No One Digs Us

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the somewhat “coveted” digg-effect, it’s that it can either come in bunches, or not come at all. We had our fair share of good excellent articles that still have yet to receive the amount of traffic and recognition they deserve to have. I find it somewhat surprising, especially considering the amount of shit crappy, pointless things that are dugg frantically by the digg user population everyday.

Digg and Devlounge, No Love

Let’s take a look at what received a massive overload of traffic this week:

Digg in the 90’s8,618 Diggs
A photo – yes a photo – that someone put together showing what digg could have looked like in the 90’s, using tables and no css. The description says “very funny” but maybe it’s just me, because I didn’t find myself “ROFLING” after looking at this.

Girl’s boyfriend *accidentally* cooks her laptop in the oven5,157 Diggs
Another amazing story. I guess stupidity is more important than a well researched article for example. This girl lives in a high crime area, so she keeps her laptop in the oven. Yes, an oven. I hope you marked that down, as I know I did. Ever since I read this, I decided it be a great place to keep my wallet, house key, and birth certificate. If her laptop can survive when he boyfriend burns the shit out of it, I guess all my goods can too!

CRASH IE6 with one line of code2,613 Diggs
Check out this beauty. One piece of code gets IE6 to crash! That one really threw me for a loop. Really, I didn’t know that any code existed that wouldn’t crash IE / cause it display wrong / not display at all / etc. I thought that other people would realize the same thing, but apparently not, as close to 3,000 people found this interesting enough to make the frontpage of Digg.

What’s Better than Mouseovers? How About Scrollovers2,760 Diggs
Want a new way to annoy your visitors? Get scrollovers, the modern way to make your links do flips when you hover over them! My favorite part of all this is that a lot of the comments are all negative, but yet people still kept digging away. Bad publicity rules!

I’ve also noticed that many Digg users are deeply into lists. (But will this one get any love – probably not). Smashing Magazine, which very well could be called ListMAG, gets thousands of diggs on almost everything they publish, which very frequently, is a list of some sort. Not that I’m bashing any of their lists, as some of them are extremely helpful and many of them have included us, but a list is still just a list. We’ve listed some things too, but to no avail.

Then there are the digg users with a sense of humor. You know, the ones that laughed historically at that funny digg 90’s picture above. I’ve tried the “humor” route, and even that didn’t succeed all too well. I guess I won’t be doing stand up any time soon.

Occasionally, you get an article that shows the author really knows what their talking about. More often then not, people enjoy this, and show their appreciation. In our case, all of our authors (with the exception of myself probably) have a pretty damn good understanding of what they’re saying. Take, for example, and extremely large, full-length article series on building a WordPress plugin. With the amount of WordPress users out there, you probably would have figured this baby would have rocketed to the Digg top five in less than 24 hours. We came pretty close to reaching the top five alright, with a record shattering 4 diggs.

And, it appears that even when we take the serious / commentary type route, we still get shut out. It appears that digg really shows no love for us.

Is the World Over?

No, of course not. Digg is nothing more than a burst of traffic and a status symbol, and for any one of our posts to ever make the front page, it’d be like us playing the part of Ronald McDonald and robbing the crown right off the BK King’s head. It is a bit disappointing, considering if you found any of our best articles anywhere else, say Vitamin, they would have been crowned with front page status a long time ago. Instead, we walk down the red carpet alongside the other stars, but the reporters and paparazzi ignore us. We’re okay with that, because hopefully, sometime soon, we’ll be due to break out – and if this is the article that does it – well it’s about damn time.

What this post just did

If you just read this post, than I can congratulate myself for a mission accomplished. And more importantly, if this is the post that finally gets a lot of diggs, it just pointed out a few prime articles – that are all fairly new – for people to look into. For first time visitors, this is a key way to try and get them to stay, and “dig” (no pun intended) further into the site. I played it pretty sneakily (I don’t really think that’s a word), by dropping in in-site links mixed with some random sarcasm and a whole lot of pointlessness (another non-word?) to [hopefully] keep people interested and entertained. It contains a mixture of what everyone seems to love on digg – comedy, a partial list, lots of links, and even an image. That makes for one hell of a complete article, ehh? For regular readers, hopefully you didn’t find this post too annoying. Actually, I hope it got you to laugh (at least once would have been nice). All in all, the main goal of this commentary post was to make it to the front of digg, and allow our other, actual articles to enjoy the same benefits, and get the same kind of exposure they deserve to have.

Disclaimer: Digg doesn’t matter all that much too me ;).

  1. By Shane posted on August 8, 2007 at 5:14 pm
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    I unsubscribed from all my Digg RSS feeds about 3 months ago when that whole thing went down with the HD-DVD encryption key. I was sorting through way too much crap to glean the 1 or 2 decent articles out of thousands that were worthwhile to me.

    Unfortunately, Digg isn’t a social network at all…it’s a clique of about maybe 100 people who control what makes the front page. There are well-documented examples of people who actually advertise that they can get you on the Digg front page. I look at those practices the same way I look at the ones that get people on the first page of Google results without merit.

    This is a good article, but there are certainly some sour grapes in there. Don’t worry about it too much. There are plenty of people out there reading the Devlounge feed and there will continue to be as long as you keep providing consistently excellent content.

  2. By aj posted on August 8, 2007 at 5:17 pm
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    @Shane – I used to, when I first started this gig, look at Digg like it was some high and mighty place and if I ever received a lot of diggs, I’d be sitting pretty. Now, I submit stuff there just for the hell of it, and maybe to pick up a few stray readers, but most of my readers are my readers because they came here on their own. I just wanted to use this post as a joke / experiment, to see how something seemingly random would do compared to actual articles.

  3. By Sam posted on August 8, 2007 at 6:32 pm
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    Shane, I’m glad your articles don’t get ‘dugg’. I find myself immersed in all this great wisdom, while the crowds at digg are too busy flaming each other in the comments.

    Sure you may get that boost in traffic, but your current readership are very very happy to read and diagnose the articles here, regardless of their digg-status.

  4. By Sam posted on August 8, 2007 at 6:36 pm
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    Hah.. AJ, in a moment of blind panic, I posted my previous comment to Shane. Please forgive my ignorance and edit that to AJ, and delete this one.

    Geez it’s late. Sorry man.

    Sam in Scotland at 23:35

  5. By Alex posted on August 8, 2007 at 6:55 pm
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    In my opinion, the majority of Digg traffic is a waste. You get a stack of page views, maybe a handful click on an ad or two making you a few bucks (not relevant to Devlounge), but the rest just pass through.

    There are other, more targeted avenues to go through that will direct a whole lot more quality traffic to your site. One visitor that keeps coming back is worth more than 100 who spend 20 seconds on your site scanning an article.

  6. By Stavanger posted on August 8, 2007 at 7:47 pm
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    Majority of diggers look for quick 1 minute quick browse to waste time on and not 10 mintues article they actually have to read. Pointless is the whole point while I take a break during lunch, so kind of useless to try to gain large quantity of meaningful traffic from digg.

    By the way I thought the IE code was pretty cool. Sure you can go on about HTML/CSS that does not display properly in IE, but one that actually crashes IE? Now that’s rare.

  7. By Mike Malone posted on August 8, 2007 at 7:50 pm
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    Hah. I’m the blogger behind the “CRASH IE” post, and I completely agree with pretty much everything you said. It’s actually kind of frustrating, because the posts that I’ve written that have made the front page of Digg are not actually my best posts (at least in my opinion). It always amazes me what does well on Digg.

    I have a lot more success on sites like dzone.com and del.icio.us. But in the end, I try not to write “for Digg,” or any other site, for that matter. I’d be lying if I said I _never_ wrote to attract attention from a particular site/audience, but I think it’s often counterproductive. It’s hard to predict what people will like, and if users of Digg or other sites feel like you’re trying to game them they tend to retaliate (e.g., but burying your stuff).

    After a dry spell that lasted several months, I’ve hit the Digg home page three times in the last 7 days. I haven’t really changed anything about the way I write, or what I write about — so what gives? I guess I’m doing something right (or wrong?).

  8. By Connor Wilson posted on August 8, 2007 at 7:57 pm
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    I totally hear you here. I’ve written so many articles in the vain attempt of getting Dugg, so I just stopped. This was a long while ago, but it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done to my blog.

    I’d like to think some things I’ve written were Digg-worthy, but I’m banned now so I don’t let it trouble me 😉

  9. By charlie posted on August 8, 2007 at 11:05 pm
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    If I had an account I’d Digg this article, but alas, I don’t and the main reason is because I find Digg worthless. I get sent links at Digg from friends, but most of the time they’re pointless articles, not even worth the time to read them. I’ll echo other peoples’ thoughts – Digg is like an elementary school playground, filled with cliques and immaturity. I’m not a fan at all and I don’t understand the people who practically live on the site.

    For what it’s worth, I think there are some absolutely amazing resources here at Devlounge and I was pretty shocked when you were thinking of putting it up for sale. You’re in my RSS reader, so I’d hope that counts for more than a Digg. 😉

  10. By Larissa Meek posted on August 8, 2007 at 11:06 pm
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    I think a lot of the digg effect comes down to the impact of how titles are named. I sometimes wonder if there is some secret culture which unites together in unison to get things to the the front page of Digg.

    Either way, I keep my RSS feeds varied so that I take in as much as possible. Great thoughts!

  11. By Darren posted on August 9, 2007 at 3:43 am
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    It’s gotta be said:
    “Digg’s gone to the dogs”

  12. By Onecore posted on August 9, 2007 at 5:23 am
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    I must agree rank ofour website is determined based onb digg,technorati and Alexa who the xxxx they are? why my content and readers are rated based on thier evaluation.sites like textlinkads/reviewme and dnscoop are taking thier evaluation into consideration for accepting publisher that is bad.my content is not slave of these social networks.

    by the way technorati is creap,keeping thier javascript on your site slows your site down.i only keep analytics and mybloglog for looking at user who see my site.

    So dont break ur heart based on stats by technorati,alexa.In last case trust google page rank that is good.

    What are your opinion?

  13. By Ryan Williams posted on August 9, 2007 at 7:54 am
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    I think part of the problem is that different people visit Digg for entirely different reasons.

    I’m guessing that the vast majority of people who actually go to Digg are there looking for some technology-related entertainment rather than serious articles about serious technology. While there is an audience for both, I’d speculate that the former has a larger one, and that’s why so many of these quirky, ‘silly’ articles are highlighted.

    Let’s be honest, that laptop story (Quite funny — thanks for linking to it!) is the kind of thing a lot of people find amusing, and would like to pass around to colleagues and such. It’s a ludicrously stupid but ultimately entertaining article.

    Just remember, putting a lot of time into an article and getting a “Get Traffic Quick!” card isn’t a right; if you don’t produce things that the audience of thousands is going to enjoy rather than the web developer audience of dozens, it’s not going anywhere. People wrote meaningful content for the web, myself included, for many years before the advent of easy rides like Digg. Exposure was crushingly slow and incremental, and required a lot of devotion.

    Write for the passion and not for the traffic, bre.

  14. By aj posted on August 9, 2007 at 8:24 am
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    Agreed – you don’t see us stopping any time soon :) 😉

  15. By Robert posted on August 9, 2007 at 8:25 am
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    I don’t use digg anymore for like 2 months. The hype is over and as you said: stupidity and oligophrenia rules. The scope is not on well written articles anymore. It would have been nice if you’d presented some visitor data to compare with the “sleeping digg beauty”. I suspect that your page impressions are quite satisfactory :-)

  16. By beth posted on August 9, 2007 at 9:37 am
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    On a positive note, getting Dugg brings with it a lot of Spam, so you don’t have to worry about that :) Digg won’t stand the test of time anyway, the articles that make it to the homepage are ridiculous and half the time totally inaccurate.

  17. By Mukund Lakshman posted on August 10, 2007 at 5:38 am
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    Digg shouldn’t matter to you, but this post sounds kind of bitter. I don’t think Digg’s all that bad as a repository for links. The comments aren’t very good, I admit, but Digg often gets news before sites like delicious, so I check both.

    Props again for the Plugin series, I agree it’s a pity that it didn’t get more attention.

  18. By anon posted on August 10, 2007 at 7:19 am
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    First visit to the site and it took me a while to find your digg link

    It might help your diggs if it was a bit more prominent because it wouldnt cross my mind to digg a article unless I had that reminder there in front of me

  19. By Andrew Egenes posted on August 10, 2007 at 3:34 pm
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    Design Float is the new Digg :)

  20. By Rileyroxx posted on August 12, 2007 at 1:16 pm
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    I was messing around on the Digg Labs section when i came across this article.

    I have since:

    – Subscribed to your feed 😉
    – Dugg the Article
    – Wrote a Comment on the Digg Page
    – Left a Comment here

    So, Hello Devlounge. =D

  21. By aj posted on August 12, 2007 at 1:28 pm
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    Hah, thanks :)

  22. By Mitchell posted on August 13, 2007 at 1:41 am
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    Quit your whining just because your site is not popular.

    People want to see stuff they have never seen before or something that is interesting.

    People don’t like try-hards

  23. By aj posted on August 13, 2007 at 6:54 am
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    @Mitchel – the site is fairly popular. People don’t like annoying commenter’s.

  24. By Smarmy posted on August 15, 2007 at 12:35 pm
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    Finally, some reason! You should be proud to be classy enough to stay off Digg as long as you have. As you can see, content is king, and will draw loyal visitors time and time again. It’s better than the one-shot Digg visitors who will just come and leave a cute comment like, say, Mitchell.

    Hey Mitchell! I clicked onto your site and found neither stuff I had seen before nor anything interesting. I assume you commented here so you could become “popular.” It’s not working.

  25. By Reinhold posted on August 15, 2007 at 5:19 pm
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    Top story on the front page right now:
    This is what happens when you run over a Macbook Pro [PICS]
    that really shows the relevance of digg and the wisdom of crowds these days really elegantly – go web2.0

  26. By Avinash posted on August 20, 2007 at 7:05 am
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    I’m surprised. I’ve always found Devlounge articles/posts pretty helpful and that’s why the Devlounge feed has been a part of my ‘special’ folder in my Google Reader.

    I’ve personally never cared about Digg because I write too short posts. The big-list loving Digg crowd won’t like my small posts. As far as the Digg traffic is concerned, you could certainly gain too many new subscribers after reaching the Digg home page because Devlounge articles work like adhesive for a quality content loving person like me!

  27. By Mitchell posted on August 25, 2007 at 2:48 am
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    @aj – Looking back on my post now I find it offensive. I acted in the heat of the moment. I will try to give a more concise opinion.

    When making a website you should present either complicated articles with simple designs or easy-to-read articles with beautiful and detailed designs. This website is a perfect example. We provide you with information that requires you to think, however the design is very basic in itself and requires little focus. This way we get 90% of your focus instead of 30%.

    All websites should add up to a certain complexity level. What is that level? I doubt we’ll ever know. The best thing we can do is take a calculated guess. A famous quote once was “Take calculated risks. This is quite different from being rash” and I feel the same applies to this discussion. Disbelievers who criticize that all viewers are different may be partially correct, however in essence they are wrong. Not all people are different as the majority of people can be divided into 3 groups. There are many sub-groups in which they are shown to be different, however the level of human instinct and basic psychology is still the same. The largest group covers approximately 60% of people and the second group covers 28% of people, while the third only covers around 2% of people at the most. Web authors should choose which of these groups they should appeal to.

    While we are talking about simplification, let us also talk about assimilation. Addressing assimilation when writing articles can be critical to your success on the web. As the Web 2.0 era continues to grow and prosper, assimilation becomes ever so more critical. For those still s trying to understand what I’m trying to convey, consider this example. Digg is Web 2.0, Digg is popular, Digg gives you some top-notch quality articles. Now consider this, how does it give you such quality articles? By users of course. But why do these users vote for these articles? Because they can assimilate to them, meaning they can understand it and relate it either to their own thoughts or current activities (i.e. web design).

    Many websites have criticized Digg because although their excellent and informative article may only get 9 diggs, funny pictures get over 3000 diggs. The reason lies in their content. Good content is important, but content that visitors can assimilate to is more important, in fact it should be 1st priority. People can assimilate to a funny image because it is easily understandable and interesting, whereas long informative articles are boring, take time to read, are complicated and often it is hard to concentrate on because of the distracting design (as beautiful as it may be).

    After considering all the techniques talked about so far I would have to say Smashing Magazine has mastered and employed these techniques. They present clear and concise content with a simple design, assimilate to people’s needs and present complicated content (I.e. AJAX) in simple and clear ways. Each of their articles usually get at least 1500 diggs. There is much more to article writing than this however and I wish to point out that I’m simply explaining how you should present your information, not how you should write it.

    @Smarmy – Thankyou for the comment. Obviously I was not amused but I will grudgingly admit that I may have deserved it. I did not simply make a post here because I wanted to advertise my website however and I’m sorry if you have got that impression. For this post and future posts I will not include my website.

  28. By aj posted on August 25, 2007 at 8:25 am
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    Thanks for that long comment Mitchell. :)

  29. By Rachel posted on September 11, 2007 at 9:14 pm
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    What’s actually on digg is either totally obvious (Pavarotti died?!) or ridiculously stupid (the articles you reference). I echo the other opinions: that not being dugg doesn’t mean s***. However if you want to get dugg, you should probably write an article that makes a ridiculous and inflammatory statement, instead of worrying about producing quality content.

  30. By Onecore posted on October 28, 2007 at 8:33 am
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    It happens to me so many times even i do have good articles on my site.I even do not run ads in order not to distract readers but it is not paying up.Readers come to my site for purpose,they leave after they get what they want,but its okay.

    So don’t break your heart for the digs and pings.Only thing readers or users want is free and unique things for them.

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