The big benefit for publishers is that top Buzz stories are linked from the Yahoo home page, which turns a firehose of traffic onto a story. When those stories hit the home page there’s a good chance that the linked site will have a record day in traffic. Yahoo says they’ve sent 16 million visitors to outside sites in those first two weeks, and they’ve gathered data from some of the linked partners:
Yesterday we were linked from the Yahoo home page as well, for this story by Duncan Riley on Japanese ISPs blocking file sharers (see image above, click for larger view of how the links look). The link went live at 5:45 PM PST as one of the bottom four links in the news box (these send less traffic) and was up through the day. Despite the fact that yesterday was a Saturday (slowest traffic day of the week) and that it was up only 1/4 of the day, we had our highest traffic day ever and over 1,000 comments were left on the post. The traffic almost brought our site down, but the guys at Media Temple kept it alive.
Yahoo is still ramping up the number of links it puts on the home page from Buzz, and is being careful about the potential to flat out nuke websites with all the traffic they can send. But it’s clear that a link from Yahoo.com blows away anything Digg or any other competitor can offer. That will keep the Buzz publishers, who must be invited into the service, paying attention.