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Why The Digg Mafia Will Cost Kevin Rose Millions!

Update: I’ve posted an update on the events that surrounded this article.

If you’re a blogger and you haven’t heard of Digg.com before this post, then where have you been?

Digg.com was one of the social networking/blogging successes of 2006, but recently, the once sparkling star has begun to dim. People have started to question the efficiency of its voting system; a system that lets a small minority i.e. ‘The Digg Mafia‘ decide what makes it onto the homepage or not; something that a wider user base should do.

The Digg Mafia, who in Digg’s early months ensured its success by posting hundreds of interesting links, could now be the main obstacle in the way of Digg moving on and Kevin Rose being able to sell and cash in on Digg’s ‘success’ (if he plans to). This community, even at the best of times, doesn’t compose of very nice fellows. If they see anything they don’t like, rather than being constructive in their criticism they go completely beyond the realms of reason.

Two recent examples spring to my mind. First was the hacking of the SuperGu website because it was accused of being a digg clone; and second the defacement of a new Yahoo site just because it included some voting buttons, which in the minds of Digg users were invented by Digg, just like the internet was……

In my opinion, mass hysteria like this is why Digg users in the long-run will cost Kevin Rose millions (if not more), as they will limit the number of companies interested in buying Digg. Many large family-safe companies would not want to be associated with a group of users, who despite being small in number, punch above their weight online. Imagine for instance if Digg were purchased by Google. It would have been a PR disaster if Google users had been the ones defacing and flaming a Yahoo site.

Looking at Digg’s recent traffic levels it appears as thought the honeymoon may be coming to an end anyway.

Digg Traffic over the year

Over the last 3 months Digg’s traffic has fallen by 30% from the peak in December 2006.
While the traffic today is same as what it had in late-April when it saw a phenomenal jump in traffic, what strikes sharply is that the traffic has been steadily falling. Even Compete SnapShot backs Alexa’s data.

My belief is that Digg is pretty close to reaching saturation of its potential market, and the actions of the Digg Mafia are making it hard for Digg to attract new active users. In fact, the Digg mafia are probably driving existing users away. Even the introduction of new categories seems to have failed due to few submissions being made to these categories and also because the Digg mafia tend to bury these stories.

And consistent burial has resulted in numerous popular sites being banned. Some names include JohnChow.com, PaulStamatiou.com, Connected Internet, Tech Buzz and CyberNet News. If you are looking for a more complete list then refer to the one on Mu Life

So what is Kevin Rose to do?
Well, unless a miracle happens and a big company is brave enough to purchase Digg, then he’s going to just have to do as much as he can with what he’s got now i.e. find a way to hold users on the Digg site for longer rather than continuing to develop a strategy that is based on readers leaving a site to read interesting content.

He definitely needs to do this fast before the Digg Mafia drive away all the normal users.

I’m surprised that this post has been dugg. Thanks Brajeshwar.
If you agree with my views please do digg it. If you don’t tell me why…

Update: And the Mafia strike again… well I didn’t expect to get dugg, but when that happened I was sure it would be buried… they haven’t disappointed me.

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71 Comments

  1. I agree with you. When I was banned out of Digg, I had a humble request to their Public Relationship Team, lately I received their botish response which said:

    When submitted stories are consistently reported as spam and users complain via our feedback email about submission spam, we ban the domain. The domain will not be unbanned. The domain would consistently get reported as spam otherwise.

    -The Digg Support Team.

    They lack proper etiquettes. I’m seriously concerned about their future. I’ve seen more and more webmasters turn towards competing reddit.

    Nice write up Ajay, I have given it a up mark on StumbleUpon

  2. What’s the big deal with DIGG anyway? Gee, let’s all make Kevin Rose rich as he CONSTANTLY plug it. I do think it’s days are numbered.

  3. Good discussion, but mate – your grammar and punctuation are HORRIBLE. Try cutting and pasting your post into Microsoft Office and run the spell/grammar checker to start. 🙂

  4. Hey English Monkey
    Good tip, but mate – your insults and corrections are HORRIBLE. Try using a little discretion and judgment when posting and run the taste checker to start.

  5. To English Monkey:
    Good tip, but mate – your insults and corrections are HORRIBLE. Try using a little discretion and judgment when posting and run the taste/class checker to start.

  6. I’m not surprised it got buried – kind of proves the point.

    But still, be proud that 40+ people in 6 hours agreed with you, and so would the majority of digg users if the digg mafia hadn’t got in the way.

  7. Digg is failing to stick with its own damn principals! No one talks against Digg, else.. your domain will be banned!

    That’s what happened to TechBuzz 🙁

    Ajay, I really respect your courage!

  8. @English Monkey… Would you be kind enough to highlight my grammatical mistakes…?

    @Memy, I don’t hate digg, love it infact… I don’t like to see it being abused.

    Interestingly, how come both of you haven’t used fake email addresses? Or is this how the Digg Mafia operates?

    @Everton, the post was buried even before it got to 20!

    @Thilak, I don’t mind being banned from Digg for something I believe in. It just goes to prove my point.

  9. Digg is far from reaching saturation point.

    Plus Alexa stats is not a good indication of the popularity of a site.

    Yes it need modifications to improve but who doesn’t

  10. The Digg traffic is nice except when the mafia is what gets targeted to your site. I really feel sorry for all of the sites like Yahoo and SuperGu that have had to suffer the wrath of Digg’s users.

  11. All this Digg-bashing lately strikes me as sour grapes – yeah, Kevin R is rich. Get over it. Dont like Digg? Don’t visit it, and don’t put Digg this buttons on your grim little blogs.

  12. dont blame kevin rose, I commend the guy… he did have a good idea, and executed it well.

    I stopped using digg, viva la reddit. As far as his business, please people make money off advertising gay porn. There is always a market, and he could sell his site for millions, due to the traffic it creates. Even if the sale includes the sniveling script kiddie wieners that troll it daily.

  13. @Kelvin, That’s why I have loved reditt, stories aren’t buried by a small group.

    @dura, I’m not blaming Kevin Rose… instead it is a matter of concern for him, as he will end up losing the most because of the actions of a few!

  14. @Roger, thanks for the update… I’ve noticed it to. Comments are being dugg down seconds after posting.

    And surprisingly no hate comments in the post…

    And the strangest of all is

    made popular 1 hour 20 minutes ago

    and it is nowhere in the popular list :O

    Is there a bug in digg’s algorithm?

  15. “The Digg Mafia, who in Digg’s early months ensured its success by posting hundreds of interesting links, could now be the main obstacle in the way of Digg moving on and Kevin Rose being able to sell and cash in on Digg’s ’success’ (if he plans to). This community, even at the best of times, doesn’t compose of very nice fellows. If they see anything they don’t like, rather than being constructive in their criticism they go completely beyond the realms of reason.”

    This article is all wrong.

    Digg is a smaller example of a society and a democratic system (actually, since there is a final say by the digg moderators, it’s not true democracy, but that’s not a bad thing).

    You have people that work and contribute (IE: the people that submit articles onto the front page..and get them there) and you have people that just sit in the background and do nothing (IE: the readers/voters).

    Everyone is not equal. You need to have winners and losers. Part of the reason I think digg is so popular is because of the voting system. Reddit, for example, has a broken voting system. The front page is filled with mostly shit stories that got there as a result of shill posting. I left reddit for digg a long time ago.

    “My belief is that Digg is pretty close to reaching saturation of its potential market, and the actions of the Digg Mafia are making it hard for Digg to attract new active users. In fact, the Digg mafia are probably driving existing users away. Even the introduction of new categories seems to have failed due to few submissions being made to these categories and also because the Digg mafia tend to bury these stories.”

    I submit about 5 articles a day and have an article to the front page at least once a week (and I have nobody shill posting for me or helping me out).

    Digg has gotten much more popular in the past couple of months and it is much more difficult to get a story to the front page. This is mostly because so many people are posting stories now, that only the really interesting stories actually make it.

    It reminds me of people in the U.S that say: “only the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. Success doesn’t come easy. If you want success (in this case, getting a story to the front page), you need to work your ass off. Stop blaming the fact that you can’t get your stories to the front page on someone else (in this case..the elusive..DIGG MAFIA)

    “And consistent burial has resulted in numerous popular sites being banned. Some names include JohnChow.com, PaulStamatiou.com, Connected Internet, Tech Buzz and CyberNet News. If you are looking for a more complete list then refer to the one on Mu Life”

    Sites don’t get banned for just any reason. Kevin Rose is intelligent in the fact that everything goes through final moderation. This means a site cannot get banned by just the “digg mafia”. It needs final approval.

    “In my opinion, mass hysteria like this is why Digg users in the long-run will cost Kevin Rose millions (if not more), as they will limit the number of companies interested in buying Digg. Many large family-safe companies would not want to be associated with a group of users, who despite being small in number, punch above their weight online. Imagine for instance if Digg were purchased by Google. It would have been a PR disaster if Google users had been the ones defacing and flaming a Yahoo site.”

    Do all the predators on myspace hurt it’s popularity? This will bring digg more press coverage (this article is an example).

    you are mentioning google. Google recently purchased youtube, which has many copyrighted videos.

    oh, and most people don’t blame digg for the actions of a few users.

  16. So funny,
    i just made an article yesterday and thought to publish it today,
    but Ajay you came up before me 😉

    Anyway, i agree with you totally!
    i’m going to publish tomorrow my story, with photos and mails from Digg,
    that everybody gonna see how they using us to promote they site,
    giving the benefits to other, such big sites with money.

    great story! i think it’s time to show all those that making money from us, the surfers,
    that they can’t continue that way.

  17. Not complicated at all. Used to love Digg. It’s now largely controlled by a small elite, or mafia, take your pick, with whom I don’t share taste in material. Now I go to Reddit where I saw this…. At this time Reddit is better. Anyone who says different is an asshat.

  18. @Justin, you do raise some valid points, however what you have spoken about is you’re experience, which I believe has been good.

    oh, and most people don’t blame digg for the actions of a few users

    I for one am not blaming digg at all. I’ve said it before, I love the site. I don’t like it being taken for a ride.

    @Avinio, do make a post and send a trackback to this site.

    @Ozymandius, after seeing the status of this post, I can clearly see how the mafia has worked.

  19. The idea of a “digg mafia” looks a little ridiculous to me.

    If the author of this article insist that there is “digg mafia”, he should explain who are those people? Where they come from. How many are they and how are they organized? How exactly they are able to have effect on digg?

    Otherwise it is bunch of whimper.

    By the way, I hate digg. I have no idea how the most uninteresting stories are on the front page?! But mafia? A better explanation will be that green man from outer space are guilty.

  20. Hi guys,

    I got banned from digg.com site for just because for suggesting how to improve digg.

    Thanks keven, World is much improved now.

    I am trying to make mega technical rss news pipe at Yahoo! pipes, If any body knows good technical news site which is in shadow, please send the link to cooldudevamsee AT gmail DOT com.

    Thanks.

    Regards,
    Vamsee

  21. Within just a few hours of posting this from an update of the happenings on another blog (http://www.digg.com/tech_news/True_Loyalty_and_Death_of_Digg ), they banned me. Proves the point of this blog and the comments here as well as on Digg. The irony is that the submitter of the original post (Top 100 Digger) is still up on Digg. I salute that guy and do not wish him to suffer the same fate – he is more valuable to Digg as a Top Digger anyway.

    But the exercise has proven beyond any doubt that Digg has veered away from its democratic foundations and is a mere game.

    Thanks guys for giving me this platform. Success to your blog. C U in a different life 🙂

  22. To author: sorry if my comment was seen as mean about the grammar/spelling. I write for a living and it’s just a pet peeve of mine. No harm intended.

    (If you really want to know what it was that I was picking it, it was the overuse of commas in certain places and lack of them in others.)

    To reiterate my previous comment, I think your message is very important. Digg started off as a wonderful, refreshing change from Slashdot. Ironically enough, I have now returned to Slashdot and just recently discovered reddit.com.

    To those that have been banned by Digg, I say welcome it. Post your valuable links on a different site that will appreciate them.

    Peace.

  23. Hi All,

    I’ve just add a new post in my blog,
    trying to organize and find out all those sites that have been banned from Digg,
    and together we all, going to ask for answers from Digg.

    This is not the spirit of internet the way the behave,
    and if someone has been banned to from digg without any explanation, please use that link to drop your name an your site:
    http://www.avinio.blogspot.com/2007/02/bloggers-asking-answer-from-diggcom.html

    Also, if you know someone else who has been banned,
    please ask them to join our fight,
    and try to publish as much as you can this “Bloggers-Digg Fight”.
    time for us the bloggers to use our force and get the justice.

    Together we all going to do the “impossible” and force digg to answer us.

    Thanks and good luck,
    Avinio

    P.S
    Ajay, i’ll be happy if you’ll contact me.

  24. Pingback: Digg Unbans Hordes
  25. Digg is junk. Here’s my short story…

    You can poke fun at anyone else, but not Kevin Rose. I posted a few photoshopped pics (all in good taste) of Kevin and bam.. banned.

    Whatever. Hope his liver doesn’t pickle.

  26. Digg has become shit. Every headline is flamebait and the bulk of the comments are idiotic. I stopped visiting it after it became impossible to see new and interesting things. Most of the articles were about the iPhone, Ron Paul or some other thing that got repeated several times an hour. StumbleUpon is much more useful for the sharing of interesting websites, and it doesn’t have the increasingly annoying community.

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