Did Digg Just “Bait & Switch” Twitter Users?
UPDATE: This image speaks for itself:
UPDATE: Leo Laporte had Digg co-founder Kevin Rose on his show and asked him about this. You can see it on Twit Live – the Diggbar discussion starts at the 11:26 mark. Here is an excerpt:
- (Laporte gives Rose the background from an article on Techcrunch)
- Laporte: Is that true?
- Rose: That’s a good question.
- Laporte: You don’t know?
- Rose: I’ve been gone for 2 weeks so I don’t know what got pushed, what code got pushed and how it functions but my last understanding is that what we wanted to do is have it so that if you click on a Digg URL it takes you to the Digg stories so you can Digg it. Rather than providing a short URL service that just forwards and does redirection we would just do a URL service just for Digg articles. Just like the same way that Techcrunch does “techcrunch slash 85374” – if you go to that you’re not going to go to some other site you’re going to go to techcrunch. That’s the story.
- Laporte: So you’re backing off on the original idea which is a general URL shortening service…
- Rose: Correct.
UPDATE: Digg has confirmed via email that this is not a mistake and the shortener is working as intended.
UPDATE: Let Digg know how you feel through Twitter. Send an @digg via @socialnews reply and your tweets will be posted here as well.
No word from Digg regarding this. No blog post. No onsite message. No reply to a recent email. They dropped it in and now it appears that they’re seeing if it sticks.
I’m still holding onto hope that it’s a mistake and not a conscious choice.
“I supported Digg and my buddies and willingly retweeted their stuff when Digg forwarded to the content because I knew it benefited BOTH parties,” he said. “Digg users got Diggs from my Digg followers and Twitter users and zombies got content.”
Here is the thread as he tested the change through his 75k+ followers. It’s in reverse chronological order.
Andrew Sorcini, the most prolific Digg user as MrBabyMan, said, “Sending someone who visits a site via a Digg URL automatically to the submission page on Digg will seriously hamper the functionality of Diggbar as a URL shortening service.”
When Digg removed the internal “Shout” feature and integrated with Twitter and Facebook, users flocked to these sites as a way to spread their content. The Diggbar URL shortener attached to the these new share options allowed users to Tweet content they found on or submitted to Digg. Sending unauthenticated clicks to the landing page has forced many to abandon using Diggbar altogether.
“I won’t be tweeting Digg links anymore. The majority of my followers on twitter are not diggers,” said Matthew Rogers, a Digg user with a 55% front page percentage. “When they click a link to read something I’ve tweeted, they expect to be taken to the page I’ve described, not Digg.”
Private chat rooms have been buzzing about this since Mackey’s find. Dozens of top users have been looking for an alternative URL shortener.
There seems to be three possible explanations for this move:
- It’s an error. I emailed Digg to bring it to their attention, just in case.
- It’s a test. Digg is known to make potential features live for a period of time to collect data. This would explain the lack of a blog post regarding the change.
- It’s a “bait and switch”. They see the popularity of the Diggbar shortener as an opportunity to get non-users to visit the site, most notably from Twitter.
If it turns out to be #3 and this is made permanent, it will be the end of Diggbar’s usefulness on Twitter. Self-respecting users will not spam their followers with links to a landing page.
Diggbar as a shortener has been successful up until now. It has nice features including traffic counts and an ability to shorten a URL from the navigation bar by simply typing “digg.com/” before the target URL. The convenience of a Twitter button on the story page has helped it to grow.
If this sticks, the growth is over. Digg’s URL shortener will no longer be a player in the crowded field.
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Read more news about Digg at Social News Watch.