Yahoo Wades into Original News with 'Contributor'

By Katie Kindelan Comment

Starting today, Internet news junkies who rely on Yahoo! can now see a familiar byline on that breaking news scoop: their own. The online news giant has opened its doors to outside contributors with the launch of the “Yahoo! Contributor Network.”

Yahoo! grew to the top of the Internet news domain by aggregating and featuring other people’s journalism. With the launch of Contributor, it joins a growing field of Web sites, led by the likes of Huffington Post and Salon, that use user-submitted content to drive traffic and increase revenue.

“Obviously Yahoo does very well in display with curated and professional content,” said Luke Beatty, Yahoo’s Vice President and General Manager. “But it was missing that element for those advertisers who were also interested in engaged, socially connected and authentic voices that provide a real first-hand perspective.”

Yahoo!’s expansion into a more social media-friendly news delivery system began in May with the company’s reported $100 million acquisition of Associated Content.

That site’s more than 400,000 freelance writers, photographers and videographers will form the base of the new network.

“Contributor” is already on the hunt for, well, contributors, calling it an opportunity for users to “share their knowledge and passion with hundreds of millions of people worldwide,” and “find your audience and earn money.”

Using the user-driven format to provide content has been viewed, so far, as a win-win for all parties: the user gets a prominent platform to feature their content and the site gets page views and cheaper, or free, content.

Contributors to Yahoo! will have the potential to be compensated for their work, based on performance, measured in page views and feedback. News, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Shine, Yahoo Sports and the Yahoo homepage will all participate in the network.

About 28 percent of people who get news online check Yahoo, ahead of CNN‘s 16 percent and Google‘s 15 percent, according to September data from the Pew Research Center.

The company expects to post more than 2,000 stories a day through the new site.