September 11, 2006 3 Comments
I think he’s missing the underlying point I was wanting to make.
People will always act according to their self interest.
The social networking site as we know it would completely change. Yes, now the community can stop “spammers” because they self-regulate and bury stories.
Scott gave two situations:
Situation A) Joe has come up with a great new service – it makes people’s lives a little bit better, it’s easy to use, and it’s dirt cheap. It’s also a breakthrough idea, so people are already getting a little excited about it. Joe unveils the new product on his company blog, and contacts a viral marketing agency that specializes in ‘gaming’ Digg. For $1000, he’s able to achieve top ranking for a few hours, and his idea is so good, that the free diggs start to flow. He receives a ton of traffic and inquiries through the site – and the users of the site are excited to have gotten a chance to read about his product – everyone is happy. On this day, Digg was a better place for its flaw (maybe Joe wasn’t that popular before this).
The snowballing effect isn’t necessary when there is enough money involved. Especially over time. It becomes negligable when the amount of paid diggers can exceed the amount of normal diggers—or more appropriately, diggers that bury the item. The “power diggers” as they’ve been dubbed would either leave, be bought at a higher price, or get lost in the shuffle. If I was a power digger I know which choice I’d take…
and situation B:
Situation B) Dave has come up with a crappy new service. It’s a blatant knock-off of things that already exist, and is poorly executed. He thinks just by dumping $1000 into the previously mentioned viral marketing company, he can make up for it with exposure. Guess what happens? He gets to the top of Digg – gets a ton of traffic, a couple hundred snarky comments, and no sales.
But Dave got to the top of Digg. I’m not saying GameDiggNow is all about ROI, it is just a possibility. And, with invenstors current state of blind optimism, I wouldn’t be surprised if a decent sum of money could be earned by GameDiggNow. Could a “highly optimized for conversion” site that made it to the top of Digg succeed just as well as a PPC campaign? I don’t know.
Scott also mentioned this:
Digg articles are binary – they either deserve to be there, or not. Fakers are easy to spot – and will pay for their transgression with negative exposure (and, no, any press is NOT good press). If the article is important enough – there is no harm to the system is giving it a boost up there, and then seeing if it floats. The beauty of it is that while it can create problems to have a democratic type style of ranking – it also creates an environment where everyone can also be an enforcer of the system’s integrity.
I disagree. The faking is getting much more subtle. If an article ‘deserves’ to be on the front page of digg or not is completely subjective. Just like the idea news can be relative. What’s news to me may or not be news to anyone else. You’ll see that in the comments there are trends—people being tired of all of the damn Ubuntu stories, Web 2.0 detractors, bloghaters, dupes, and old tutorials. Yet, these articles find their way to the front page.
The community will not be able to overcome it. Digging for the sake of digging is currently fueling the site, but when money is involved everything changes.
With the incentive of PPD the Digg userbase would grow exponentially. Lots of Casual Browsers become Paid Diggers.
Regardless of the controls put in place by Digg’s programming team, there is no way they can avoid Paid users. Even with measures like “account creation date” giving your Diggs more weight, it’s still insurmountable. That either makes the current older Diggers that much more valuable to GameDiggNow, or it makes the number of Diggs required for a front page story that much higher. I don’t see how that can be any clearer.
Even if GameDiggNow is a blank page—and I join a few IRC networks to and go to few piracy rooms and advertise a PPD session in one hour—$1-$5/digg (depending on your account’s age). This could be done completely on IRC or the Deep Web
However, Scott is right – as a business owner $1000 could be spent much MUCH better. Without tangible measurable results, the money is not worth spending. Influence, especially with the web, is very difficult to measure in terms of ROI.