Has Yahoo Buzz beat Digg to the mainstream?

The search engine has provided some statistics of activity on its site from its first two weeks, and it shows that the company may have the upper hand on bringing social news to the mainstream.

According to Yahoo, about 16 million referrals have been sent to publishers -- who currently must be invited to have their content included in the service. Data also shows that the service is quickly catching up to Digg in terms of sending traffic.

Hitwise says that last week, while Digg had 75% more traffic coming into its site, it only sent 10% more traffic to news and media sites. The company explained that the difference is likely due to Buzz's news only content format, whereas Digg is more broad-based.

"There is likely room for a new entrant in social news media, but the landscape is crowded for video sharing and gaming news. So far, Yahoo Buzz seems to be following a different path," research chief Heather Hopkins said.

Either way, the results are making content participants happy. For example, Salon saw its first 1 million unique visitor day in its 12-year history from a link from Yahoo Buzz, and the Huffington Post similarly saw a 800,000 unique visitor day due to Buzz.

TechCrunch also had good things to say about the offering. "It's clear that a link from Yahoo.com blows away anything Digg or any other competitor can offer," Michael Arrington said. "That will keep the Buzz publishers, who must be invited into the service, paying attention."

ReadWriteWeb had similar things to say, but pointed out that Yahoo has something that Digg still doesn't have, a mainstream user base. While the site has done a lot to attract less-technical users, it does not have the pre-existing user base that Yahoo has.

"Digg's own users won't abandon digg for Buzz," Richard MacManus wrote. "But this looks to be a case of the social media pie getting bigger...much bigger."

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