Yahoo Buzz is a social news site that allows users to vote for their favorite news stories, which then become more popular and have a chance of making it onto the front page of Yahoo’s highly trafficked front page. If the idea sounds familiar, it’s because the site follows the model of other popular social news sites such as Digg and Propeller very closely.
When it first launched in February, only a few hundred publishers were able to submit their stories to Yahoo Buzz. Now you can submit news from any site to the service, but they still handpick which ones are added to the Yahoo front page. Yahoo Buzz manages to look like a social news site, without all that pesky democracy.
One of the reasons that the site is so popular is the sheer number of visitors that it can drive to a news site in a day. Even for news site that are used to receiving flashes of traffic from sites like Digg or Slashdot can receive record traffic based on a link on Yahoo’s front page. Some publishers have even reported that becoming popular on Yahoo Buzz has sent them over 1 million users in a single day. This kind of traffic can knock a site offline for hours by overloading their servers with a firehose of traffic.
While many webmasters dream of seeing this kind of surge of users to their content, others are put out by the elitist underpinnings of the service. Many publishers are turned off by the fact that Yahoo editors hand pick which links will end up on the Yahoo front page, which takes the much of the power to make a site popular out of users’ hands. This is somewhat understandable given the stature of the Yahoo homepage as the largest portal homepage on the web. Nevertheless, many publishers are likely to start submitting their content to Yahoo Buzz. Although many sites have been blocked from submitting their content for the first five months of the service, it’s hard to deny the draw of bringing new users to their content.