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Could The Digg Effect Be A Thing Of The Past?

by Sean P. Aune | March 18, 2010March 18, 2010 6:11 pm PDT

At one time in blog publishing, the ultimate goal was to hit the front page of Digg.  Getting a story voted up to the point of being made popular enough to be on the front page meant you could see a rush of traffic to your site in the tens of thousands.  This occurrence is known as “The Digg Effect”, and while it could cripple some servers under the strain, especially if they are hosted on a shared account, it is a heck of a way to go.  One of the biggest issues with Digg Effect, beyond crashing your server, is that it has been completely unpredictable and almost impossible to monetize.

digg effectBack in February I wrote about how Twitter stole Digg’s thunder, and in that I presented arguments about how Digg was going to have to change some of the things about its core operation if it was going to compete against the increasing appearance of ReTweet buttons where Digg buttons used to exist.  One of the ideas that had been floated about at the time was that Digg would be rolling out more niche versions of itself which would allow someone to focus just on the topics they were interested in, but it looks now like it will still be just one Digg that you remake as you see fit.

Jay Adelson, CEO of Digg, spoke at the recent South By Southwest Interactive conference, and he said that the “one size fits all“-style Digg just doesn’t work any more.   The new version (which you can sign up for a trial of here) will make use extensively of tags so that you can better filter the site so you are only seeing the stories that you are interested in.  There will also be recommended stories for you based on stories that you previously voted, and based on posts that your friends on Facebook and Twitter have been sharing and voting.

While the front page will still exist, and stories will still make their way there, the impact of the page will probably be greatly reduced by the fact that users will probably stick to their filtered and recommended stories more.  This will greatly reduce the likelihood of Digg Effect traffic spikes, but if you were able to get more regular traffic that is stretched out over more time, and coming from people that are interested in your style of content, you could potentially pick up visitors that could be converted to regular readers.

The new version of Digg will take some getting used to, but it sounds like it could potentially be more beneficial to both the users and publishers alike.  The surge of Digg traffic was always nice, but after an hour or so you would return to normal levels and few if any of those you saw over the spike would ever return for a second visit.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see them more than once?

What do you think?  Is the new Digg a good or bad thing?  Are you looking forward to trying it out, or do you think you will miss the old version?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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