Do Small Bloggers Have A Chance With Digg?

By Steven Snell

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?



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56 Responses to “Do Small Bloggers Have A Chance With Digg?”

  • medyum

    I agree with you. About a year ago, I was a great fan of Digg, but they I found the stories boring because I already read them in my feed reader. Gradually, I stopped visiting Digg.

  • Sexy Social Marketing

    If most small bloggers wrote something of real interest, well researched, keyword optimized, blog optimized, something revolutionary, that no one had ever heard of before, that would help all other bloggers and bring any blogger that read the post better search rankings and more traffic, then…… They still wouldn’t make the front page either!

  • Loup Dargent

    Even if you get votes for the story you’ve submitted to Digg, you can’t even be sure that it will show in the search! Happened a few times, the last time being my article/story regarding a campaign from a charity that wants to raise awareness about deaf and hard of hearing people’s situation. It hasn’t been buried, it got votes but doesn’t show in search results unless you click “include buried stories”… A very crafty way to make sure no-one reads it, methinks!

    Thank you Digg for your (lack of) kindness! 🙁

    So nope, small bloggers don’t stand a chance on Digg…

    Mixx is much more open minded, as long as you contribute
    stories/articles/stuff from other sources too and not just
    from your own sites/blogs.

    Oh yeah, and the Mixx groups are cool! 🙂

  • Hafiz Dhanani

    As you mentioned there’s the option of buying Diggs. One could use Subvert and Profit to do this. Unfortunately, because of the Digg algorithm changes it could take more Diggs to make the front page. Then there’s also the question of the quality of traffic from Digg, although I think that’s a small issue.

  • Chip

    No they don’t.

    When I was a small blogger, a while ago (not that long, actually), I joined a network of reciprocal diggers. Not really correct, but that was the way they fought the system.

    We used to digg about 3 articles per day from each other, sometimes (not very often) our articles got the front page, but not the first result, spikes were somewhat smaller, but, overall, it was working. It helped us build some traffic.

  • harknell

    Digg, like all of the other vote based submit sites has become a “game” system. Any system of that nature has logical rules that can be followed to “win”, and people have discovered those rules. As a result if you are not “playing” the game you have little chance to win. In this case playing requires you to have a team of people who follow a methodical pattern of adding diggs at a certain pace to your articles in order to drive them to the main page. This is essentially how all of the pay services that claim to get you on the main page work. It also helps if you have unpaid help in the case of having an already large audience who will vote you up anyway.

    The concept of democratic merit based exposure is a myth and is gone the second the rules are understood by those who wish to “play”.

  • Video Games

    You do have a valid point. If I only have 1000 readers on my blog, and 10% digg my story, I’m still no where near a blog with 1,000,000 readers and only 1% digg the story.

    So even if my content is better, I don’t stand a chance. The only alternative is to become a big blog. But then again, everyone wants that.

  • Tony Adam

    I don’t think people have an “equal opportunity” per-say on Digg anymore, but I do feel that smaller blogs do have a chance of making it to the home page if they do have a large circle of friends on there and also know 1-2 of the top diggers.

    I am using mixx a lot more though to be honest…

  • Tibi Puiu

    Digg is a totalitarian portal nowadays, if the dudes upfront don’t find your content “worthy” they’ll bury you, although you may have a remarkable post on your hands. Don’t get me started on all the losers and haters out there. Sick and full of digg’s bullshit, stumbleupon and mixx are the future now 😀

  • DJ

    I think I have to agree too. I’ve never been able to get many Diggs. Even with articles that go crazy on Thoof or Stumble, I can never get beyond a few diggs. I’ve read that you need to get at least 20 diggs within the first few minutes to even be noticed.

    I think the reason people have been getting buried is because they are trying to get over this initial hump by having the same people digg their articles. They post an article and then have several people digg them. If the system were fairer to newer blogs, I doubt people would try to defeat their system.

  • Rob

    I have several small “Fun Blogs” and by pure accident I had an article hit on DIGG, Google and another bookmark site. They drove me lots of traffic and I really did enjoy the ride. However my niches are so small and competitve I quickly got buried by the “Pros” on Digg and the other site. It never really bothered me since I just write for fun but I could see the frustration if someone was really trying to build traffic and readers.
    My blogs now get all of thier traffic from Google Searches and Stumblers. I compared the stats and found that readers who “Found” me where far far more likely to comeback than ones I got from Digg and BlogExplosion type sites. The tough and humbling thing to remember for a new rookie blog is having to wait 3 to 6 months for readers to actually find you.

  • Eden

    I get most of my traffic from Stumbleupon.com (speaking as a small blogger).

    I actually stopped using Digg over the past year or so. It just isn’t the same anymore. Stumbleupon feels more like a helpful community and I subscribe to about 100 more blogs now than I used to and that takes away the need for sites like Digg for the most part in my mind.

  • Suresh Chowhan

    “I believe this leaves small bloggers with only a few options, some of which Digg itself does not approve.”

    I am agree with this statement. Many people use Digg to generate traffic and build links.

  • monkeyleader

    Great post – as usual.

    I think 2008 could see the dramatic end of Digg to be honest. Given that it has now diluted its tech feed with random off-beat stuff I’m finding it harder and harder to useful information.

    At the end of the day even if I don’t use Digg to find something useful, the chances are someone else on my blog chain will have and I’ll pick it up there.

    Digg used to be my first port of call every morning – now I check it when I can be bothered, especially as if you leave it for any more than 24 hours you have around 1000 stories to get through, 998 of which are utter dross.

    Digg = Down.

    Nige

  • affiliate

    Small blog must try different ways to get more exposure and to build a community that will help them to get more vote in digg.
    Create high quality content, comment big player blogs, write different posts to different blogs will help small blog to win the digg game.
    Many times peope digg posts because they trust the major player.

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