Last year, I drafted an article entitled “How to game Digg.com for fame (and maybe fortune)”. I got some the baseline down, but left it on the backburner since I needed do more experiments. I’m resurrecting this since we’re all still fascinated by the popularity of Digg, especially over Slashdot.
Five Types of Digg Users
Back in December 2005, Richard MacManus of the Web 2.0 Explorer (ZDnet) decontructed Alex Bosworth’s take on the Dynamics of Digg. For our benefit, he discovered that the system is “very simple” and made up of five groups of people. What’s interesting is how all five of these groups interact (each with their own rewards), in order to make the Digg system work. Here are his thoughts combined with mine on the demographics of Digg.com:
Type: Alex guesses that this consists of ten to twenty percent of users who ever click ‘digg’.
Motivation: Reaping the discoveries of other Digg users via the frontpage of popular links
Type: 10-20% says Alex. He also says these are the least important members of the system, because “once a link is on the front page, it makes marginal difference the number of votes next to the link.” I personally think they are still important for verifying a great link (e.g. 298 vs. 2150 diggs)
Motivation: Alex doesn’t make it clear, but I would think it’s a like giving a “personal stamp of approval” to give good links more credit.
3. Hardcore Diggers
Type: People who sit in the queue of submitted stories and watch for breaking news that should make its way up to the front page, or report stories as being spam or irrelevant.
Motivation: Digg queue watchers looking for cool links before anyone else has seen them (e.g. early adopters). See Digg Spy.
Type: People who submit stories. It’s highly competitive and difficult to be the first to post a successful story (one that makes the front page).
Motivation: Establishing their Digg reputation via a list of submissions ‘published on the homepage’
Type: Often bloggers who want to get readership for their content.
Motivation: Blog publishers promote their own content through digg.
Alex believes that the Hardcore Diggers is the group with the most power in the Digg system. Publishers have an interest in getting their stories dugg, so who better to court than those who are as involved as Hardcore Diggers. It’s similar in a way to popular bloggers who get sent emails by companies hoping to get a link.
How to be a Top Digger
Here’s the kicker: It isn’t enough to just pounce on the latest news submission anymore.
As part of Digg’s redesign on last monday, a user popularity ranking system has emerged which tries to highlight civil-minded users. Like A-list bloggers, I believe these top diggers are in line to be the opinion leaders who matter. While Technorati’s Top 100 Blogs shows us the most influencial bloggers in the blogosphere, Top Diggers shows us the complete popularity ranking of all its users. Do note that this ranking is pretty well conceived so that highly ranked users are those who contribute greatest to the community. There’s equal emphasis on self-publishing quality content as well as the promotion of other users’ stories that matter. As you’ll see on the ranking page, users are measured by:
- Popularity: Numbers of submitted stories promoted to the front page
- Submitted: Number of stories submitted
- Popular Ratio: Percentage of submitted stories that make it to the front page
- Dugg: Number of stories a user has dugg
- Comments: Total number of comments a user has left on stories submitted to digg
- Profile Views: Number of times others have viewed this user’s profile
The creators of Digg have set up a user reputation system which works in their favor. To game Digg.com today, means you’ll need to submit a lot of quality articles, help digg other user submissions and comment widely. I’ve join a mailing list dedicated to Digg-bombing articles, but after a while I saw less meaning behind it when too many people started asking for diggs. Since I’ve personally encountered users submitting badly stories under tantalizing headings (raising false hopes), I’m hoping for more control over demoting stories as well. Perhaps even put a measure for the antonym of Digg (e.g. UnDigg?) where we can then see how well a user polices for deviant user submissions.
How do you use Digg?
Being a blogger, I find that I share similar traits with all five users groups, so bear in mind that users are more than likely to have multiple traits. I do tend to watch Digg Spy a lot, but mostly to read than to digg articles. I believe majority of the users use Digg like me since motivation to digg relies solely on personal interest in it. Talk about Digg as a community of geeks, I also don’t see the point of connecting with one another. Perhaps a more matured social networking feature set is still missing in the Digg Friends feature. Right now, the reward for me is really in having all the breaking news available on just one page, and now that they’ve expanded their genres to cover almost everything under the sun (not just tech), Digg is an even more invaluable resource for me.