Dear Digg – Please Ban My Site

Dear Digg

I have built up my blog to quite a large readership by writing in depth thoughtful articles.

To be honest, I am writing this not for the traffic I haven’t received, but because the stories I write about often need a different perspective, or the companies I write about are newsworthy.

Maybe my site for some reason is on autobury, though I have no idea why that might be the case. Whilst my site does cover marketing and SEO related content sometimes, I wouldn’t dream of encouraging that content to be submitted to Digg in any way.

However when I write about other topics, such as various social networks, often my coverage covers a lot more angles than is normally presented on many technology blogs. I rarely get press releases sent to me, so all the content is 100% original material based on real usage.

Take for example MyBlogLog

They are actually a competitor of Blogcatalog, a company I do some minor consulting with, but I still have more in depth coverage of everything to do with MyBlogLog than any other site, including their own blog.

I wrote an article yesterday that was a little critical of the service and their new lifestreaming, but it was constructive. I doubt anyone from the MyBlogLog team would bury it.

Whilst I was asleep, someone submitted my story to Digg
http://digg.com/software/MyBlogLog_Social_Activity_Time_Line_Disappoints

Honestly you couldn’t beg for a worse description for the story, but whilst I was asleep it gathered votes, and when I woke up I notice a small amount of traffic in my stats.

I took a glance at Digg, and I saw that there were 29 votes for the story already, and only one of the votes was from someone on my friends list. I am not a highly active Digg user, but I am a well known blogger with a large following, thus I attract friends, many of which I have not reciprocated.

I know many of the Digg top users casually mainly through other social network, but whilst at times many have been mutual friends with me on Digg, they know I am not a frequent user, thus sometimes I get removed from their friends list. I don’t look at that as any kind of negative vote – the Digg interface currently is a little awkward if you have more than 100 mutual friends listed, and it is much better to be friends with active users.

However the people voting on the story were unknown to me.

I delved a little deeper and looked at previous articles about MyBlogLog on Digg. The last story about them that went popular was over 1 year ago, and that was when Shoemoney was banned.

The only story to come close since then was an interview with the MBL product manager on Collective-Thoughts.com, a blog where I am also the author.

That story had some great insight into the future of MyBlogLog, and for some reason, as commented by Digg user BartTheBear

Apparently not in Digg. It got buried in 2 hours flat.
What the heck happened?

Maybe there is some kind of keyword blocking on the term “MyBlogLog” – there is certainly lots of spam on Digg with stories using the word, from blogs that for some stupid reason submit every one of their articles to Digg – probably just for backlinks.

It is also possible that some people monitor specific terms to bury articles about specific topics, or specific sites. That would probably then class as abuse and would be something for Digg management to look into.

I delved back through every story submitted about MyBlogLog in the last year.

Digg Please Ban My Site

If you have decided my blog isn’t suitable for whatever reason for a Digg audience, please just ban me totally – honestly it is misleading your users if they think they can vote for a story because they honestly think it is newsworthy, and for some algorithm or black flag to automatically determine the news isn’t news because it is from my domain.

Unlike most, I have come to realise I don’t mind being black flagged, but if I am in some way black flagged, make it real – tell people that content from my site isn’t worthy of a Digg audience.

Hidden Penalties Are Deceptive

As previously stated, I am writing this on behalf of the sites I write about and my users. I grew to 3000+ subscribers for this blog without any articles reaching the Digg front page, and without gaming social media.
It would be nice for the sites I write about to gain some additional exposure when they have something newsworthy to write about, but above all I am sick of people voting for my content knowing the votes are worthless.

Update

I made a rare exception and submitted this article myself to Digg as I thought that would be the best way to “reach out” about this situation. I didn’t think it was appropriate for someone else to submit it on my behalf.

Update 2

Buried

Buried

I wonder if anyone on the Digg staff even read the article?

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Comments

  1. says

    That is unfortunate that a social news website would have to take measures such as these per request of a user. Especially when the author is creating quality content, not submitting articles that are bury-worthy.

    • says

      The closest was breaking the PageRank penalties for lots of top blogs last October.

      I was the top story on Techmeme, and linked to from 300-400 blogs, but the story was buried in 2 hours at 70 votes, but still went on to gain around 150.

      The title was a little provocative, “Digg Favorites Slapped By Google” but the list of sites included half of Weblogs Inc, Forbes etc, I think that title was justified.

      But no, I have never had a story front page on Digg – but that isn’t really the point.

      Digg is meant to be democratic, and they have now stated they don’t manually moderate, it is all algorithm.

      Fair enough, though algorithms can make mistakes. A high percentage of the comments I leave get caught in Akismet, yet I am not a comment spammer, and when I link to someone, it is a real link referencing them.

      I just don’t want people to waste their time in future – if Digg don’t want my content, I am happy with that, but don’t deceive my readers into thinking they are somehow helping me by promoting my stories on a service that doesn’t want my content.

  2. says

    Andy, I understand that my question isn’t the total point though given the quality of your posts and often times you provide objective analysis that others are afraid to write about, it would seem that over time you would have shown up. I realize it isn’t conclusive evidence to say that because you have never made it to the home page that are somehow being penalized, however given the nature of your content, it certainly is relevant to what you are saying.

    • says

      Digg isn’t about getting traffic, it is about sharing great news stories.
      If that happens to be on my blog or someone elses blog it doesn’t matter. I have submitted stuff that has sent 100,000 visitors to someone else’s site.

      For me there is no difference between a story of mine gaining 1000 or 100,000 views, what matters is that something that is news “gets out there” to people who are interested in it.

      I would honestly be more than happy even if someone grabbed or ripped off one of my articles and got a front page Digg on another site. At least the point of view would be expressed, however remotely.

  3. sharky says

    I never realized how “cliquey” DIGG has become, until I started to visit it on a daily basis. A well-known writer can develop over 1,000 diggs in the first 24 hours for even the crappiest of stories – and it sits on the “HOT” feature page. Nowadays, everyone votes just because they know the site, or ‘of’ the writer. It seems that ‘fans’ are now just pedantically clicking for fear of ‘not clicking’.

    Don’t get me wrong – DIGG is a great site for finding new content and stories. But I’m becoming ‘Digg-Blind’ and realize that the number of DIGGS has absolutely nothing to do with a particular article’s solidness, merit, and more importantly – it’s creativeness. Digg is starting to remind me of a schoolbus with all the cool kids sitting at the back, or how you look at all the people sitting in the first class of an airplane, and you (in coach) have to walk past them first.

    —Sharky

  4. says

    Digg should bury itself. Sheesh.

    I like how you explain you’re not in it for the traffic, it’s about spreading great knowledge. Unfortunately, Diggs can happen simply because someone thinks a headline is cool (doesn’t read content) or some buddy sent a shout to 10,000 friends who will vote it up so that buddy will keep them on the friend list…or something like that.

  5. says

    This post is classic, funny, and true!

    One thing that bothers me about DIGG is all the red tape you have to fill out to digg something. They really should figure something else out.

    Cool post Andy.

  6. says

    I have ditched digg in favor of presscue, and I am really happy with it.

    It allows for anonymous posting, voting, and commenting, which for me is great because I hate signing up for new services.

  7. says

    Hi Andy,

    I am really sorry to hear this has happened to you. It took 17 submissions from my site before I realised that myself and my friends were wasting a lot of time and effort.

    Auto-bury for blacklisted URLs usually occurs between 20-25 diggs. I had a rather public falling out with digg as a result and have discovered that it is in fact quite common.

    Anyway I can help let me know, you may like to read this:

    http://howtowritefortheweb.blogspot.com/2008/02/my-war-with-diggcom.html

    • says

      Matt for me it is very much a black or white situation

      I really don’t want Digg users wasting their time, however infrequently, digging a story that will end up autoburied.

      If my content isn’t allowed to go popular, I would much prefer it to be prevented from submission.

  8. says

    The digg founder you never hear about read this (and empathizes). Don’t know about digg staff, since I no longer work there.

    It actually seems like a reasonable feature request, letting sites ban themselves from digg.

  9. says

    This is an unfortunate situation. There must be an alterbative to using DIGG. Digg really needs to be sorted out, so much red tape.

  10. says

    Digg has flat out denied the existence of auto-bury in the recent Townhall meeting although I still see instances of it happening to many sites. Should we give them the benefit of the doubt and keep trying? It’s hard to say. On the other hand, what evidence can we muster against them to confirm that hidden penalties exist?

    Whatever evidence we have will not be definitive because their system is set up in a way whereby buries are not transparent. I.E Hidden factors can influence the visibility of stories. It’s very easy for Digg to suggest that the story was buried by users, and indeed that’s usually the response I get when I email Digg.

    I’m irritated that my site is on the list as well although I don’t really care too much about it. I don’t think its a waste of time that people are voting and submitting your stuff…not every article has the opportunity to reach the frontpage although in the process of getting buried, you may get a few visitors in return.

    Is that worth it? Maybe.

  11. says

    I read somewhere else–I can’t remember which blog, but it was another popular one about web marketing and earning money online–and he was writing about how he thought he was on autobury too.

    I have to be honest about Digg. It’s just getting kind of creepy over there. It can’t be counted on to deliver traffic. It’s such a fickle environment. They play favorites over there. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about the site.

    But look at you, 3000 subscribers without digg. that goes to show you what good content will do for you. who needs digg?

    • says

      Tad I am aware of the block Digg code, but that doesn’t help the situation. It doesn’t prevent a story being submitted.

      I am fully aware Digg doesn’t want to read about marketing or SEO, but there is a whole load of news I highlighted in my article which is Digg worthy, from multiple sources, not just my blog.

  12. says

    Stop crying because your stories don’t get on digg’s frontpage. Now because your blog posts didn’t get on its frontpage, you write a blog ‘asking to get blocked’ as a last ditch effort to FINALLY get dugg.

    I have seen some lame things in my day, but wow.

    • says

      You obviously didn’t read the article

      Nothing related to MyBlogLog has made it to the Digg front page in over a year – I feel that is pretty significant considering all the news items that have been written about them, not just on my blog but Techcrunch , ReadWriteWeb and others.

      What they are doing with the social web is interesting, and their API is very powerful.

      At the same time I would love something to do with Blogcatalog to have made it because they have also got an interesting API and activity stream fetures, but Digg would prefer fabricated top 10 lists rather than news.

      I could delve into news of other services I cover, this was just the most recent.

      If news related to these services is going to be buried by an algorithm, then why waste people’s time even allowing them to be submitted to Digg.

    • says

      Did you know that comment spam by people who didn’t even bother to read the article is frowned upon around here?

      Whilst my site does cover marketing and SEO related content sometimes, I wouldn’t dream of encouraging that content to be submitted to Digg in any way.

      However when I write about other topics, such as various social networks, often my coverage covers a lot more angles than is normally presented on many technology blogs. I rarely get press releases sent to me, so all the content is 100% original material based on real usage.

  13. Dom Parker says

    I’m sorry, but this post did seem a little bit of a whine.

    Maybe there is the possiblity that there is no ‘auto-bury’ like Digg has said, and your stories just aren’t quite front page Digg worthy. Have you considered that?

  14. says

    Maybe there is the possiblity that there is no ‘auto-bury’ like Digg has said

    Dom, if you’re not a doctor, please don’t try to open up people. They’ll die!

  15. says

    I had no idea it was so political. Here I thought it was actually users voting for stories that they truly thought were newsworthy. I guess this happens wherever there is a chance for power to be had. Once someone gets that feeling, of being powerful over others, it becomes very intoxicating. Oh well, people will still find you! :)

    • says

      Eric I think it sucks more for the guys I cover like MyBlogLog, Blogcatalog, PayPerPost etc than it does for me, as they are the ones not gaining exposure, or in the case of PPP unbiased reporting in other places.

      As an example the MBL API is seriously cool, but no article about it has made Digg popular – Kent’s one I think only received single figure Diggs.

      I don’t know anyone directly at Digg (SF is a long way from Poland), but even the people who do don’t seem to be able to get these issues cleared up… in much the same way we can’t get Google to come clean on many things.

  16. says

    Digg is not that type of Social bookmark that i like,. In fact last 2 weeks ago I also said at my blog that I hate Digg. But this is the first post that I saw saying his site to be banned..

    That is great.. And I like you mention that you achieve 3000 readers without gaming the social Bookmark site.

    That is something to be proud of.

    Happy blogging

  17. says

    Hi Andy,

    I am a bit confused. Is your point that Digg seems to autobury your articles? Or, is your point that Digg seems to autobury stories related to certain other social media sites like MBL and MBC? Or, is your point that Digg’s new algorithm has too many inherent hidden penalties to make it worth using?

    Your last statement seems a bit rye.

    but above all I am sick of people voting for my content knowing the votes are worthless.

    Are you saying that your readers votes are worthless unless they propel your article to Digg’s front page? Are you saying that only Digg’s front page has value and no other aspect of Digg has any value?

    I like your blog and have learned a lot by reading it. I am a bit surprised by this post. It seems as if you are saying that unless you are one of the popular kids you do not want to play.

    Good luck. I am not sure this post will have the effect on your readers, Digg, or your reputation that you may have expected.

    • says

      It used to be a case that people using Digg would look at a collective page of the stories their friends had submitted or voted on.

      Now with the new Digg design, that view is almost useless, and the majority of Diggers I know look at the upcoming page sorted by most Diggs.

      If a story gets buried or autoburied, it is removed from upcoming, so many Dig users won’t see it, even if they are friends.

      In addition, because many Digg users know this is how it works, they won’t even bother to vote for articles they enjoy, because they know that the content won’t be seen anyway – all they will be doing by voting is accelerating its demise.

      • says

        Digg’s environment is a bit acidic for me. So, I have not made a priority of using the site. However, I think I understand your point.

        From what you are describing, it seems that Digg once had more of a group emphasis. Where as now it has more of a site emphasis. Causing a bit of a clash of cultures. I can see how the change in emphasis would make some users feel disenfranchised, devaluing their participation.

        As I said, I do not use Digg. But, I think i understand your perspective now.

  18. says

    Good luck. I am not sure this post will have the effect on your readers, Digg, or your reputation that you may have expected.

    This is the biggest error you made in your article. Do you really think that by even writing such lines Andy’s audience or reputation would go down the drain ?

    It’s a no-brainer. if you ever want to look smart, you leave things discoverable by readers, not state them out-loud. if you did that, then .. well .. there are no brains involved.

    Moreover, Andy just blogs about things he likes or dislikes. And since he’s an Internet marketer like most of other guys around the web, he especially deals with websites like Digg.

    IMHO, the Digg team have been pushed so many times by their own users because they made mistakes. The fact that they have an internal auto-bury filter is so obvious by many of us.

    They probably, in their own meeting place talked and made it to get rid of spamming websites.

    Our problem is that they auto-catalogue anything from the SEO/SEM field as SPAM simply because we know web tricks and sometimes know how to get ahead of others.

    Now there’s the BS. And it’s not Andy’s BS.

    I hope this sums it up.

    • says

      Crisitian,

      Please do not misunderstand my comment. It is not an attack on Andy. I have a lot of respect for him. I was simply pointing out that certain aspects of the post could be misconstrued and may not have the desired affect. Unfortunately, for many, perception is fact.

      Do you really think that by even writing such lines Andy’s audience or reputation would go down the drain ?

      Absolutely not.

  19. says

    Andy, you should talk to Tamar Weinberg. Maybe she can help you with Kevin Rose.

    She had her own grievances with him a little while back!

    As far as MBL goes there is an interesting thing on the horizon, just keep an eye on it. ;-)

  20. quakefiend says

    I've never made it even close to the front page on Digg. I've gotten some decent traffic from it though, so I hope I don't get banned..

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Dear Digg, Please Ban my Site Andy Beard boldly writes a post as an open letter to Digg requesting to be banned. I don’t think they have banned him yet, it’s far too much traffic to their site! [...]