Yahoo! Buzz Launches! April Fools!

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Yahoo, in desperate need of good buzz these days, today launched Yahoo! Buzz, promising to uncover and deliver the most interesting and relevant content from Web sites across the Internet to the Yahoo homepage.

Sounds like a search engine! Social search anyone?

The only problem: Y Live! redux. This was the message on Yodel Anecdotal, Yahoo's official corporate blog:

"Not Found ... Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here. How did I get here?"

I know how I got there, Yahoo. The question is, How did you get here?

We saw your new Y! buzz logo on TechCrunch but not on Yahoo!

Still in beta, the new Yahoo! Buzz allows consumers to vote (Digg) and even submit to Digg and other social media sites.Yahoo! Buzz also uses search patterns to identify stories and videos from news sources and blogs.

The prize? Editorial consideration for feature placement on Yahoo.com.

The audience? More than 500 million users. The final judge? Human editors.

Yahoo! Buzz ranks the most popular content using what Yahoo terms "a unique approach that combines consumer votes with search popularity" to give a story a Buzz Score. The Yahoo initiative creates a lens (Squidoo!) on what people are most interested in to enhance relevance on Yahoo.com, and help publishers deliver content to a wider Yahoo audience.

The goal? To make Yahoo the gateway to the Internet again. The world's home page.

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In its beta phase, Yahoo Buzz has content from nearly 100 publishers, ranging from large online publishing brands to small, influential blogs. It will open up to all publishers interested in having their content included in Yahoo! Buzz.

Participating publishers are given an online 'badge' enabling their readers to vote and submit stories to Buzz in real-time. Stories with the highest Buzz Scores will be highlighted via direct links to the publishers' sites from http://buzz.yahoo.com and submitted to Yahoo.com's editors for possible coverage on the Yahoo! homepage.

Yahoo "allows" users to submit Buzz stories to social news sites including delicious, Digg, Facebook, Propeller, Reddit and Stumbleupon.

We'd like to see Yahoo try to stop 'em!

Yahoo Buzz promises to form the basis for an open ecosystem of publishers, advertisers and consumers.

Coming soon: 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, Yahoo expects this to extend into a powerful content exchange that connects owners of content with distributors of traffic.

Adsdaq anyone?

So who were the mystery beta testers? The proponents of the "Free-conomics." Find out what Yahoo and fire hoses have in common after the jump.

"Getting a link on Yahoo!'s Front Page is like connecting to a fire hose," said Evan Hansen, editor-in-chief, Wired.com. "Thanks to this program, we got more than 2 million page views in less than two hours from a single headline, helping to drive a 1400 percent increase in Yahoo! referral traffic versus the previous month and enabling us to reach a vast audience that may not otherwise see the stories we publish on Wired.com."

Another Buzz-timonial from People Digital:

"Yahoo! Buzz builds on an openness initiative Yahoo! launched last year in which editors began highlighting third-party content from across the Web in the "Featured Today" module on Yahoo.com. This effort has already provided tremendous value for consumers and publishers, representing a first step in the creation of a more open system for Web content. "When Yahoo! linked to People.com's Sexiest Man Alive coverage, referrals from Yahoo! increased by over 11 times versus the average day," said Fran Hauser, President, People Digital.

And another official press release statement:

"Yahoo Buzz is a good example of how we are continuing to innovate and open up our key starting points to third party publishers, making Yahoo! more social and personally relevant for our half a billion consumers," Jeff Weiner, executive vice president, Yahoo! Network Division said in a statement. "In addition, we recently announced that we will be opening up our user interface for Yahoo! Search, as well as creating a smarter inbox by opening up Yahoo! Mail, two other key ways that consumers start with Yahoo!."