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Hot or not? For $US20 million, definitely hot

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The US may be heading for a recession, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of money around for buying desirable internet properties – most recently, $US20 million for the popularity contest website Hot or Not.

TechCrunch reports that Hot or Not has been bought by buyers associated with Avid Life Media, a specialist online media group.

Hot or Not, founded in 2000 by university graduates James Hong and Jim Young, gives visitors the opportunity to vote “hot” or “not” on pictures posted on the site.

One amazing thing about the sale is that it is really quite a basic website, but it popped up at just the right time to catch the wave of interest in user-generated content to build a big audience.

The Hot or Not business model is primarily advertising-based, with some additional revenue flowing from virtual flower sales and a premium fee when users want to connect. TechCrunch says its annual revenue is estimated to be around $US5 million, with $US2 million in profit. According to Comscore, the site has around five million monthly unique visitors and 200 million page views.

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