Yahoo has just launched what people are calling a “Digg-like” site called Yahoo Buzz into beta. On the Yahoo blog they say, “We’re excited to introduce Yahoo! Buzz, a new way for you to tell us (and the world) what you think is cool, and in the process, help make Yahoo.com the favorite Internet starting point, even better.” At this point they are including news articles from a list of 100 pre-approved news publishers and then users vote for the ones that are most interesting to them. The stories are ranked on the website from Highest Buzz Score to lowest.
Covering categories like entertainment, world news, U.S. news, sports, business, health, travel, even videos and images, Yahoo Buzz has a goal of uncovering interesting and relevant content from sites around the web. Factors they take into consideration when placing content on the Yahoo! Buzz page include votes, search frequency, and the number of times a story is emailed. Even more important to the selected publishers that are participating is the fact that a few stories will get “promoted” to the Yahoo Home Page each day which will give them all kinds of exposure.
While it has been labeled a “Digg-like” site, to us, the only Digg-like portion of it is the voting of the stories. Otherwise it’s very different because there are many more factors that are considered in determining which stories are shown on the Yahoo Buzz page. Additionally, the fact that it’s limited to 100 news sites makes it very different from Digg where content from just about any site out there can be submitted.
Given the fact that a few stories will make it to the Yahoo Home Page each day, there will be a whole new definition of a traffic surge. The term “Digg Effect” has been used to describe the surge in traffic a site receives when a story makes it to the front page of Digg but with Yahoo Buzz, the number of visitors could potentially be in the millions. TechCrunch noted that when Yahoo was experimenting with linking to third party news sources, over 2 million visitors were sent to Wired within two hours. Compare that with the several thousand or so visitors that Digg sends to a site, and the difference is pretty significant.
There are a few downsides to the service. The first is simply the fact that there are serious issues when viewing the site in Opera. That’s the browser I was using when I first pulled up the site and I had to switch to Firefox to view it. Yahoo is such a big name, you’d think they would make sure the site was compatible with Opera. Another downside is simply the fact that the number of news sources is limited at this point. There are many, many more sites out there that could contribute quality content, so hopefully they’ll be opening the service up to additional publishers in the future.