I visit Digg on a regular basis to vote on stories that I like as well as to find new and interesting information. A few days ago I was reading through the items that were currently listed on the front page of the technology section, and was observing the rich getting richer and smaller bloggers having a difficult time cracking the upper echelon of Digg success.
The Digg voting system is intended to allow the most popular stories to get the most exposure and to prevent users from gaming the system. But one of the results of this system is that it heavily favors blogs and websites with huge audiences while those with smaller audiences are left with much more difficult odds of gaining exposure from Digg.
If you visit the technology section on a consistent basis, you no doubt see many of the same websites and blogs being featured almost daily. These sites consistently publish new content that Digg users appreciate and they have built very large audiences for a reason. Some of those that you’ll see on a regular basis include Ars Technica, Engadget, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Mashable, Valleywag, Lifehacker, and ReadWriteWeb, among others.
Admittedly, these sites all provide quality, timely articles. However, I can’t help but believe that there are plenty of other deserving stories in the blogosphere. I think most Digg users that visit the technology section already subscribe to most of these blogs, I know I do. In this case, wouldn’t Digg be a more useful resource to users if it introduced them to content sources that they don’t already have in their RSS reader?
At the particular moment that I was on the technology front page, 11 of the 15 stories were from what I would consider to be major players. Ars Technica had four items on the page, and Gizmodo and ReadWriteWeb had two each.
I understand that it’s not Digg’s responsibility to provide bloggers with the opportunity to reach thousands of new readers. Digg’s objective is to show the most popular stories to its visitors. However, as a Digg user, I would like to see more stories on the front page that are new to me and I would like to be able to discover new sources of information. There are thousands of blogs out there that provide quality content that would interest me, but I may never find most of them.
Many of the larger blogs mentioned earlier have such a huge following that only a very small percentage of readers need to digg a story in order to get it to the front page. On the other hand, a smaller blog may need a lot of help to get the necessary votes to reach the front page. The larger blogs often only need to include a Digg button somewhere on the post or in the RSS feed to convert a large subscriber base into a high number of diggs, an advantage that smaller blogs do not have.
So what options does a small blogger have to get to the front page? One option is to build a powerful Digg profile, which can take a lot of time and effort. Digg users with strong profiles (and lots of friends) have better chances of their submissions reaching the front page, but many Digg users frown on someone submitting their own content, so this may not be a great option. Digg’s shout system seems to be largely ineffective, so adding friends and sharing your story probably won’t get you very far either.
I believe this leaves small bloggers with only a few options, some of which Digg itself does not approve. The first method that I have used with occasional success is to create as much traffic as possible with other social media sites and hope that it translates into diggs. Another option is to email friends and contacts with a request for a Digg. This essentially does the same thing as the Digg shout system, except that it may actually work. There are even some groups of Digg users that agree to share their submissions with each other in order to gain more diggs for everyone. Alternatively, you could contact someone with a strong profile and ask them to submit your story. The last option, and one that has gotten many people banned from Digg, is to buy diggs.
What is Your Opinion?
I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether or not small bloggers have a chance with Digg. Do you think Digg would be a more useful resource if it didn’t constantly feature articles from the same sites? Do you have any methods that have worked well for getting diggs for your blog posts?