It sort of amuses me actually. Why? I personally wasn’t surprised after noting some of the same type of issues myself. First and foremost, digg is a great technology IF if was user driven and forced to the front page because of user interaction. For the most part, it is and that’s what makes it great. But there is a underlying elitism involved.
While many stories are not part of the Digg elite submissions, ForeverGeek has noted that those that are submitted by certain individuals are automatically digged by certain individuals including Kevin Rose, one of the Digg founders. The FG screenshots tell a telling tale.
Subsequently, the FG articles that were submitted about this strange elitism were immediately banned and the accounts of the users that submitted the articles were told not to do “negative Digg” articles in order to retain their accounts. Any link to ForeverGeek is also banned.
Now for the amusing part. Why is there this artificial inflation? Even more so, is there money behind this inflation of getting certain stories to the front page. This is all speculation, but there is definitely a want for guerilla marketing in the world. Just look at Sony’s failure at running graffiti type ads for the PSP. It would definitely be a wonder if certain stories get pushed because you either invested in Digg, or have some ties to the users, or even pay a hefty sum to push a product. We all know that there was VC investment in Digg as a corporation, but for what? What exactly would VCs be gaining from a technology based news service? And we all know that the Google Adsense probably isn’t paying the bills…
Again, it is great technology and perhaps it was given some boosts originally. But with articles in all the major technology magazines, you would assume that Digg founders would have pulled this quietly. Hmm, let’s ponder that marketing/VC angle again…
UPDATE (3:22PM): It looks like the Sp1tf1re has been removed. Strange. Also, Kevin Rose responds.
What I love most about this? Go back and look at FG’s screenshot 1 and screenshot 2. Then read the quote:
On a personal note: It has been pointed out that I too have dugg these fraud stories. I digg stories I enjoy reading and currently track over 40 users within digg. If it’s good content, I digg it.
Umm. A little word of advice. When your digg just happens to be exactly between yobonicap and idean360 in both stories, it’s very suspicous. The fact that you’re in the first 20 users in basically the same spot both times? Would tell anyone that has done any administrative work or been an op in an IRC channel can tell that there was a script or bot of some sort involved. Thus, I’m still sticking with my assumptions that Digg is being sold as a virile marketing network. And until someone says otherwise, this definitely solidifies my hypotheses that Kevin Rose in the midst of it all.
(UPDATE 3:54PM): One more thing. Kevin Rose definitely nailed it shut on his involvement. He’s trying to pin the banning of FG on FG!
The banning of forevergeek.com: Aside from the dozens of user reports, several accounts were created to artificially inflate the digg count of their stories. When a single URL hits a threshold of reports, our standard procedure is to block that URL from submission (spam control). Again, mass fraud digging is in violation of our terms of service.
Take a look here at the list of ForeverGeek articles that were dugg. Most are perhaps 2-14 diggs. A quick glance shows that there are more single digit diggs than double digit. If there was fraudulent accounts involved, would there be so many single digit diggs? Having administrated many servers and having been an op in IRC channels, I would say no. Scripts/Bots don’t have sophisticated AIs tied to randomly choose what you wish to do… at least usually. And most people don’t go through the trouble of making things look real when it comes to cheating at anything. It’s just a fact. That’s why majority of cheaters get caught. Taking a short-cut is a lot more difficult than doing it right the first time.
In any case, it goes to show that things can hurt even worse if you start pointing fingers. Just suck it up and deal. Digg is still a good tool, but if you’re doing what we think you’re doing: FESS UP! Because the more you try to spin it, the more people are going to peer at your site with a microscope, and you’d be surprised what bored people can come up with in a short amount of time.
In the end, what exactly is missing? I believe that both Kevin and his partner are looking to be the brains behind a great project. But since there’s venture capital behind this, they have to run a business. This is where the analogy of Apple comes in handy. They bascally wish to be the Woz of Digg. What they need is a Jobs for Digg that can run the spin and manage the business side of things. Is Digg dead? Definitely not. But the way they’re handling the PR for this subject has hurt them more than help. Get the spotlight off of you. Sometimes that just means keeping silent. Kevin’s response above has allowed more of Digg to be peered at under the microscope. And when things don’t add up… well, you see what happened.
UPDATE (7:14PM): Was dugg. hah. Reading comments leads me to believe people can’t read. So I’m going to elaborate on the scripting for those that are kind of slow. The evidence shows (if you count left to right) in both pictures that kevinrose falls between the two names I mentioned (yobonicap and idean360). Idean360 is still around but yobonicap is not. The chance that you dig both stories, both times, before and after same people? Very unlikely. That would mean you’re sitting there waiting for your “turn” to digg. Notice that I didn’t mention anything about the number of people or the count of diggers.
In any case, the digg made 294 last count. While it’s not on the front page anymore, and you can’t “search” for it, you can still digg it here. I find it amusing that there are at least 290+ people out there that agree there is something at least to be looked at, and a whole bunch of others that have nothing better to do than to go around and mouth indecent language because of whatever insecurity they’re dealing with. Good for you Otto. We’re glad we could help you get it off your chest.