Digg.com Suffers Under Regime Change

Powerdiggers Stealing Stories, Promoting Them

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It seems all good things are corrupted or abused eventually. For Digg.com, habitually might be a better choice than eventually. SEOs, thanks to aggressive blackballing by the Digg “bury-brigade,” were perhaps the earliest and most blatantly ostracized group muscled out of the prevailing purist community there—no salesmen allowed. Marketers and PR flaks effectively excommunicated, internal drama is free is to ensue as “powerdiggers” are accused of setting up a Digg.com good ole boy network.

Exhibit A is a submission ironically making the front page with screen-grab side-by-side comparisons of, as the title suggests, how the average Digg user is. . .cheated. The image shows two Digg submissions with identical titles and thumbnails. The original submission, posted an hour before its duplicate, received only 21 diggs. The second, made popular by a so-called powerdigger made the front page with 2752 diggs.

Digg.com Suffers Under Regime Change

The comments on that insult-and-injury combo read, depending on your level of cynicism, like either a high school cafeteria conversation or a town hall meeting as complaints about how the popular kids (or political cronies) have formed a clique that now controls the local news media. They steal from the unpopular, the dejected, the weird loners, they promote each others’ causes, they digg up each others’ stories.

It’s Mean Girls meeting the Lord of the Flies. And yes, just so we’re on the same page, there are much, much bigger problems in the world. Consider this a microcosm, a micro-study in human behavior and power structures, then, extrapolate and apply as necessary to larger theaters, like the current one staging in Gaza, or the ongoing consolidation of media, or the ongoing struggle of various proletariats. If that’s too heavy, think of it as marketing strategy—how to game Digg.com for personal gain.

The coalition of outcasts has primarily blamed two Digg.com features pretty standard on Internet social networks: the ability to form friends lists and “shout” to those friends about news stories a user wants promoted.

“This is why many Digg users have stopped submitting,” says one commentator, “they know it is highly unlikely their submissions will make the front page no matter how good their content is, but a power Digg user can submit something dumb like a photoshopped picture of pac-man at a graveyard and it will rise to the top, not because it is all that good, but because of the submitter’s connections.”

“Its not just the stealing of stories, its also the lack of our stories even being heard in the first place,” says another commentator.

Users have suggested switching to rival site Reddit.com, where submissions are anonymous. Others have proposed an algorithmic penalty system such as the one in use at Flickr that seems to devalue group submissions and add value to unconnected simultaneity. Still others, over 1,100 of them, have signed an iPetition about the situation.

For all that is good and likeable about Digg.com—this idea of democratized, collective-wisdom controlled news discovery process—it has never lived up to the ideals behind its inception. From the outset one mob or another has ruled the roost. (Ah, there’s your fundamental human truth, right?) The current mob will likely be replaced with another, perhaps by teams of marketers investing the time to befriend and shout out to one another, or some other like-minded mob.

What’s founder Kevin doing about what one commentator described as priority number one? Well, maybe he’ll get to it once he’s finished meditating about his tea website and the lost art of writing letters on paper.



Digg.com Suffers Under Regime Change
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  • http://schestowitz.com Roy Schestowitz

    It’s funny because it shows the very same person whom I mentioned earlie (Pavel) for shout-spamming, i.e. abusing, Digg.

  • B. Whistle.

    go white sox.

  • http://www.medlawplus.com Joe

    >>Users have suggested switching to rival site Reddit.com, where submissions are anonymous.<<

    FYI, reddit submission are not anonymous. I gave up on the high school cafeteria atmosphere over at digg a few years ago. I very rarely submit there. Reddit, OTOH, is not free of issues but suites me much better. Warning to conservative types, the reddit community leans left. It is also heavily populated with programmers. Not everyone’s cup of tea.

    • http://www.freelancephotog.com Murray

      They can’t be more left leaning than Digg, I was amazed at the comments on Digg during the election.

  • http://randomplaza.com Richard Mongler

    All frontpage digg articles are done by the same dozen users with lots of friends and lots of sockpuppets. Most of their frontpages are reposts of stuff people without the voting numbers had submitted earlier.

  • Kia

    This couldn’t be more true. It’s the same–sort of–as what’s happened to Wikipedia. The few in power over there basically completely control whatever edits are made, no matter how large a Talk page gets or how many times another user might re-edit. I’m not talking about vandalism, either, I’m talking about justifiable pages being removed for no reason. Repeatedly.

    • Hyundai

      You are so correct!

    • http://wwww.gangstalkingworld.com gangstalking

      The community tried to get a page on wikepedia and could not because a few in power decidied that they did not want to. Thus no page. The same was true for DMOZ, I have heard that that engine eventually became corrupted as well.

      If we can see what’s happening with these websites, we can use this to see what is happening in the rest of society, and why we have so much corruption and failed systems happening all over the place. These people did not learn these tactics online, they brought what was happening offline to the online world. Think about that.

  • http://www.indiesurf.com Darren Tan

    I’m not a frequest user of Digg, but i do some diggings here and there.. I agree with you all that most of the pages with dug failed to make it to the front page, as it’s all controlled by Digg’s power-user.

    Guess it’s time Digg do something about it. Treat every digg fairly, coz honestly, i don’t want Digg to be buried.. They just need to gear up and do some spring cleaning…

  • Jonny bayland

    Overhyped database website time to call it quit?

  • http://www.book-eye-test.co.uk Eye Tests

    Digg really does need to change its algorithm – the best way to start would be to give a much higher weight to votes from unrelated users. As a new user there’s no chance of your submission getting anywhere the front page.

  • http://www.chiff.com Chiff

    Apparently, only if you learn the ropes.

    Social environments form strata where the most powerful rise and those with no power become the underclasses. If you can come up with a way to control the dynamics, you become the leader.

    What needs to be set up are alternate Diggs – separate but equal – where the top dog Diggers belong to different focus groups. Then the different groups could argue about which Digg is the one true Digg and which should be shunned or shut down…

    It might not serve the original function, but what a wonderful study of humans it provides… dissertation anyone?

    When will they ever learn…

  • http://superyachts.package411.com/ Guest

    This type gangsterism could be seen a mile away. You’re right. Gang(up) wars eliminate the best content from Digg and many other social meda sites and have been feeding us drivel that is often inaccurate and trivial in the context of what could be discussed instead in many of the categories. I hope the owner sees the same and fixes the problems.


  • http://1st-Quiz.com 1st-Quiz – Quiz and trivia community

    The way I see it, all internet services, websites, databases etc. will, if they succeed to attract traffic, be run over by marketeers trying to promote own sites and services. Where ever there are bees there will be honey… and where traffic is, that’s where marketeers and spammers will be – my web traffic law. The law just get magnified further when submission is free and un-moderated.

  • http://www.myrtlebeachcondostore.com Jan

    I use Digg just like any other bookmarking site. Sometimes the pages show in Google for some of the more obscure terms. I figure it doesn’t hurt. But I don’t spend time there nor take it seriously because it is so completely controlled by the “good old boys”.

    Personally, my favorite is StumbleUpon. I actually enjoy spending time on that site and stumbling.


  • Warmbart

    I don’t bring any but if there was well er. What about all the tanks at blue coot. Bah to everything and don’t fetch 3 blights from shitland

    I,ve gone

  • http://bloggingonmymind.com Markk

    Yeah, Digg sucks big time. Have stayed clear in the last two years. Anyway, you don’t need Digg to be on page one of the SERPs. Let dig a burial ground for Digg.

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

      To speed up Digg’s death we can notify companies that advertize on Digg, like Ford, that we will not buy their products until they quit their adds on Digg. Hit them in the money–that’s where it hurts most.

  • http://24secunde.com Guest

    I had an account on Digg.com.
    They deleted my account, my content, with no explanation at all.
    I have only a personal site without adult content and without commercial content.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Lelatsgirl Guest

    As a creative content provider, I am about the process of building an audience of interested fans for our product. Publicity that is honest and real feedback from fans helps me improve my craft. So I am very concerned when a site like Digg.com becomes corrupted by agenda driven people and groups, as I understand it has, from the above discussion. I need honest comments and reviews, they are essential to a healthy creative process, so I guess I have to say “Good Bye Digg.com.”

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

    There is no freedom of speech or room for discussion on Digg. There are power diggers

    • http://www.GangStalkingWorld.com gangstalking

      The sad part is that after reading this article and these comments, I am again shaking my head, because saddly this is what happens in the world. No matter how good your idea, or the fact that you can show lot’s of proof or evidence, as long as those in power are connected and have lot’s of friends, your ideas will never make it to the forefront. This is not just a model for how dig works, but this is how the world is working, and that is why things are falling apart from the top down. People in positions of power using their connections to push content and people to the top that has no merit.

      The idea is for people to realise what is happening and essentially put an end to it, but this never seems to happen, and thus the state of the world today. Good comment.

  • http://www.sflorg.com Heidi-Ann Kennedy

    In the beginning our articles made Digg, then… well lets say we made some enemies there. Scientific Frontline is a not for profit news agency that is even recognized by Carnegie Institute of Science.

    Yet since we have no advertising or ever plan on paying a Digg user, (as we have been approached about) full worthy content of ours never will see Digg.

    Science news agencies should have an obligation to present the information complete and intact as the originated source had intended. The writers for the information released usually work closely with or are part of the research. Their insight and personal contact can not be duplicated, they are on the

    • http://enterprisegrc.com Robin

      ironic that you say that, when you have gone out and flamed another site that also has NO ADVERTISING and does not gather email lists.
      EnterpriseGRC.com uses a wrapper method to insure the organic site maintains their own content, which is how digg does it. Your site repeats text. Digg points attention to other articles.
      Digg never makes any claim to be a science news site. It has the capacity to allocate a section to science. It’s community driven.
      You are blatantly using this post to LOBBY AND ADVERTISE your site. You use personal health issues to manipulate readers on your sign up page.

  • http://willtaft.com Will

    For the blogger who occasionally writes an article that a few users think highly enough to digg, there is no reward. I have had articles with several diggs, done from the digg button on my website. There might be 6 or 8 visits from other digg users because of those original diggs.

    On the other hand, a single stumbleupon submission can bring 80 to 100 readers. If a few of those also thumbs up the article, hundreds, sometimes thousands of other people visit the post. The spike in traffic sometimes continues for days. I had one post that, because of stumbleupon, got over 10,000 views in a three days. This on my site that, not counting these spikes, averages only 2 or 3 hundred unique visitors per day.

    I have considered taking the digg button off of my site, it is so unhelpful. I don’t know anything about the politics of digg, so I can’t comment on that. Maybe I just don’t use the service correctly, but it just does not seem to be of much value for the average user.

    • http://www.sflorg.com Heidi-Ann Kennedy

      I would have to agree about Stumbleupon.
      The amount of traffic, and the loyalty from those that come from there is just astonishing. The average user there seems to be more educated, or wanting to be then Digg users.
      Heidi-Ann Kennedy

  • http://siteslike.info Similar Websites

    Personaly I believe that digg is dying. If you take a look at Alexa you will see that traffic has dropped 300%. I hope it dies because they are so arrogant to delete you account without any warning or justification.

  • http://www.GangStalkingWorld.com gangstalking

    I just loved this article, because it’s so true, and it applies to what is happening in the world at this present moment. People are rising because of who they know, not the importance of ideas, or issues. Mob mentallity has always ruled in one capacity or another and will probably continue to do so, unless we can create a system that can not and will not be cheated. Great article.

  • http://www.naturecotour.com Max Hartman

    Kudos to many of the above comments. I also placed a good tip on Digg about why our “International Airport” in Limon is avoided like________ and it was__________(the C Word) and UnDugg. To me, I have no time to waste playing power games. Love me or leave me, but my info will always be right down the middle, the way professionals have always written. Hello, Reddit.

  • http://www.loscuadernosdejulia.com Julia

    A great article, and… before Christmas I had a job interview with an SEO company where they asked me if I could think of any “tricks” of getting on the front page of Digg.com. Upon my word, I said precisely what you wrote in that article: that on Digg it comes down to 1) one’s authority (=speaking of a clique) and 2) a chain reaction. And yes, this was known before, so I wasn’t discovering America, but, figuratively speaking, one thing is about “guessing” that there is some continent out there, another thing is to actually come ashore on that continent. I’m talking in Columbus’s terms, of course. The bottom line is: this article proves that Digg.com is not representative in terms of News coverage. Also, audio content is pretty much excluded; the categories amaze and amuse me very much; and this “possible duplicates” thing sometimes drives me up the wall. Not only is it apparently ignored by the more prominent users, but it is not particularly representative either. If you look at the screen grab you’d taken, the original submission features a different URL; so even though the content is the same, the URL isn’t.

    And totally agree with the comments that Digg.com is a miniature model of how the world operates.

    • Julia

      Apologies, please ignore the subject – for some reason I thought this was supposed to be the subject of a blog/site. :-)

  • Andrew

    You make some good points but what was the regime change? How is Digg any different now than a year ago?

  • http://www.hypotheek-overzicht.com Hypotheek

    Great story Jason, the first ever junkmail which I actually read and click through to your post. I even digged it. Don’t know if that is a good thing or not after reading your story.

    Remco Hypotheek

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

      This is the first WebProNews article I have ever read. The title was a subject that deserved some attention. Sorry to say I had to create a digg account to digg the story but my account was soon deleted and the comment I made under the user name “DoneDigging” (which did comply with the TOS) was deleted as well as my digg.

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

    That was fast. I created an account just to digg this story and post a comment. The user account has already been deleted and the comment which complied with the TOS was also deleted.

    • peter gibson

      Your account was deleted for digging this story? Holy crap that is fast. Fast … and ridiculous. I read this story and thought, what the hell, I’m still using Digg, but after reading this comment I am definitely heading straight there to end my account. Digg has always been elitist and prone to snobbery but this is just bullsh$t. I am deleting my account and will let my readers know what kind of thumb they are under by using their crap site.

      Jeez man, talk about Big Brother.

  • Digg blows.

    Digg has actually always sucked guys. Anyone that has had their site listed on Digg top page will know that 99.99% of the time no one that visits your site because of that will become a loyal reader of your site. It simply causes a massive # of idiots that are full of themselves (like Kevin Rose himself is) to bit that your site is slow, down, sucks, whatever. Almost all of Digg users are simply whiners and have really no lives, a failed social/peer site if I have ever seen one. All hype, no stamina. Hope it dies soon.

  • http://www.freelancephotog.com Murray

    I concur, I put a few articles up on Digg, they never got noticed. Stopped trying.

  • http://seahawknationblog.com Guest

    Digg Sucks Big time, it has a group of yupps that thumb up only thier friends in the gruops posts, sopme idiot sent me an email offering to sell me thumbs up of my submitted articles, what a freaking joke Digg has become.
    Pay to get thumbs up, you know he can kiss my arse also!!

  • http://markpknowles.com/ Mark Knowles

    I gave up on digg long ago. Even with the best content and hundreds of diggs it rarely translates into visitors.

  • http://www.penguinspoker.com/ pokerpenguin

    That was a really great article.

    It was for me also, one of the very few pieces of “junk mail” I have ever read.

    Obviously when a person or group of people get too much power they abuse it.

    This reminds me of google and how they are like the government of the internet.

    Well, just like any government, when the market isn’t working the way they think it should they go ahead and interfere.

    If we learned anything from the great depression it was that the market has to work itself out, without government interference.

    But we are human, and unfortunatly we never learn anything from the past.

    I guess what I am getting at is, let it work itself out.

    Eventually everyone who isn’t a part of this group of “powerdiggers” will leave digg.com and it will become a social network for this group of “powerlosers”.

  • http://www.hophunt.com Free Traffic

    People go to Digg to submit news or articles but not to
    read anything on it.

    Digg is just a garbage full of links just like an ffa.

    Don’t waste your time at Digg.

    Just use reddit.com or topix.com.

  • http://www.felixstoweradio.co.uk Braiswick

    Once the glass is cracked it cannot be mended.

    Why worry now. Digg is dead, long live Digg.

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

    It doesn’t hurt to see who is advertizes on Digg, boycott them, and let them know you are boycotting them and why. That is exercising the freedom of speech that is oppressed on Digg.

    • http://www.straightalk.biz Straightalk

      Yep but when You get your account deleted for it then call Me or write to Me.. I tried that and the results Banned My account was erased.. this was done by Mr.Babyman.. who ever He is but it’s cool look now!

      I told him I would of meditate until the DIGG site falls to shreds and look it’s fallen and will keep fallen! Now is STRAIGHTALK powerful or not!

      This is for You Mr. BabyMan

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

        Digg deleted me a long time ago for presenting facts that opposed the views of a power digger.

  • http://tedsshoppingcart.com Shopping Cart

    Seems like everyone is submitting and no one is reading Digg, unless asked to Digg something by a friend.
    I used to spend time reading the stories on Digg, but the quality has certainly changed over the past few months

  • http://www.level343.com/article_archive/ Gabriella

    Like anything on the net once too many people start using it somehow it becomes abused. I no longer use digg sad it used to have some great stuff now it’s become so juvenile. Thanks for bringing up good points!

  • http://worldnewstrust.com T. Scheisskopf

    We run a news and commentary website. We run a lot of original content, we also do some 4-and-a-link pulls on news that is germane to our commentary and editorial thrust.

    For a while, we were getting healthy traffic from Digg Referrals. Suddenly that traffic dropped off completely. We got the word from someone that Digg was no longer accepting referrals from our site. My partner inquired to Digg as to why we had been effectively black-balled, and we were told, in a rather curt and dismissive email, that “you don’t run original content” which was quite untrue. We were also told that this came from complaints from “their user base”. While we don’t have an official political stance, some of our original commentary comes from left-of-center, and we were told by a credible source that the complaints were lodged by a group that had taken it upon themselves to purge Digg of sites that they perceived as being inimical to their own ideologies.

    Ultimately, it became clear to us that there was no resolution method for this situation that was not a complete waste of time for us, so we just moved on.

    That said, it appears that Digg has become not unlike a neighborhood of 9-year-old boys, building forts and not allowing anyone who isn’t them in, because they have cooties.

    And that sad fact makes them as useless as mammalian protruberances on a male of the genus sus.

    • Guest

      Similar thing happened to me, they got problems. I sent a DIGG and they cut me off for spam. I have no idea what I did, I just made a cooment on an article that I thought was good. NO EXPLANATION AND IT’S FINAL ACCORDING TO THEM………..

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

      The epitome of eloquence.

  • http://www.realcoachingradio.com Coach Steve Toth

    Great article! Two quotes come to mind from the “Law of Success” by Napoleon Hill:

    “If your imagination leads you to understand how quickly people grant your request, when those requests appeal to their self-interest, you can have practically anything you go after”

    “I do not believe that I can afford to deceive others. I know I can’t afford to deceive myself.”

  • http://dealflow.typepad.com/ {eter

    Digg is like a high school where a s,all clique of “cool kids” controls everything. You can post a link to a real story like “Iran Sinks USS Nimitz” and it will be lucky to get two diggs. But if a member of the cool clique over there posts a link to “Top Ten Ways to Recycle Your Cat’s Furballs” it will get 3000+ diggs.

    It’s just a waste of time.

  • http://www.rightchange4u.com Sean B.

    Good points, but why should anyone be concerned with what is on top to be of any real signifigance unless you are in a popularity contest yourself? (it could be traffic, content, right vs wrong or truth and unjust)

    The concern is validity and originality. That is what I see. Digg was once a place for real commentary about news and the world events that do appear online. So, if someone has taken a different approach to this then why does it matter to Digg? Unless it goes against the USP of digg in the first place. In that case change the USP…. or roll with the punches, go against what the site stands for?

    Change one thing…. if it is popularity or the number of diggs… improve the search… improve on the quality of finding good stories… not relying on what people think.

    My message to digg.com… if it is social media that draws interest to your site then make it interesting social media…. you rate by social “diggs” now rate by something else…. keep the diggs…. just throw popularity onto something else besides diggs.. change your motto or USP gain trust… copy google… or at least its philosopy… change or unchange its way to categorize search based on a variety of factors.

    This will take power away from “power diggers” and back into the “good populace”…. then more “powers” will arise, sure. Just change something else… all the while keep some common string of the past that was good and improve on it.

    there is lots more to say but I need to go,
    Sean B.

  • http://www.realty-tx.com Sam

    You stated. “For all that is good and likeable about Digg.com

    • http://www.realty-tx.com Sam

      For clarification, “This is exactly what Digg.com is…” means Digg.com is a pure/true democracy.

    • http://www.gamesnooper.com JustChris

      If Digg is an example of pure democracy gone awry, I can’t bear to call it a democracy. I doubt that Power Diggers comprise a majority of the Digg userbase, or even the majority of Digg activity…otherwise we can talk about Digg being democratic. The notion of “mob control” and discouraging the expression of people that oppose the mob sounds more Fascist than democratic.

  • http://qanda.encyclopedia.com/ questions

    Although I don’t agree with it there are bound to be some unethical things going on when something gets as big as digg.

  • rasmasyean

    Not surprising.
    One of worst news and peer sites I’ve ever visited.
    I knew something was up when all the same topics kept getting to the front page and much of the stories are practically irrelevant in the real world.
    And then you have all the same type of irrelevant comments that makes little sense.
    Seemed very much like a propaganda site that promoted random topics in what someone “thinks the web should be”.

  • http://www.professional-mover.co.uk Professional-Mover London


    Can you tel me how my webpage and i can get top ranking. Hope to hear from you.




  • http://qanda.encyclopedia.com/ trusted answers

    Great article Jason. I wonder what the issue is with Digg?

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

    There was a Digg Meter associated with this story when it first came out. Did Digg delete the Digg Meter too as there was too much freedom of speech and freedom of expression going on?

  • http://dofollow001.com/ AndyW

    Well the problem is that getting on to the frontpage of Digg = $$$.

    As this is the case then there will always be people who will do anything to abuse the system…

    ‘the ability to form friends lists and

  • http://www.blackhatseoworld.com BlackHatForum

    I never found digg all that impressive to begin with. There are much better things to spend my time on.

  • http://makemoneyonlinemoney.com Make MOney Online MOney!

    I love digg because it can drive more traffic to my websites :)

  • http://www.articleedu.com ArticleEDU

    well I think anything there is a huge change in management you will see a shift in priority and possibly a down period.

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