Leo Laporte Changes His Digg Feed, Starts to “Get It”

Over the last week there has been a lot of criticism aimed at Digg.com and some of the publisher accounts and celebrities who are getting their news to the Top News section of Digg ahead of higher-quality content. Leo Laporte has been at the center of much of the criticism as his Google Buzz updates and podcasts have flooded the front page over the last week.

Mr Laporte, I owe you some kudos.

Today, Laporte switched his feeds of podcasts and Google activity to his Delicious feed. While this may not seem as natural as manual submissions, it’s a huge step in the right direction as he must actively bookmark stories to his Delicious account for them to appear on the page.

In other words, he is manually vetting and selecting stories that he finds interesting rather than feeding everything that Leo likes about Leo.

The result? A digging and submitting pattern much closer and more manual than anything other major recommended accounts are doing. Did Leo Laporte just go from public enemy #2 (sorry, Reddit is still #1) to hopefully the trendsetter that other major accounts should follow? We’ll see soon enough.

FINALLY a Mashable Story That Didn’t Front Page on Digg… Oh

After getting 20 stories to the front page of Digg through their publisher’s account (often with less than 30 Diggs prior to promotion), Mashable finally seems to have struck out. There’s a story that has nearly 200 Diggs at the 11 hour mark. Does this mean that Digg is finally being fair with its algorithm, or is there a certain level of mysterious timing with this particular story not hitting:

Wait, NOW you’re going to make Mashable get more than 20 Diggs before hitting the front page? Come on, Digg. The only thing you have going for you right now is consistency.

C:\Users\JD Rucker\Pictures\Blog Pics\Mashable_Didn’t_Hit.png

For Digg, Helping Big Sites Was “Just Business”

If you’re a publisher who doesn’t hate the New Digg, chances are you’re already getting enough traffic to where a Digg front page is barely a blip on your radar. You’re being rewarded for being huge. Digg needs you more than you need Digg.

Sadly, that’s where Digg has gone.

The fact that Digg has been mostly a failure from a business perspective over the last 5 years prompted the dramatic and (almost) universally hated version 4. The idea was to put the power that Digg wields (for now) into the hands of the big publishers. If you generate tremendous traffic, you’re Digg’s new best friend and will have the best opportunity to be rewarded with more traffic.

It’s just business. It’s nothing personal. Digg was born based upon Kevin Rose’s desire to “give the power to the people.” Unfortunately for Digg, “the people” were AdBlock+ using cynics who scoff at attempts by websites to make money. It’s not an insult to the Digg community. It’s simply the truth.

Firefox and AdBlock+ are used on Digg more than most sites. Statistics show that over 50% of the Digg community is using Firefox and likely AdBlock+, a revenue-killer that has hurt tech sites for the last couple of years.

Believe it or not, it makes sense for Digg to appeal to major publishers. Digg has been the sender of traffic for years. Why not be the recipient? That was the premise.

The problem (which will hopefully be fixed this week) is that Digg users generally do not like their content to be auto-submitted. The idea of human curation is the premise upon which Digg was built. Things become popular because the right submitter found the content and the community liked it.

That isn’t the case with the new Digg.

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The Digg Debacle in One Graph

6 publishers and 1 “celebrity” have controlled the Digg Top News section for the past 3 days. This story over at Media Caffeine called Digg: The Broken Covenant (aka Selling Out to “The Man”) gives a clear indication that the shortcomings of Digg v4 go well beyond the bugs, beyond the fake positive press, and beyond the end of content curation.

It’s uglier than we thought.

Digg is Down

*** UPDATE: Digg is back up, now ***

After reports yesterday that Digg has ceased taking new registrants and speculation that Digg v4 was on its way, the site went down today with an error.

In past instances of planned an even unplanned outages, Digg has always put up a “be back soon” page with links to other sites. As of now, that is not the case. Instead, it’s showing an error that reads, “Http/1.1 Internal Server Error 11″.

A source at Digg confirmed yesterday that the New Digg would not be going live this weekend so it is likely some sort of unforeseen error associated with testing or migration.

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The New Digg: A Shift in the Balance of Power

In lieu of getting into a debate about political analogies, I will make one clear statement: Digg has never been a true democracy and the new Digg does not change this.

What “The New Digg” does do is redistribute the power that is currently in the hands of hundreds of users and a couple dozen websites and divides that power to more websites and much, much fewer users.

“But wait! I thought the new Digg would make it to where everyone’s Digg is counted equally? I thought every user will have the power that was unlawfully taken from them by power users.”

On the contrary, the new Digg will make many current “power users” impotent while opening the doors for 2 new breeds of power users. I will detail them below by breaking them into the 3 branches of Digg government. [Read more...]