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Reason #43 to hate Digg

September 3, 2008

I used to read Digg, and in fact, I still do from time to time.  For those that don’t know, Digg is a news aggregation site where the users submit and vote on articles.  The more popular the article, the more likely it is to make it to the main Digg home page.  Digg users scour the web for exciting or new articles, then submit those stories to Digg.  The other users then digg the article if they like it.  If an article makes it to the home page, the original site hosting the article can see a massive jump in the number of people viewing their site.  Smaller sites can be brought down completely by the “Digg effect”.  Larger sites can see increased revenue from ad profits or other venues.

Which leads me to an interview that Invesp did with a top Digg user.  A user who consistently submits good stories can become a top user.  Since Digg is a community site, it’s all about networking.  When a user keeps submitting good stories, other users keep an eye out for that user’s submissions and vote for it.  Now, businesses aren’t stupid.  They know that Digg is a massively popular site.  So some of these top Digg users will whore their services out to these businesses. This one user in the interview charges about $1200 to get an article to the front page.

This is one of the big reasons I have stopped reading Digg for the most part.  Once I found out about the blatant manipulation that goes on, and how hard it is for a regular user who doesn’t have the network connections that a top user has to get his or her article to the front page, I stopped caring.  Digg essentially became a big television that constantly shows commercials.  You might get a bit of information here and there, but mostly you’re just being used by bigger businesses to drive customers to their sites.

This is similar to what happens on YouTube.  If you want your video on YouTube to go viral, you better have deep pockets and you better contact one of those businesses that can guarantee your video will get to the most popular video section.  It’s disgusting to me to see something that should be so pure, driven entirely by the community, be perverted by some greedy little shits and big business.

If you insist on reading Digg, then stick to the Upcoming section and avoid the Popular section.  You’ll get a much more well-rounded view of user submissions because the articles in the Upcoming section have yet to be latched onto by the drones who will digg any story submitted by a top user.  Avoid the top user stories if you want to help put the kibosh on this pay-for-front-page bullshit.  Don’t know who the top users are?  Click here to see a constantly updated list of the top submitters.

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