Digg Is Dead via Website Magazine

An alarming post by Website Magazine says:

According to the latest Compete.com data (April, 2010) Digg lost an astounding 13.8 million unique visits from March to April, 2010 — a near 36 percent drop.

Digg traffic graph

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This has been a long time coming and demonstrates what happens when businesses put their own needs ahead to the needs of their users. Here’s the mistakes Digg made.

  • Early 2009 Digg kicked hundreds of users off Digg for using scripts to automate simple Digg tasks, 300 of them were top 1000 users.
  • After treating their own core users like crap, Digg bet on Facebook connect to bring them a flood of new users that would click on advertising content, unlike most Digg users.
  • Then, removed the shout mechanism that allowed mutual friends on Digg to communicate, this is where their main traffic was lost, viral views.
  • April 2009, added the Digg bar, framing outbound links and content under their own URL, there by stealing the visitors and SEO benefits from the site that actually created the content to begin with.
  • Meanwhile thru all that the Digg mafia (malicious voting groups) were allowed to run all over regular users by voting their content down if the site contained anything commercial, accusing marketers of spam and selling Digg placement.

Don’t let Digg fool you, the Digg bar is still there, but you won’t see it if you are not a logged in Digg user.

In short, Digg put their own interests ahead of their users

In my book, Digg, you got what you well deserved. Google passed on your $200 M acquisition, you have lost money every year you have been in operation and now you are soon to close your doors because you never will be able to generate a profit.

Even after all this, I do have to say, Digg was one of the most fun to use sites on the web. The challenge to get your posts front page was the key. Facebook and Twitter is about as dull as it gets for me, but the chance to get one of your own blog posts front page on Digg and go Hyper-Viral into 6 figure traffic in Digg’s heyday? Priceless!!!

You can read the full Digg is Dead article here.

We have been calculating a 200% drop in traffic on Digg due to the number of Diggs it has been taking to get to the front page in the last 6 months, but documented numbers and a major publisher link this spells disaster for Digg.

Also Mixx, a place we loved for a brief time is now dead already as far as I can see and now StumbleUpon is our only option. Digg, we are sorry to see you go…..

12 Comments

  1. Posted June 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. I have used digg a bit from time to time but never was a very big fan. I did find some interesting and entertaining stories there but like the article points out it is too hard to get any decent amount of traffic from it to make it worth it for most marketers to spend time with it.

  2. Posted June 6, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Chris …

    Thanks for the update

    Don’t you think that since such a massive chunk of ‘social’ bookmarking is simply carried out by those who are pushing low grade websites? The result is that the experience of ‘genuine’ users has been dramatically degraded – so they are leaving in crowds.

    This is why I believe in similar light the latest update by Google knocked out a huge number of precisely targeted long tail keyword baed mini-sites.

    Most of those sites are SEO optimised to ‘game’ Google who are becoming increasingly wise to it.

    Quality will rule in the end ..

    Jonathan

  3. Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Chris, I met you at a seminar in Las Vegas in January. Since then I have learned a lot from you. This post is no exception.

    I had no idea that Digg was going down the drain! I was not using it to drive traffic as the reports were that it was not very effective any more.

    Thank you for this great info and keep up the good work.

    All the best,

    Glen Wayne

  4. toby
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I knew this day was coming the first time I made an account there they deleted it because I could not digg my own content. I am glad they imploded. So obvious for me

  5. Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Hi Chris,
    It’s funny that you post this since I was never really a regular Digg user, but over the last few months I have been increasingly using it Via my Iphone to keep up to date with the latest news. Their Iphone app is great. I wonder if any of this traffic drop is related to users interacting with the site in other ways.

  6. Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    @Ian David Chapman – Digg ain’t done yet, they could still make a nice comeback by removing the Digg bar forever (something Kevin has promised to do) and re-enabling the shout mechanism.

    Kevin has removed Jay Adelson as CEO and taken over the reins of Digg for now.

    He has also promised to un-ban domains blocked my the Digg mafia’s shenanigans and possibly ever return banned users to Digg.

    If he can pull all that off Digg could easily return to it’s once glorious status.

    I would like to see it so!

  7. Posted June 7, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Whether or not digg gets their $**t together there is another benefit we as marketers get from digg even if they don’t send us any traffic…

    A PR 8 Backlink!

    So if you don’t like digg and don’t want to become a poweruser, don’t make the mistake of missing out on a high quality backlink to your posts, pages and sites even social profiles.

    @toby
    “I knew this day was coming the first time I made an account there they deleted it because I could not digg my own content. I am glad they imploded. So obvious for me”

    When you want to backlink from digg or any other social bookmarking site don’t do it from your account. Let someone else “submit” “digg” “stumble” your links.

    Simply asking someone to swap submissions usually works.

    And then you have something to digg instead of your own content.

    When you open an account and the first thing you do is put up your links in your profile and then try and digg the same links it’s pretty obvious you are not using the system as intended.

    Tony

  8. Posted June 7, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Tony, you are very right about not submitting you own content, I have been teaching that for almost 3 years now.

    But there is a problem to the PR8 backlink theory. You have to get front page on Digg to get that link.

    As Digg shrinks in size, the ratio of Digg mafia / bury brigades / voting blocks to every day users like you and me changes hugely.

    I would not waste any time trying to get past Digg mafia guards and to the front page of Digg. If your site has anything to do with any commercial content you are not going to make it right now.

    For those of you who don’t understand the term “digg mafia” just Google it and you will learn how malicious a faction these brownshirts are.

    Also the Digg mafia are the core users of Digg that were the original members when Digg was launched in 2004. They guard the front page of Digg and will bury anyone’s post that seems like it will profit from the exposure.

    Less real Digg users just means more Digg users that hate us Internet marketers and all sleep with a Kevin Rose poster over their beds. And they are serious about keeping us off the front page.

  9. Posted June 7, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I will have to say that I have not been on Digg in about nine months now. I found it just too time consuming with very little ROI. I for one will not mourn the passing of DIGG!

  10. Posted June 7, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a very insightful input.

    I got that exaxt same feeling day one!

  11. Posted June 7, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    We know what happened to Digg. They were not user friendly and put the few ahead of the many. I saw how they treated you there, Chris, and that made me want to shy away from it. Sites that are only for a select few have a limited life span.
    That is my 2 cents.

  12. Posted June 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi Chris

    You know what I think: “Digg Schmigg”

    I enjoy Digg but they definitely need some educating about treating their loyals with some respect.

    We run the risk of losing your account at any time with those guys.