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Yahoo Buzz

Comparing Yahoo Buzz and Digg After Hitting Buzz's Homepage

In March, I wrote that Yahoo Buzz could pose a threat to Digg because of their ability to drive more traffic - and I assumed that Digg's product would be markedly better.

Now four days after Yahoo Buzz officially opened up to all publishers, I will take a bolder stance: I'm finding Yahoo Buzz more effective as a reader / consumer and as a publisher. And I'm surprised.

My major critique of Digg has been that it has struggled to extend it's community and product outside of technology. And that's where Yahoo Buzz excels: the content is diverse... across categories and sources. I expect this will continue as Yahoo's community (the largest on the web) will power / demand diversity.

InGameNow's Blog made it to the Yahoo Buzz homepage yesterday and it delivered big, steady traffic. Whereas Digg sends massive traffic instantly (and it tends to somewhat worthless traffic) - Yahoo's sends very consistent traffic that, from this single experience, seems to be more active and engaged. Two things are yet to be seen though:

1) how Yahoo's algorithm matures and whether it creates a community of power users (such as those that rule Digg) 2) whether Buzz's current traffic / activity will change dramatically as it gains popularity

For now though... and based on my first few days with Yahoo Buzz... I'd rather hit Buzz's homepage than Digg's.

The official email from Yahoo Buzz on August 19th:

START SUBMITTING STORIES TO YAHOO! BUZZ TODAY!

Thank you for your patience as we fine-tuned Yahoo! Buzz. You can now showcase your stories to the largest audience on the Internet.

Visit our Publisher page to pick up a button for your site and see tips on ways to get more votes.

Do not forget, your story may be featured on Yahoo.com. Good luck and welcome aboard.

GET STARTED NOW http://buzz.yahoo.com/publishers

Yahoo! Buzz Team

Yahoo Buzz Has Ability to Out Muscle Digg By Delivering Greater Traffic

A week after Yahoo Buzz launched, I suggested that Digg shouldn't have reason to be nervous unless Yahoo took advantage of their ability to deliver greater traffic to publishers: "...Yahoo has an opportunity to out-muscle Digg by delivering top content-providers more traffic than any other web property (and rumors are that Yahoo is willing to float top articles on Yahoo.com’s front door)."

Today, three weeks after Buzz launched, Michael Arrington suggests that Yahoo is in fact capable of this:

Yesterday we were linked from the Yahoo home page as well, for this story by Duncan Riley on Japanese ISPs blocking file sharers (see image above, click for larger view of how the links look). The link went live at 5:45 PM PST as one of the bottom four links in the news box (these send less traffic) and was up through the day. Despite the fact that yesterday was a Saturday (slowest traffic day of the week) and that it was up only 1/4 of the day, we had our highest traffic day ever and over 1,000 comments were left on the post.

While Yahoo Buzz fails in many key (but fixable) ways... this is scary news for Digg because their ecosystem is predicated on driving traffic to the publisher. Digg is successful in large part because blogs embed the Digg widget on every post and content creators submit their own content in the hopes of acquiring free traffic.

If

1. Yahoo Buzz opens itself up to all publishers (my single biggest complaint as I don't understand how a social news site can also be a closed community) 2. And Yahoo allows content from all publishers to reach the front door

We might see users flock to Buzz in hopes of seeing the sorts of traffic that TechCrunch saw... enough to take down the average server and enough to out-muscle anything Digg can provide.

An aside, Yahoo's ability to drive such tremendous traffic from its front door is precisely why they are still a massively valuable company, an under-utilized property and attractive to Microsoft...

A Week Into Yahoo Buzz... Digg Probably Isn't Nervous

Nearly a week after Yahoo Buzz has launched, and I haven't found a compelling reason to do anything more than visit the homepage. I get the sense that this is the overwhelming sentiment and that Digg isn't losing any sleep over the much-hyped Yahoo property.

I have two primary complaints (and numerous others):

1) I am amazed that Buzz launched without allowing publishers (like myself) to post content. This is wrong on so many levels. First, readers don't want to read what is essentially a combined rss feed of Yahoo and USA Today. What makes Digg so enjoyable is it's ability to expose readers to varied and new content.

More importantly, it prevents Buzz's growth from a content and readership perspective. Digg has 'share this' icons / links on millions of blogs and there is a clear incentive for readers and writers to post their content to Digg (get traffic, build community rankings) - without that incentive, Digg would collapse, readers would have less content to browse, and the 'economy of content' collapses.

... And Yahoo has an opportunity to out-muscle Digg by delivering top content-providers more traffic than any other web property (and rumors are that Yahoo is willing to float top articles on Yahoo.com's front door).

Yahoo Buzz

2. Buzz has a few verticals: Sports, World, Video, etc. The verticals are nothing more than a sort order for articles. The top searches module on the right page is consistent on every Buzz page and Obama, Hilary Duff, and Iran (top 3 searches) have no relevance to the Sports category. There are power-users on Digg for each category and there are readers who only visit specific categories - there is no motivation to move beyond the first page on Yahoo Buzz.