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MSN: bloggers for hire

Microsoft is hiring a team of bloggers to publish original content on its MSN Internet portal, furthering the software giant's love-hate relationship with owning news or entertainment. According to a job posting on recruiting site, the software giant is hiring freelance contributing editors to "moderate, write and produce blogs," on several topics, including television, music, sports and technology. (Media site Mediapost called out the move.

Microsoft has a schizophrenic history with owning content, given that its roots (and billions) are from technology. The portal killed off one online publisher, travel site Mungo Park, in 1998 after spending lavishingly on reporting expeditions around the world. Last year, the company shed its online publication Slate, selling to the Washington Post. The company is also reportedly trying to pull out of its partnership with NBC on cable news network and online news site MSNBC.

Still, content is apparently all the rage with portals now that the online advertising business has gotten a second wind. Rival America Online nurtures a handful of original blogs, but it's long published online city guides and a host of material from media parent Time Warner. Yahoo is ramping up a media group in Hollywood to create unique Web shows and original news and information that it once only licensed or aggregated from third parties. Google, which would likely refuse to be categorized as a portal, is soliciting orginal Web videos from third parties so that it can host, sell and playback the material from its site.