Yahoo! Voices, formerly Associated Content (AC), was a division of Yahoo! that focused on online publishing. Yahoo! Voices distributed 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. On July 2, 2014, Yahoo! announced that it would be shutting down Yahoo! Voices on July 31st and the Yahoo! Contributor Network at the end of August 2014.
Associated Content was started in January 2005 by Luke Beatty. They hired their CTO in March 2006, Sonu Kansal. It was based in Denver, Colorado, with business development, sales and community offices in New York City.
In April 2009, Associated Content hired a new CEO, Patrick Keane, formerly of CBS Interactive and Google and closed a $6 million Series C round of funding from Softbank Capital and Canaan Partners. Three weeks after the funding announcement, Associated Content reorganized and laid off 5 employees.
On December 1, 2011, "Yahoo!" announced a new service, Yahoo! Voices, which "replaces Associated Content as Yahoo! Contributor Network's official digital library." In announcing the new service, Yahoo! claimed more stringent submission guidelines would be used in accepting new content and that the company would delete over 75,000 pieces that they deemed to be "inactive and outdated". The new service aimed to provide "more than two million pieces of original content, spanning thousands of different topics, created by more than 500,000 individual experts and enthusiasts".
Yahoo! announced on July 2, 2014 that it would shut down Yahoo! Voices and Yahoo! Contributor Network on July 31, 2014.
In addition to text content (articles), AC featured categories for video, audio, and slide shows along with an online community where users shared their expertise, network and voice opinions.
In contrast to many content publishing sites, AC paid many users for content up front. Articles were usually required to be at least 400 words. Pictures were acceptable if from approved sources. The "Assignment Desk" was another source of article ideas and income for writers. AC displayed predefined article titles and users could "claim" the assignment. All on-site assignments (as opposed to "Partner Assignments") paid performance-based revenue while some also offered up-front payment. Content could also be submitted without an up-front payment. All articles written by users who agreed to the contract were eligible to receive payments based on the number of page views.
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", were eventually called "Contributors" (after briefly being dubbed "Sources"). The "Citizen Journalist" motif was dropped.
Associated Content was criticized for the quality of its content. Slate technical writer Farhad Manjoo summed 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." Scott Rosenberg criticized Associated Content and other companies for publishing content not aimed at human readers, but for the purpose of influencing search engines, and for actually degrading Google search results. Independent blogger Lenin Nair also criticized the remuneration policies of Associated Content.
- "Furthering Our Focus". yahoo.tumblr.com. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Vascellaro, Jessica E. (2009-03-30). "Start-up Hires CBS, Google Veteran". The Wall Street Journal.
- "Associated Content Raises $6 Million In Third Round — paidContent". Paidcontent.org. 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- "Industry Moves Round-Up: EMI, The Atlantic, Associated Content — paidContent". Paidcontent.org. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- "Yahoo Buys Associated Content for a reported $100 Million, though the final purchase price has not been made public". Atlanta Post. May 19, 2010. Archived from the original on 26 May 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- Introducing Yahoo! Voices Archived 2013-01-21 at the Wayback Machine, Yahoo!, 2011-12-01
- "Help for Yahoo Account". contributor.yahoo.com.
- "Archive Team: The Silenced Yahoo! Voices : Free Web : Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". archive.org.
- Holmes, Elizabeth (2009-03-03). "Selling Expertise On the Internet For Extra Cash". The Wall Street Journal.
- "FAQ: Why can't I submit content for up-front payment review?". Associated Content. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- "FAQ: Performance payments". Associated Content. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- Tish Grier (2007-03-26). "A 'middle man' for grassroots journalism?". Online Journalism Review from USC Annenberg. Archived from the original on 24 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- "FAQ: What is Associated Content's editorial policy?". Associated Content. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- "AOL's dumb plan to mimic the universe's worst news site". Slate. Archived from the original on 24 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
- Scott Rosenberg (2009-12-14). "SEO mills: That's not fast food, it's bot fodder". Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Scott Rosenberg (2010-08-20). "Google News gets gamed by a crappy content farm". Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- "Unethical Business Practices by Associated Content (AC)". cutewriting.blogspot.in. Retrieved 2017-10-19.