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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?
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?” »
Earlier this week, I took a look at the social news service Propeller and wondered if the service was coming in for a landing. Since that post, one of Propeller’s users submitted the CN story to Propeller and I thought it might be interesting to see what we got from the submission.
The story was posted on Propeller 27 hours ago as of the time of this blog post. The story (as seen below) has received:
- 45 props (these are the up votes)
- 2 drops (I guess these are like down votes)
- 60 views listed on Propeller (not sure if this is how many people visited the page on Propeller or something else?)
- 247 comments!
I count 16 total pageviews in my analytics software using the propeller.com referral domain. This means that nearly none of the people who commented on the story actually read the story. This is an issue for most social news sites – and I think will be an issue for Buzz as well. Outbound traffic is the only real measure for a social news site – the more traffic that the service sends out, the more people want to invest in it.
Can you believe it’s been nearly two-and-a-half years since the social news site Propeller went live? It’s even more amazing that the “new” Netsape launched almost four years ago! In case you aren’t familiar with the story of Netscape and Propeller, here’s a brief history lesson. When now Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis sold his blogs to AOL, he became the product manager for a new social news site within the AOL network named Netscape. Yes, the same Netscape that in the early Internet was a Web browser. Soon thereafter Calacanis left AOL and Tom Drapeau took over as Netscape Director. We interviewed Tom shortly after he accepted his new role.
Tom noted that Netscape had a crew of “scouts” who were paid for, “several activities, including posting stories, engaging in thoughtful conversations in comment threads, and keeping an eye out for spam.” This made Netscape a bit different than Digg although Netscape was called a clone of Digg since day 1.
In September 2007, Propeller took flight and the social news site took the place of the Netscape site. Many wondered if the new location might hurt the overall ability to brand the social news service. While lots of people called Propeller a Digg clone, many (including myself) had high hopes for the service.
We initially reviewed blog directory Blogged earlier this year. It’s a human curated blog directory that provides a (somewhat bogus) score for each blog. Today Blogged is back with their launch of a news portal site. Blogged editors will pull breaking news and the most compelling stories from their content categories (technology, entertainment, sports, etc.) and then displays the stories on the frontpage.
Google News and Yahoo News feature top stories from traditional news sources using a combination of technology and human editors. Memetrackers such as Techmeme and Blogrunner use algorithms to identify and present related stories as told by cliques of bloggers related to a particular industry. User-generated news communities such as Mixx, Digg, and Reddit showcase popular stories daily from across the Web as saved and voted on by individuals. Blogged.com is the only community that features the top qualified stories, representing all popular topics, organized by categories from around the blogosphere, combined with a full informational directory that includes rankings, reviews and recommended reading for each blog.
Today’s launch by Blogged seems very similar to what Blogrunner offers except that it’s human curated versus machine-driven. From a gathering the news standpoint, it’s basically like Mahalo. Both Mahalo and Blogrunner create tag pages, Mahalo uses their staff and volunteers to find links, Blogrunner uses computers to find the links. Blogged seems to be more in the Mahalo style but without the tag pages.
I don’t know how large the Blogged team is, but my only question is whether they be able to stay on top of all of the breaking news across so many categories and be able to bubble up the news in (near) real-time? If so, awesome. Also, I hope they will provide diversity in the blogs that they pimp.
They should add a social layer on top of the news – since they know a lot about each blog, there’s a wealth of information they could layer on top of the news and create a community effect on top of the news.
Everyone consumes news in different ways and the one-page category portal-style overveiew should work well for a mainstream audience.
Last night during the first Digg Townhall, we learned that there are an average of 10,000 stories submitted to Digg daily. I pulled out a scratchpad today and while my numbers might vary a bit from you home gamers, the data is very interesting indeed.
Based on the math in my original article about which categories hit Digg the most along with Richard MacManus’ post about which sites hit Digg the most in the tech category along with additional research outside of the tech category, here are my findings. Approximately 150 stories make Digg’s frontpage per day, not including stories that make it but are subsquently buried.
On an average weekday, you have a 150 in 10,000 chance that your submission will hit the frontpage. However we need to remove a piece of your chance because we know that some sites (in Tech for example: Gizmodo, Engadget, NYT, Techcrunch, Lifehacker, Ars Technica) will get more than one a day on average. Using the completed research and MacManus’ figures, I peg these special sites at 25% of the daily average which leaves the rest of us with the balance 112 out of 10,000 chance. I am being very conservative here with the power sites, the number is probably a bit higher.
When we pull out the HP 10B with these revised figures, your chance is now 1.12%; or in other words, a 98% chance you won’t make the Digg frontpage today.
If these percentages continue to get worse for the average site or average Digg user to see a benefit, will there be a slow exit out of the service? Why should a Digg’er push and push if the chances are slim to none that a story will make it? Would it make more sense to target Reddit or Mixx where there are more chances to get at least some bit of traffic?
My suggestion for Digg is to create separate verticals which would allow 150 stories in each category to hit the frontpage of that vertical each day. For example, I have no interest in Politics so why do I need to see it? I know that I can turn it off but it still counts into the stories that make the frontpage. These verticals (subdomains perhaps) could allow Digg to once again embrace the community and actually grow their userbase.
For all of the startups who bank on Digg for growth (you know who you are), this should be yet another wakeup call that no blog or social news site alone can make or break your product or service.
note: not all categories have the same weighting for frontpage status and power digg submitters can up your chance by a small percentage.