Yahoo! Acquires Contest Site Bix

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Online karaoke and contest site Bix has signed an agreement to be acquired by Yahoo! Bix CEO Mike Speiser will continue running Bix but will also take on responsibility for product management for Yahoo! Groups, 360, and Photos under the title VP of Community.

Speiser was previously the founder of Epinions. Epinions was acquired by Shopping.com (then DealTime.com) in 2003, which in turn was acquired by Ebay in 2005. Epinions had an estimated valuation of $30 million at the time of acquisition. The terms of the Bix acquisition weren’t disclosed but it was probably for much less than Epinions; Yahoo! was rumored to have paid $15 million for online video editing company Jumpcut last month. Bix probably got a little less than that but Yahoo! got a seasoned social media man to put in charge of a number of product management at the company’s most social products.

Bix is a 16 person company based in Palo Alto. The company was founded in January and went live in August. They report 1 million unique visitors since launch. They have raised $6.77 million from Sutter Hill Ventures, Trinity, and others. The terms of the acquisition aren’t being disclosed. Our previous coverage of Bix is here.

Bix has built a community of users by offering prizes of up to $50,000 in its contests. Contests are set up by the site, but others are created by users. Those contests include not just karaoke but everything from beauty contests to comedy, dance, a cappella singing and photo competitions. Those contests can be public or private. Each are wrapped in targeted advertising and there’s a strong mobile component. The site has some basic community features and an “easy upload to MySpace” tool.

Speiser says that Bix will maintain it’s current site under Yahoo ownership and the team will move to Sunnyvale. Speiser says that “in the coming months, we’ll offer more customization and atomize the contest tools so that you can run contests on your blog or Myspace page or corporate web site.”

Fox has it’s own karaoke site in kSolo and something tells me that every time anyone sings in the shower we’re contributing to the grand Google karaoke database.

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