Is Digg Alienating Its Top Users Like eBay?
Digg seems to be divided into two types of users – the "power users" and the users who feel cheated because the "power users" dominate everything. Last week, Digg announced updates to its algorithm. Digg’s Anton Kast said the updates were to "ensure that all Diggers have a fair chance at getting their submitted stories promoted to the homepage." Sounds reasonable enough.
Some of those power users are less than thrilled though. Sean Rasmussen at SeanSEO posted an interesting top ten list of reasons as to why Digg is "Digging its Own Grave." Among these reasons are the punishment of loyal users and conflict of interest.
With regard to the conflict of interest, Sean says, "Staff members are Diggers too. Even the boss of Digg is a digger. No one believes that the bossman’s submissions would ever get buried by a Digg moderator."
Should Censorship Be Added to the Top 10?
Interestingly enough, Sean says his story made it to the front page of Digg, but was ultimately buried by Digg themselves. "Here I was about to write accolades to DIGG and thank them for proving me wrong and not burying an article that critisised them – and then they blatantly shat in their own nest (pardon the French)," says Sean. "Shame! So the point still stands that only DIGG-censored information gets to stay in public view stands strong. Sounds a bit like our newspapers actually."
At the time of this writing, Sean’s Top Ten list has 629 Diggs, with 165 comments. A number of those comments express concern about digging the story for fear of digging their own graves.
The eBay Effect?
Digg and eBay are apples and oranges, but there could be a similar pattern developing here to the one that has already unfolded for eBay. eBay made policy changes last year that a whole lot of its top sellers found quite irritating and even unacceptable. Many left eBay and found other sites to sell their goods.
Digg is changing an algorithm that could affect its top users. These users may get frustrated and leave too. Commenters have frequently hinted at doing just that. The biggest difference here from the eBay situation, is that by implementing changes that affect Digg’s current top users, they are opening the door for probably a much larger amount of people who would be more inclined to use Digg when they feel they have a chance at hitting the front page themselves.