Yahoo Inc. on Thursday (Nov. 16) said it had acquired, a site that helps users arrange contests to rate others' photos, video or singing, in a move to promote more popular participation across Yahoo sites.

Bix is a 16-person company headed by Mike Speiser, who co-founded dot-com-era start-up, which first popularized the idea that polling user opinions could work as a tool to help individuals find personally relevant information.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Contests on Bix range from rating creative undertakings like karaoke, dance, photography or writing to "Hot or Not" beauty contests, where participants judge others on looks.

"Anyone can come and create a competition, both individuals or corporations," Speiser said in a phone interview. "These are user-generated contests, not just user-generated content."

Bix is one of a new crop of Web sites that encourage user self-expression, by enabling people to try their hand at making short video or audio recordings. Toward that end, it has video- and audio-recording tools that work with computers connected to a low-cost Webcam device, cameraphone or digital video camera.

Founded only in January of this year, Bix is the latest in a string of social media sites Yahoo has acquired including photo-sharing site Flickr, shared bookmarking site, group calendar, and video editing site Jumpcut.

Popularity contests have taken off over the past year as a way for members of social network sites like News Corp. MySpace to identify people who share their interests.

Since Bix was formally introduced in early August, the site has attracted more than one million users, Speiser said.

Contests can be initiated by Bix members, or by corporate sponsors. In one example of its utility for advertisers, amusement part operator Six Flags asked people to submit their best impersonation of a roller-coaster scream. Details can be found at

Organizers call the shots by defining the nature of a competition, setting deadlines, and selecting who participates. Winners are selected by the largest vote tally.

In coming months, users will be able to set up and run Bix contests on other sites such as MySpace or Facebook as well as various Yahoo sites, rather than having to go to the Bix site.

Speiser will join Yahoo as a vice president in charge of community-oriented sites like Yahoo Groups and Yahoo Photos.

Bradley Horowitz, Yahoo vice president of product strategy, said his company was looking at how Bix might be used in conjunction with other Yahoo sites include instant-messaging, video and other entertainment sites.