- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Last week the big Digg news was around a few images of Digg’s stats published by Hitwise. Many bloggers posted the graphics in hope of hitting the Digg frontpage and many said that the drop in traffic was because the Digg users left the site after the recent changes. My belief is that the traffic is down because of issues with Digg’s inbound SEO traffic. Andy Beard has a good look at the SEO changes that may have resulted in Digg’s lower traffic. I still believe aggregators like Digg don’t belong in Google – just the source content should be in Google.
How much do you think it costs to get a story to the Digg frontpage? I’m not talking about the blogs that have big enough Digg loyalty (or a default slot) that can get their content to the Digg frontpage on their own. I am talking about the sites and brands that have to pay a “consultant” for a push on Digg.
Earlier this month I received the email below from a pretty high ranking Digg user. For a fee of $150, the firm guarantees they will get my content to the Digg frontpage. If they can’t get it to the frontpage, I don’t pay. I wonder with this most recent traffic hit, will the cost drop to say $100?
This will be my last post about the new Digg site. I’ve found watching the new site go live and the reactions from both passionate Digg users and the blogs that have reaped the big cash rewards of a busted algorithm fascinating. I think there is one set of topics that hasn’t been discussed and so this post will conclude my coverage.
Why Digg Won’t Change
I struggled with using “won’t” or “shouldn’t” for this section. Apparently this new release marks the fifth time Digg users have gone on the offensive for changes to the social news (?) service. With a new CEO at the helm as of today, Digg could be trying to position the service for growth. I think that Digg is instead trying to change in the hopes of getting fresh acquisition interest. The old model was stale for Digg and many early Digg users have grown up and moved on. Other services like Twitter and Facebook have passed Digg for news sharing supremacy in a short amount of time.
For Digg to start to add more cylinders (or is it batteries?) to their engine, they needed a freshness overhaul. Two years ago I wondered if Digg was looking to be acquired by a media outlet. I think the new version positions Digg as a good acquisition target for a media service like Comcast.
In just a week, all of the major tech blogs are pumping Digg bigtime – something that hasn’t been seen since Twitter launched their first buttons and blogs pushed their Digg buttons to the recycle bin. This renewed publisher interest is exactly what Digg needs again – they need visibility and inbound (non-Google) traffic.
Would Digg feel a big hit if all of the top Digg users left the site permanently? With the new auto-generated RSS feed option that most of the popular blogs are using to feed ALL of their stories (even sponsor thank you messages), the “discovery” model isn’t as important anymore.
What I find interesting is that today the company announced some algorithm changes and it sure looks like we are back to the old “ars and wired” dominated home page. What is shocking is that there have been close to zero non-tech stories to hit the new homepage since the launch. I mean don’t the New York Yankees deserve some frontpage love?
I’ve got two more Digg stories to write — actually I only had one for tonight but then I noticed something worth sharing. It’s certainly been an interesting week for the social news aggregator. They traded oxen for wheels and sold some sheep to keep the new Cassandra servers running as they cross the river. We’ve heard from our close sources that several tech blogs have sent Digg a whole gaggle of new oxen but so far we are unable to confirm.
Top Digg user JD Rucker put together a chart showing the last 118 stories to make the front page and which sites grabbed the highest percentages. Check out his blog for the full chart. Some notes:
- Mashable owned the home page with 15% of the stories – and if you change the clock to only Friday, my guess is that the percentage would be closer to 70%. Mashable also wins for “most unlikely story to hit the frontpage” with their “thank you sponsors” post making the Digg frontpage on Friday evening – now that’s a thank you if I ever saw one!
- Leo Laporte grabbed 8% of the total stories – a lot of which go to his Google Buzz feed (I thought he quit Buzz??) – perhaps this promotion is due to Leo holding the 2nd most popular spot for default users
My suggestion to Digg is simple – if the algorithm that promotes stories is broken, turn off the front page until you get it fixed. While it looks like today’s tech blog to promote is RWW (yesterday was TC), it just looks bad on Digg to not have some sort of variety — and I’m not even talking about tech blog variety – I am talking about overall variety.
The benefit to turning off the frontpage while making the corrections is that you will force users to “learn” how to use the new MyNews function – a function which blogger Robert Scoble says is his favorite part of the new Digg.
Yesterday I posted some of my comments about the new Digg site along with a video from several of the top digg users (aka power diggers). I took some time out of my coding session to take a deeper look at the new Digg. What I found is that many of the elements of the new Digg mirror those on Twitter (and to a lesser extent Facebook). I can say that Digg loads much faster than Twitter and is a lot more polished on the user interface side (something Twitter really needs to fix).
Interestingly, when I visit both Mashable and NextWeb today, both are pushing huge banners to get their readers to follow them on Digg. This follows the same pattern as with the launches of Google Buzz and, earlier, Twitter. Both publishers are defaults on the new Digg and my guess is that we will see continued pumpage (from a good number of publishers) as long as Digg provides the same traffic burst as they did previously. Since these publishers are defaults for new users, they should see an even larger increase in traffic as more of their stories reach (and dominate) the home page (see below for more on this topic).
Let’s take a look at some of the core concepts on Twitter and the new Digg to see where the similarities exist.
Continue reading “Is The New Digg Just a Prettier, Faster Twitter?” »
Yesterday the big news wasn’t that Lindsay Lohan is out of rehab. The real news was that the new version of the social news site Digg launched to the public. Alex from Next Web has an overview of the new Digg. While I don’t use Digg much anymore, it was interesting to see how much of Digg seems to be just like Twitter. From using the “following/followers” terminology to the addition of a default list (aka Suggested User List), it seems like Digg wants to be the “Twitter for News”.
Maybe I never noticed it but it appears that you can now submit a RSS feed and every story you post will automatically be posted to Digg. Many of the accounts I looked at yesterday are setup with this auto-post function.
If we can get serious for a minute, the Suggested User List is what made twitter hit the big time – period. And Digg wants to follow the same pattern hoping the default list will help them regain a strong position in the new technology market. Not surprisingly, Mashable has about 30 feeds on the default technology list and “friends” also take up a lot of the tech list similar to how the Twitter list was/is crafted while I don’t see any of the power diggers (these are the users who spend many hours a day finding stories to post and share on Digg) like Muhammad Saleem on the list. Lastly, if you look closely, most of the “friends” are just scraped RSS feeds.
Most blog posts I read regarding the new Digg launch ended with a question about whether this new version will help Digg regain the buzz and attention they had several years ago.
Last night I listened to the Drill Down podcast which brings together several of the top power Digg users to discuss popular tech stories from the previous week.
The Drill Down podcast includes several Digg users who get the most stories to the frontpage – Mr. Babyman, Muhammad Saleem and JD Rucker. It’s interesting to hear the group get so fired up about the new Digg. From what I can tell, it looks like the Digg team didn’t include these users in the feedback process while building the new version.
It’s been a really, really long time since we took a look at Digg. For those of you that are new to CN, Digg was the first site I reviewed when I started CenterNetworks. I remember attending the Future of Web Apps in San Francisco in late 2006 and hearing Digg founder Kevin Rose speak at the conference. So many attendees I spoke with were there to hear specifically to hear Rose speak — you can read my notes from his presentation.
This week the big news in the valley wasn’t the new iPhone OS, but rather the removal of Digg CEO Jay Adelson and the announcement that Kevin Rose has taken over as CEO of Digg. I think this is actually a smart move for Digg — below I share the reasons why.
Digg has been losing mindshare over the last year as sites like Twitter and Facebook take over as the sharing leaders. Bloggers I spoke with prefer pushing FB/Twitter because they will see at least some traffic whereas Digg is an all or nothing game. And if you aren’t a top digger or a digg-friendly site, your chances of hitting the home page are nearly zero. Lastly, many of the larger blogs were given the free Twitter follower gift which provides for massive traffic and sharing. There’s another big benefit of pushing Twitter over Digg – readers immediately visit your site/blog and potentially interact at the source rather than the chance of losing the reader at the middleman site.