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Yahoo To Launch Digg Competitor

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Valleywag is reporting that Yahoo is planning on launching Yahoo Buzz, a social news site that will rank news based on popular search results and user voting. Buzz will be designed to compete with Digg, which is all well and good, except that it will have a particularly nauseating twist: Only sites that run Yahoo Publisher Network ads will be shown on the site.

We’ve heard of advertising biasing editorial content, but this is bordering on obscene. A news site that only shows sites that participate in an ad program is a news site users have absolutely no reason to trust. Given all the arguments at Digg over “secret moderators” and Bury Brigades and whatnot, how much of a shitstorm will be kicked up when the top stories seem like they are all coming from the most monetized publishers?

I don’t like the idea of such obvious bias, not even when it’s right up there in the purpose of the site. If this is route Yahoo wants to take, good luck for them. They could have had a solid, popular Digg competitor, something I think we’ve all been waiting for from the big companies, but instead they’ve got this strange advertiser showcase that may or may not be filled with crap blogs covered from head to toe in poorly targeted contextual ads.

Of course, Valleywag may be wrong, who knows?

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