The Digg Bury Effect

If you’ve got praise for Microsoft. If you endorse Republican policies. If you believe in helping people optimize their website using SEO. If you have anything positive to say about Netscape, Reddit or Yahoo! Suggestions – it’s time to stop relying on Digg for traffic.

Digg has come under increasing fire as they continue to tread deafly through the internet world. Kevin Rose inspires the entire organization to arrogance that carries through to corporate policies and down to the Digg Mob that buries stories it doesn’t like simply because they don’t like them.

The problem with Digg is in the democratic system. Or rather the non-democratic system. Diggers on the surface have the ability to Digg an entry or bury an entry. This is great in an honor-system kind of way because every vote counts (how often have we heard that mantra?) and every voice matters. If the community doesn’t like something, a sufficient number of “Burys” will stifle the story. If the community finds a story worthwhile, in theory, the story will have legs.

Unfortunately, the Digg system is seen to be rigged. Sources that are often buried for a variety of reasons, are soon flagged as spam sites. When a sufficient number of people, particularly influential people as most of the stories promoted to the front page are a result of a handful of elite Diggers, band together with an agenda and are given unchecked power (Burys have no paper trail), then points of view found to be contrary to the agenda are suppressed. Little Green Footballs is experiencing that right now.

I also experienced that early in the month when I wrote an article pertaining to an SEO tactic. That article made the Digg front page and within 10 minutes was off the front page. Every other time a story has hit the front page, the story has stayed there for a significant amount of time. Fortunately, I’m not (yet) on the spam list, though I presume that after Digg Week this week, I will be. :-)

I generally view Jason Calacanis as a bastard, but I have tremendous respect for what he has accomplished notably at WIN and then at AOL with the Netscape project. Jason has also been at frequent odds with Digg. In fairness, this is for two reasons: he’s not afraid to call Kevin Rose on his crap and secondly, he reinvented Netscape and in my opinion made a far superior product to Digg. Jason really hammered the point home when he called Kevin Rose out on Monday regarding Digg’s non-accountable burying practice.

The problem is that Kevin Rose is deaf, as alluded to earlier, and somehow navigates through the internet world completely blind to what the world around him thinks of his product and completely deaf to how to improve it and completely non-verbal about how he feels about the complaints. To me, lack of these critical senses is simply termed ‘senseless’.

Steve Fisher inaugurated yesterdays blogging on Technosailor with, in my opinion, a great article about things Digg needs to do to stay alive. It’s a shame it hasn’t received more attention. In private conversation, Steve predicts Digg has one year to live. In his entry, he gives it two, simply based on the economics of finding an exit strategy in the possibly waning economy.

Things to think about as Digg continues to self destruct in the public eye. I personally could care less if I ever see the front page of Digg again and, in fact, am considering rerouting traffic coming from Digg to the bit bucket – just to keep the classless behavior off my blog. Instead, I’ll be looking to gain traction with other sites such as Netscape and In fact, that’s tomorrow’s contribution to Digg Week.

Related Digg Week Entries

3 Replies to “The Digg Bury Effect”

  1. I have some disdain for the Digg crowd for other reasons (primarily the large, anti-christian hate mob on Digg who thinks that any person of faith is a moron), but I think at least on a small scale you’re attributing malice to Kevin that just isn’t there.

    If I know Kevin like I think I know Kevin, he’s just a kid. A kid caught in the glamour of the moment, sucking up all he can. He knows that life in this medium is short-lived, and is savoring as much as he can until Digg goes the way of the proverbial Dodo.

    Instead, I’d point to some of the partners behind the scenes that Kevin answers to. That’s right, he answers to some folks. He may be the founder, and he may still have a lot of say-so but there’s enough money involved that the directions Digg goes is a collective effort and decision…i.e., this is not a blog.

    The Kevin *I* know spends a lot of time trying to refine the Digg system so it can’t be gamed. He looks for new ways to peer into the bunch that tries to run the community and give them less fascist control while allowing the small voice to be heard. Had you been deeply into the workings of Digg a mere year ago, you’d know that the system is already considerably more democratic than it was then, and the team at digg genuinely doesn’t want the loud few to have control to the degree they do now.

    I’d wager that the new features coming out will have some additions to your liking as well as the implementation of some of the new anti-gaming rules. I’d bet you’ll find it quite funny just how much vitriol the digg crowd can spew right at digg (and Kevin Rose) because it prevents them from gaming the system. We’ve seen it twice before with each major algorithm change, and I’d wager we’ll see it again.

  2. Kevin Rose has a standing invitation to come on this site and defend himself – in a post no less. I don’t know the man personally, but it sounds like you do. Maybe you should recommend he take me up on my offer.

    I don’t know his motivations. I think he probably is a good person but like you said a lot of learning to do. What I do know is the advice and counsel given to him by individuals and the masses on the internet. What I also know is that to this day, the advice given has been ignored.

    I sure as heck hope you’re right about upcoming changes. Like I said, I’d like to be on the front line finding out about these changes but I’ll never be.

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