There are a few clouds gathering around Yahoo these days. The Internet star's delay in rolling out a crucial new advertising system sideswiped its stock price in July, and investors remain jittery about its prospects against Google, Microsoft, and other rivals.

But one ray of sunshine is beaming at the company's Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters: Yahoo Answers.

An online Q&A service, Yahoo Answers has become the second most popular Internet reference site after Wikipedia, according to Comscore. In June, Yahoo Answers attracted 12.3 million unique visitors, a 35 percent spike from the previous month. (For comparison, media sensation YouTube had 13.4 million visitors in June.) During the same period, 947,000 people clicked on Google Answers, down 4 percent from May.

The secret to Yahoo Answers's success?

Get your tens of millions of users to create your next hot product - and then give it away. On Yahoo Answers, anyone can ask any question, from the inane to the articulate, and get a response from, well, just about anyone. For free. It's a MySpace for know-it-alls and the perpetually clueless.

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