Does the world really need yet another Digg clone? Yahoo! seems to think so. They have launched Buzz, yet another social news site where the most popular stories are determined by user votes.
Stories on Buzz will initially be seeded from 100 pre-approved publishers. However, once the system is out of beta more publishers will be invited to share their content and get traffic from the site.
Users can “Buzz” up a story that they find interesting. Every time a user clicks on the Buzz button alongside a story, its Buzz Score is incremented. The search term popularity and the number of times a story is emailed from Buzz also count towards the Buzz Score. Stories with the highest Buzz Score are shown in descending order on the Yahoo! Buzz homepage.
The most attractive thing about Yahoo! Buzz is that the stories with the highest Buzz Scores may be published on the Yahoo! homepage, which can drive millions of visitors to the site in just one day.
Popular stories from each day will be encapsulated on the Buzz Log, the same way that the Buzz Index has been doing for popular search trends on Yahoo! since October 2005.
Yahoo! Buzz is very similar to many other social content websites, e.g. del.icio.us, Digg, Propeller, Reddit, StumbleUpon and last week’s latest arrival, BigNews from Ask.com.
According to Yahoo!, Buzz is unique because their rankings also take into account things like trends in search queries on Yahoo! Search and the number of times that content is shared with friends over email. Internet users are not as likely to be impressed with Yahoo!’s latest offering.
Various generic and niche social news sites already rule this space. Digg receives an estimated 12.5 million monthly users, compared to Propeller, launched by AOL last year, which receives less than 3 million users. Yahoo! Buzz will need to fight hard to wrestle traffic away from these sites, and while publishers might be keen to join, with the hopes of making it to the Yahoo! homepage, users will not be as keen to leave their established favourite social news sites.
The screenshot above illustrates that Yahoo! Buzz is not seeing huge volumes on its first day. While the Buzz Scores of the top stories are in the hundreds, closer inspection reveals that the actual number of votes is much, much lower (read the number of votes below the highlighted “buzz up” button). This could change, of course if the service is properly marketed and diligently promoted for a long time.
We have a couple more screenshots from the system below:
Error message that shows up when you try to Buzz a story that isn’t integrated into the Buzz system.
Related top stories are suggested when you Buzz! up a story.