The word is out from the horse’s mouth. Kevin Rose, founder of the ultra-popular Digg social media site, just posted that new algorithm changes have been put into place. Without actually coming out and saying it, it seems like he’s saying these changes have been put into place to reduce the chances of being gamed (i.e., by SEOs/SMMs).
Now while it’s probably noble that the intent is so that stories “go popular” if they garner a wide variety of votes, the net result seems to include some of the following problems:
- Stories could require OVER 100 votes before they’ll get on the home page, according to Rose himself.
- Sites with already huge readership are less likely to be affected because they already have a more natural “diversity” of early votes.
- New sites with small readerships have to try extra hard to become popular. The same type of article on an already popular site will always gain more votes. I’ve seen it time and again. Once you’re popular, substandard articles can still do relatively well.
- Friend networks – the whole essence of social media – are being discounted as a result.
Members have already been saying for over a year that they’re disappointed with Digg, and I can’t see how these algorithm changes are going to help. Top users are still being banned, and with no reasonable explanation, and good stories being buried without the submitter allowed to see by whom. That means competitors can easily bury you if they have a lot of hateful friends. (The level-headed sort might say that I’m being extreme, but sorry, I’m not.)
On the other hand, whichever company is supposedly ready to spend $300M (600M??) on Digg might be making such things a requirement. If that’s the case, I predict a mass exodus of members to more niche voting sites. Er, well, another mass exodus.
Are you worried? Don’t be. Here are some tips:
- Make a list of “lesser” (than Digg) social media sites that might suit your blog niche(s). If you need a starting point, check out the top blogs in your niche and find out what voting buttons are up on their posts. Go from there.
- Cull the list down to one set of very niche sites and one set of Digg “replacement” sites.
- Register at each site in your two shortlists. Try to use the same account name in all places, for simplicity. Doing this makes it easier for your “friends” on one site to find you elsewhere.
- Start building up each account by spending about 15-20 minutes each day for each account. Submit quality articles from sites other than your own, making sure to use catchy titles, good descriptions, and the best category.
- If you see that someone has submitted an article you enjoyed, add them as a friend. Hopefully, they’ll do the same.
- Once you’ve started gaining “karma points” when other members vote on articles you’ve submitted, you can start submitting articles from your site(s). Keep in mind that some social media sites frown on this, some don’t. If the sites you like don’t allow/like this, then pair up with a handful of blogger friends to occasionally submit each other’s articles. But insist on quality; don’t be bullied into voting. And don’t always have the same person submit your articles. As Kevin Rose said, diversity is key.
- If you work from computers that share IP addresses, I suggest that you don’t have different social media accounts using the same IPs. Not all voting sites care, but some do.
In other words, if Digg suffers because of the seemingly anti-friend-network changes, and if you are fed up with the “haters” out there that get your articles easily buried, despite the quality, then there are other options. Some other site could also appear to take its place. (By the way, I have an excellent domain name with Pligg on it, for just such an alternative. And it won’t cost hundreds of millions. 🙂
[thanks to Thord Hendgren at BloggerTalks]