Yahoo has just launched Yahoo Buzz, a site that aggregates and highlights popular web content in one place, much like the highly trafficked site Digg.com. But unlike Digg, Yahoo Buzz relies on more than user votes to determine a story’s popularity, or what it calls “Buzz Score” – it also takes into account Yahoo’s live search data and how often a story is emailed from Buzz. At launch, users cannot submit or vote on stories from any sites but the just under hundred or so Yahoo has handpicked. But that’s not all.
Those are some lucky sites: stories with high Buzz Score have a shot at being featured on the Yahoo front page, which, according to a quote in the press release from Wired.com’s editor-in-chief Evan Hansen, “is like connecting to a fire hose.” Hansen said Wired.com once received 2 million hits in just under two hours from a story linked on Yahoo’s front page.
Yahoo says there will be more opportunity for publishers to use Buzz soon, pushing the concept of an “open ecosystem,” though there are no details at all about how exacty the “new syndication and monetization tools” will work, short of an API (but APIs aren’t really so new anymore… so maybe it just means “new for Yahoo”?):
As Yahoo! Buzz evolves, it will form the basis for an open ecosystem of publishers, advertisers and consumers. Yahoo! will develop this ecosystem by building out new syndication and monetization tools that enable publishers to share relevant content, connect to more advertisers and reach a broader audience. For example, a Yahoo! Buzz API will enable publishers to add customized Yahoo! Buzz modules or shortcuts to their sites to showcase their own most buzzed items or other popular stories on relevant topics. Over time, we expect this to extend into a powerful content exchange that connects owners of content with distributors of traffic.
I’m curious about how much of a community element is built into this new service; because it’s just launched, it’s too soon to tell, but I think this might be an interesting way for Yahoo to try to build out the social connectivity of its user base. I also wonder if/how Yahoo is integrating two other popular properties: Flickr and del.icio.us. The latter, in particular, has compelling data that Yahoo could add to determine Buzz Score and discover worthy new content.