Daring Danny Duels with Diggers

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Yesterday, Danny Sullivan posted an interesting response to Jason Calacanis’ latest potshot at the search engine optimization industry. Basically, as he’s been prone to do in the past, Calacanis ripped SEO. He said that it was 90% snake oil salesmen and warned the Internet populace in general not to smoke the SEO crack. Then he got nasty…

Daring Danny Duels with Diggers
Danny VS. Digg?

Danny’s reply to Calacanis though scathing at times, did a fair job of defending the legitimacy of the SEO industry.   Where Calacanis had used half-baked imaginary statistics to fuel “90%” of his claims, Danny had relied on reason and real life examples. He cited several examples of good SEO practices and used a number of Google statements as ‘character references’ for the industry.

Where Calacanis ranted –and indeed at times I felt as if I could almost hear him screaming his words through the screen at me (and I’m not even an SEO), Danny’s tone was much more levelheaded and reserved. Now, in all fairness, the latter view may have been biased by the fact that I have personally spoken with Danny on several occasions and just know what he ‘sounds’ like. My interactions with Calacanis have been limited to hearing him speak – most recently at the now-infamous Chicago SES where, in a brilliant display of diplomacy and wisdom, he told a room full of SEO professionals their work was ‘bullshit’.

Nonetheless, let’s just say I thought Danny did very well -until his post got Dugg. Danny’s post eventually found it’s way to Digg where he was summarily attacked from all sides. Much to my amazement, Danny waded into the bloody waters of Digg and actually attempted to rationalize and explain things to the Diggers. Now, I have followed Digg for some time. I figure Danny has too, as such, I can only assume Danny had to have some idea of what he was getting into.  Which made his attempt to actually conduct some sort of rational dialogue there all the more mysterious to me.

One Digger went so far as to accuse Danny of a “nasty attempt to build pathos using women as your crutch”. The basis for this accusation? In response to Calacanis’ charge that “90% of SEOs were snake oil salesmen”, Danny had said “the vast majority of them were not snake oil salesmen — or women, for that matter. SEO has a huge number of women working in it let’s not forget.” – And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Digger equivalent of using women as a crutch.

There was no shortage of gems amongst the Digger responses. “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a euphemism for link spam in -all- cases.” In -all- cases even. No ifs ands or buts… -all- cases. Danny actually gave this fellow a 2-paragraph reply citing Google’s take on SEO. Danny needs to go to Amazon and get a new copy of Don Quixote. It’s almost like Danny really thinks someone of the opinion that SEO is a euphemism for link spam in -all- cases can be dissuaded by a simple contradiction from the biggest search engine on the planet. Pshaw!

Another mistake Danny made – beyond the fact that he bothered to go in there in the first place – was his choice in language. He used way too many words like ‘architecture’ and ‘relevant’ and ‘conversion’. You have to keep your audience in mind. He might’ve gone a little too cerebral for this crowd. At no point, for example, did Danny use any of the language of the land. When in Rome, Danny.

A more appropriate retort might have been:

“OMFG!1!1 that is teh ghey! SEO hax are teh k1llz0rs, n00bs! Your’e all just pist cuz your moms pron fell off teh yahoos. You shuld be kicked off teh internets1!eleventy!1!!”

As Danny observed, Digg describes itself as "digital media democracy". That’s fine and good. That being said, you also have to keep in mind the demographic of this particular slice of the “digital media democracy”. I’m not saying Diggers are morons in -all- cases, but I feel pretty comfortable saying the Beavis and Buttheads substantially outnumber the Vint Cerf’s of Digg-nation.

How can I make such an outlandish claim? Well, a couple of weeks ago, after Lee Odden was unceremoniously (and undeservedly) exiled from Digg, I decided to take a closer look at ‘the Digger’. What were his (gender neutral) likes, his dislikes… what kinds of things did he Digg etc…

Is your average digger an angst ridden 19 year old nerd… or is your average digger actually representative of the internet’s upper crust intelligencia.

Well, let’s count the digs.

Let’s take a look at some of the highest dugg items from the past 30 days. Remember this was about a month ago, so the numbers of Diggs have no doubt increased but the Digg count I list is where they were at the time.

You have: Get Me out of this job weighing in at 8,597 Diggs. The gist of this one is the author has made a deal with the Digg community. In exchange for digging his post to the top, he’ll go in and tell his boss what he thinks of her. Apparently she’s a masculine shrew with a penchant for ballbreaking (or something like that).

Geek Squad .. SUCKS! … Here we have 5,194 Diggs for undercover cameras apparently busting GeekSquad for some sort of repair misdiagnosis/over billing shenanigans.

And rounding out our top 5 (at the time) we had:

YouParkLikeAnAsshole.com  –  4,369 diggs

To the women who work in my office… I hate you  –  4,703

My Sister is a porn star  –  4,178

Now, make no mistake. I don’t dislike Digg. I check Digg almost every day. I frequently find cool links and sites on Digg well before they show up anywhere else. That’s the cool part about Digg. What isn’t cool is the lame juvenile behavior on display in most any Digg discussion. What’s even worse is the fact that the lowest common denominator of the Diggosphere has no checks and balances against it running roughshod over intelligent users and discussions. I’m talking about the “all SEO is the sux – let’s ban them all from the Diggz!” set. And there are a LOT of them.

I’m all for democracy in any form. However there is a reason why we have a minimum age for voting. Otherwise my 7 year old would write-in Mario every year. And while I may not be able to argue the merits of his candidacy based on what we’re usually offered, it’s just typically not a good idea to have the power of democracy in the hands of children… or smacktards in -all-cases.

Watching Danny post in Digg yesterday was like watching your dog run in traffic. You just know it isn’t going to end well, but there’s nothing you can do. It’s always good to try though, right?


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  • SEO Australia

    Hey there Mike

    Just finished reading this article and we had a bloody good laugh around the office at it! :)

    10/10 for truth mixed with humour!

    Poor Danny – he’s old enough & (supposedly) wise enough to know better than to try and mix it up with a bunch of morons like the digg glitterati…

    Still, perhaps he knew this would happen and figured the adverse publicity might be just as valuable as any positive publicity he could get out of this! :)

    Anyway, great article – especially loved the comment about the beavis & butthead vs. Vint Cerfs of Digg! :)

    Keep up the good work. We Aussie SEO folks enjoy your videos and articles.

    Eran M
    WCR Internet Marketing

    • Jaggar

      Great article and worthy of being passed along.

      The only thing I would add to it is that participating in any conversation with the likes of Diggers is tantamount to and as pointless as arguing with a two year old. There have always been these types around, but historically they have been societally relegated to living out their existence in caves and then in $500 trailers, and arguing between themselves as to whether the beer is less filling or tastes great.

      At the same time, I also appreciate folks like Danny stopping by to keep them busy and think that taking turns giving them something to go “DOH!” on has merit. At least while they are online pretending to have a worthwhile opinion, they aren’t propagating, shooting out stop signs, peeing in large numbers on tires at the local mall, or making their dog sniff glue.

      Online self-expression is great. The only downside is that while blogs and sites like this have many redeeming qualities, they also allow liars and idiots to have anonymous access to post whatever bit of drivel fleetingly crosses their brains. And then there’s always going to be those who read it, affirm or corroborate it, and copy and repost it on every opinion-spam board on the Internet. Before long, herd mentality takes over and ineptitude becomes the basis for a consensus opinion, recorded for posterity for all time.

  • http://www.rexacrouch.com Rex A. Crouch

    I don’t even understand how they could call themselves a democracy when if fact if you disagree with one of their power diggers you are deleted from Digg.

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