Two Diggs One Cup

On January 23, 2008, the Digg servers went down for about an hour. What happened when they came back up has left plenty of people wretching in disbelief.

Digg has pretty much taken a crap in a cup, and asked everyone, including even the top diggers, to partake in the offering. It now takes (barring a miracle, or a massive, collective pre-planned quick-strike diggfest), around 200 diggs to go popular, which leaves many (including me) to wonder… is Digg TRYING to drive away users, and if so, why?

It seems like it should be the opposite, that it should be EASIER to get things popular, so that the majority of Diggers can then either bury it or digg it up if they like it. Your submission is seen by very few people before it goes popular… usually just by the people in your network. Does it really make sense to make things significantly harder? What is the real purpose of a social networking site?

Let’s consider the situation. Anyone who knows and uses Digg has experienced long load times and incomplete profile loads. We came to accept that as the norm instead of realizing that the cause was primarily due to server overload and/or heavy traffic.

We’ve also known that Digg has been up for sale, which suggests that Mr. Digg wants to get out when the getting is good, with a minimum of expenditure or effort. And guess what? No one seems to be very interested in picking up that real estate… at least for the time being.

We’ve ALL had to put up with the Bury Brigade, whether they actually exist or not. We’ve gotten an interesting inside look at the bury process thanks to the Bury Recorder at http://ajaxonomy.com/buryrecorder , and it DOES appear that certain articles either a) aren’t liked by a LOT of people when they go pop, or b) there is a Bury Brigade. It is pretty interesting to see your submission do very well, and then get 20 buries in a row, with reasons for bury including the full spectrum, from duplicate story to spam to inaccurate, which is fascinating when your submission was a video you’ve just made that doesn’t fall into any of those categories, or an original piece of writing that you’ve dutifully researched and fully cited.

Digg’s rating is falling. While Alexa may not be the most accurate way to track your average website’s traffic and rating, it’s fairly reliable for getting a good idea of how well the big sites are doing, and Digg is dropping. Whether this is by design or an unwillingness to sink any more capital into the website is a subject of debate and speculation. Why doesn’t really matter… the fact that it IS falling is more important, or at least, it should be as far as diggers are concerned.

Spammers and Trolls. We’ve ALL seen these rapidly multiply, and Digg HAS, whether they like it or not, become a major tool for driving traffic. Trolls are an interesting anomaly… you know, those people who’ve seldom dugg, seldom submitted, yet have hundreds if not thousands of comments, usually negative. Here’s a CLASSIC example.

However you want to spin it, Digg seems to be in the midst of something very strange. Whether they’re trying to cut down on spammers, resent the fact that people use it as a traffic tool, or for whatever reason, they’ve just taken a collective dump on a huge percentage of their users.

Now, to me, traffic is like publicity. There is no such thing as good or bad traffic. Digg had the amazing ability to be many things to many people, but no more it seems. Why Digg would want to purposefully kill their own traffic is a mystery. That they’ve effectively done it is undeniable.

Can you feel the disturbance in the force, as if thousands of voices have suddenly started screaming? I can, if my own reaction to the massive change is any indication of what’s to come, look for a huge exodus away from Digg, and a further plunge in site rank.

Good luck selling Digg, and goodbye to all my Digg friends. It’s been fun, but I’m burying Digg for good.

Two Diggs, One Cup… sorry, I can’t bring myself to watch the ending.

read more | digg story

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