I wrote an article today on Search Engine Land, asking the question “Is Yahoo’s Buzz a Buzz-Kill?” I then went on to explain some of the various ups and downs most people have experienced when trying to participate with Yahoo Buzz.
I had initially worked really hard to get one of my sites, Weird Asia News, into the Buzz beta program. When I finally got in, it didn’t take me long to see that the system didn’t actually promote popular content in Buzz to the Yahoo.com front page.
Instead, members from the front page team would manually pick articles to feature and the almost all, 99.9%, of the articles that were getting featured where from Yahoo properties.
Even when following all the steps in the algorithm to make my content have the highest “buzz” rate, and being at the top of the Popular Buzz page for over 10 hours, I still found the front page team would simply feature their own content, which in many cases had 0 votes.
Buzz later decided to allow all users the ability to submit content, but turned around and featured even less non-Yahoo properties than before.
Yesterday morning I was on the phone with Michael Gray talking about how Yahoo Buzz worked and why, in my opinion it was a complete waste of time, when I noticed the Daily Herald was showing up numerous times in the “Seen on Yahoo.com” section.
The “Seen on Yahoo.com” section is a part of Buzz that shows all the content that has been featured on the front page.
I commented that it must be some arrangement they have with Yahoo, as it was the only one in the list that was not a Yahoo property and it made up about 50% of the featured content.
A few hours later I started to notice more and more non-Yahoo.com properties showing up in the “Seen on Yahoo.com” section and started to track the front page to see what was being featured there.
As it turns out Yahoo.com has started to feature one non-Yahoo property on the front page. If you look at the site it has 4 stories that it features at any given time and if you click on the bottom right story you will notice that it is a non-Yahoo property that is being featured.
However, if you compare the front page with the “Seen in Yahoo.com” section you will notice that the majority of the articles it lists as being on Yahoo.com, where actually never featured. At least they were not featured anywhere on the front page that I could see.
In fact in the 10 hours I monitored the Yahoo.com front page, I only noticed around 4 non-Yahoo properties featured out of the hundreds the “Seen on Yahoo.com” section was saying had been featured.
It also did not appear that the content with the most “buzz” was being featured on the front page, but rather a selection of only the highest authority sites such as Consumerist, SFGate, and Wall Street Journal.
So even though Yahoo has finally decided to feature some non-Yahoo properties from Buzz on their front page, they are still only picking from a handful of sites and only a small fraction of the collection they say has been “Seen on Yahoo.com.”
Until Yahoo really opens the process up to actually feature the content that has the most “buzz”, then I would not bother spending too much of your time on it, unless of course your one of those high level authority sites.
Some interesting insights, thanks Brent. Its too bad Yahoo doesn’t open itself up a little more. It has potential.