I recently started a ranged barbarian, having had the same thought you mentioned, and am now stalled at lvl5. He just doesn't do enough damage to be anything other than an annoyance to other party members. He does just enough so that everyone has to chase the mobs around until they can establish agro - and if he waits for them to establish initial agro, the mobs are dead by the time the arrows start arriving.
The issues with ranged vs. melee are just too great at the moment for me to say this is a viable option..
First, we have the rate of fire. With 2 ranger levels and a BAB of 5, I'm firing alot slower than my counterparts with axes and swords. This equates to a lower DPS rate, which means I'm not contributing as much to the party - I could go in with my +1 acid light mace and DPS them quicker than I can range them - and this is using a race-restricted icy-burst longbow of pure good at lvl5.
The second issue - and this is a really irritating one - is that I often have as many as 50% of my arrows just disappear. This is particularly noticeable against mobs that are moving and animals (such as wargs/wolves and scorpions). It happens nearly 100% of the time if the mob is moving at an angle to my line of fire. You'd think that a character trained to use a bow would know about LEADING the target..
I'll give him another level or two, when I get manyshot and a Silver Longbow, but doing great damage for 20-seconds every 2 minutes doesn't sound like all that much fun when the other 1:40 the mobs are plucking the arrows out of their hide and laughing at me.