Archives for September 2008

Top 3 Ways Digg has Jumped the Shark

As I expected, yesterday’s post regarding my thoughts on Digg becoming nothing more than a bad high school clique was a pretty big hit.  Within 8 hours of submitting, it had received over 250 Diggs, was listed as the top upcoming story and, judging by the comments on Digg, was causing quite a stir.

It also disappeared for no apparent reason.

So, rather than be discouraged, I thought I’d pick up right where I left off and write another post on ways Digg has “jumped the shark,” which of course is in reference to the popular term (God, that made me sound so old) meaning where things started going downhill.

(As a side note, be sure to check out Jump The Shark.  It’s a great waste of time.)

So, without further adieu, here are the Top 3 Ways Digg has Jumped the Share:


Before Digg sold out and added the shout system, submissions had to be discovered through either browsing Digg’s upcoming sections, or by checking out what your friends had submitted.  Either way you found the story, you had to be actively searching for stuff to Digg.

When the shout system came along, all of this went out the window.  Yes, you can still do your Digging the old fashioned way – but on top of that, you now have submissions being jammed down your throat by overzealous shouters.  I know because I used to be one of them.

The shout system really goes against everything that Digg originally “stood for” because it has essentially done nothing but promote “blind Digging.”  What I mean by this is you Digg a story not based on whether or not it was a good submission, or because you want to bookmark it for later reading, but simply because you’ve been asked to Digg the shout.

I’m sure there are a lot of Digg users who ignore most of their shouts, however, there are still plenty of users you try and shout everything that comes their way.  This is probably based in the fear that if they don’t Digg, they’ll lose friends and be relegated to Digg’s black holes – after all, it’s widely believed that the best way to get submissions promoted is to not only add lots of friends, but the “right friends,” i.e. the power users.

This leads me to my next way Digg has jumped the shark –


Full disclosure – I have no proof that any of Digg’s so called “power users” are doing anything wrong.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, it’s pretty obvious they (meaning the power users) have to be up to something fishy and/or in cahoots with Digg administrators.  What else explains the fact that front page stories generally come from the same 25 or so users?  I really can’t think of anything.

Since Digg was founded as and gained massive popularity for being a social site, shouldn’t the main social circle consist of more than the same 25 users?  By allowing itself to become dominated by the power users – therefore moving away from its roots – the “Digg experience” has become an exercise in futility for a vast majority of everyday users.

Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t have any grand illusions that ALL of my submissions should hit the front page – however, I’d probably be a much more active user if I felt I stood a shot to get one up every once in a while.


One of the things that first, I guess for lack of a better word, attracted me to Digg was the fact that it was sort of a grass roots site, meaning as long as you submitted good content, you stood a shot of getting up on the front page.  It didn’t matter if the submission was an article from CNN or if it was just some interesting post from a random blog – good content was good content.

Now, not only do the power users dominate the front page, but so too do the same websites.  Cracked, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Think Progress, Tech Crunch, NY Times, Time, Telegraph – these sites completely dominate the front page.  Anything non-corporate doesn’t stand a chance, no matter how good the submission.

Again, I’m not saying that every Tom, Dick and Harry with a blog should get every submission up on Digg’s front page, but at the same time, if they a quality article is submitted from their site, shouldn’t it at least have a fighting chance?


Here’s what will happen next, if everything goes as I expect:

  1. I’m going to submit this to Digg, with an incendiary description
  2. It’s going to get other users like me riled up
  3. The submission will get over 300 Diggs
  4. The submission will then disappear never to see the light of day
  5. When I wake up and check my account tomorrow, it will have been suspended

So, on that note – happy Digging!

Digg – Now Worse Than a High School Clique

Currently, I’m still a big fan of Digg.  Through Digg I’ve found sites that I check out almost every day – sites like Huffington Post, Copy Blogger, Gas 2.0, etc., so, I can’t say that I haven’t benefited from Digg’s existence.

But now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I have to admit, lately I have become less and less enchanted with Digg.  The main reason being, Digg has slowly evolved into nothing more than an online version of some terrible, exclusive high school clique.

Now, before you accuse me of being nothing but a whiner — you would be only partially correct in that accusation; I can do things other than whine — please let me explain where I’m coming from.


What do the following user names have in common?

MrBabyMan, diggboss, MakiMaki, msaleem, uptick, SirPopper, badwithcomputer, numberneal, zaibatsu, and insaincain02

Give up?  Well, go check out Digg’s homepage and chances are, of the 15 submissions, I think it’s safe to bet that five or six of the articles have been submitted by the aforementioned users.  And the worst part is, it’s like this almost every time you go to Digg’s homepage.

For a site that has 3 million users, it’s kind of odd/frustrating that the same 25 users have a pretty strong stranglehold over the homepage.


As you probably know, I run another site called Daily Fuel Economy Tip, which has grown over the past two years to have a pretty decent following.  The last three submissions made to Digg have all received over 300 Diggs, were listed in the “Hot in All Topics” section and were almost always at or near the top of the “most comments” section.

They also all failed to make the homepage and simply disappeared for no apparent reason.

If someone or some group of users are continuously burying submissions from my site, I would like to know about it.  I want to know not so I can go on some sort of vindictive burying campaign against said users, rather I would like to be able to contact them and ask how I can improve my site and/or content so that they find it “Digg worthy.”

However, because Digg treats this with a shroud of secrecy, I’ll simply stop getting my hopes up when my submissions cross the 300 Digg plateau.


I think this might be what bothers me the most.  Digg itself, as well as its “power users” seem to have this whole sort of elitist aura surrounding them.  They’re working behind the scenes, doing their little networking, pulling strings, keeping everything a secret from you.

I understand the idea of keeping the algorithm proprietary – after all,  you wouldn’t expect Google to let you in on how they run their business, right?  That being said, it would be nice if Digg would explain themselves regarding how it came to be that the same 25 users dominate the site.


There’s really no point in bitching and moaning if you don’t attempt to provide some solutions to the perceived problems.  So, here’s my shot at it:

  1. GIVE MORE DETAILS REGARDING BURIES.  Ok, so maybe Digg doesn’t have to go so far as to tell me who has buried my submissions, but it would be great if they would at least let me know how many times my submission has been buried.  I think most users would find this information useful, so in the future, I could avoid submitting similar stories.
  2. CHANGE THE FRIEND SYSTEM.  I thought the whole point of Digg was to set up a system so that the best, most interesting stories would make it to the homepage.  The way the system is set up now, it’s really all about who your friends are and who you shout to over what you submit.  This leads me to…
  3. DO NOT ALLOW BLIND DIGGING OR BURYING.  If someone does not click the link to the submitted article, they should not be allowed to Digg or bury a submission.  After all, is it really possible to tell if you like or dislike an entire submission based on Digg’s headline and brief description section?  Pretty doubtful.

So, that’s my beef with Digg as well as my solutions to fix the system.

On that note, I’m going to go ahead and submit this now, and subsequently spend the next 12 hours hoping it doesn’t get buried (which it probably will).