAge points out , they've already got deals with publishers like Reuters and USA Today. But it's smart on Yahoo's part to buy such an inexpensive and near-endless source of content.
Who's next to dive into the measured consumer demand-driven content biz? Demand Media (eHow, Livestrong.com) is ripe for the plucking. Would News Corp's Rupert Murdoch bet again on a company co-founded by former MySpace chairman Richard Rosenblatt? Google? Your predictions?