How Diggers beat up a crusty old Geezer

In April 2006 Alexa shows that Digg.com recieved more traffic than the Drudge report.

The LA Times has a story about the rise of social media sites like Digg.

It points out that The Drudge report used to be the place for news, no more. Diggers rule the roost. They drive more traffic to news stories than poor old Matt Drudge does these days.

But all is not what it seems, the Times suggests that the system is open to manipulation.

The problem? The Web was rife with suggestions that Digg was being “gamed”; that groups and individuals were teaming up to artificially raise articles’ standings on the page. Reports circulated with tales of co-ops who would, at the signal from one of their members, log on and vote for an article, of users (as seen in the YouTube wars) with multiple fake accounts and paid virtual sweatshops of users on call to drive up an article.

Digg is hitting the mainstream and so are the problems related to it’s system. If people cannot trust the honesty of the site it could drive users into the arms of more difficult to game social media.

The Wall Street Journal keeps the spotlight on social media with a report on Digg, Netscape, Stumbeupon, Reddit, pointing out that

The opinions of these key users have implications for advertisers shelling out money for Internet ads, trend watchers trying to understand what’s cool among young people, and companies whose products or services get plucked for notice. It’s even sparking a new form of payola, as marketers try to buy votes.

It goes on to point out that only 30 users are responsible for a third of the stories that make it to the front page.

Though it can take hundreds or thousands of votes to make it onto the hot list at these sites, the Journal’s analysis found that a substantial number of submissions originated with a handful of users. At Digg, which has 900,000 registered users, 30 people were responsible for submitting one-third of postings on the home page.

But digg is not alone, Netscape is similarly influenced by these young mavens of Internet Information.

At Netscape.com, a single user named “STONERS” — in real life, computer programmer Ed Southwood of Dayton, Ohio — was behind fully 217 stories over the two-week period, or 13% of all stories that reached the most popular list.

Interestingly it points out that individuals are specialising in niches. Making themselves valuable to marketers.

18-year-old Smaran Dayal, a high-school student who submits some 40 stories a week on Digg and has become a go-to source there for news about Apple. Diane Put, a nutritionist in Idyllwild, Calif., known to Netscape users by her handle, “idyll,” has become a major source for health-related news on that site, which is viewed by more than 1.9 million people daily

The article then details how a 17 year old made it to the number two spot on Digg and mentions it on his College applications.

The article ends with mugshots of top diggers including Neil Patel of Pronet Advertising.

Will the mainstream get into Digg and start submitting stories? Or will it be put off by the mob that seems to rampage around the comments section, flaming all in their path?

We shall have to wait and see.

Comments

  1. says

    New sites are emerging day in and day out to mimic (copy) the Digg model, but tune in to different niches and languages. I’m sure in 6 – 10 months it’s gonna be a lot of this systems everywhere, taking advantage of using whatever works for the rest. Perhaps Digg will be the one leading the pack, or it might simply dissapear altogether… time will tell indeed.