Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bury Brigade Buries Digg

Social Media Optimization is *the* buzzword for 2007. Countless webmasters, bloggers, SEOs, and PR professionals are obsessed with increasing visibility by optimizing their site for portals like Digg, Netscape, etc.

Bury Brigade

One of the more interesting phenomenon of the social media experience is the so called "bury brigade" at Digg. This theorized group of Diggers are blamed for burying stories based on a 'group think' mentality of what is right and what is wrong for Digg.

The most publicized effect of the run away bury brigade is their hatred of anything to do with SEO. In Danny Sullivan's article "Diggers Can't Handle The Truth (About SEO)" on Search Engine Land Danny discusses an article he did about Jason Calacanis and how that story was buried after 30 minutes merely for the fact that the article had to do with SEO. Many other SEO bloggers and webmasters have experienced similar kinds of burying at the hands of the run away bury brigade.

Free Advertising

I personally just released an article (not about SEO) which was Dugg by a top Digger and received nearly 163 Diggs on it's own merit before it was buried by the bury brigade. This is the second time this has happened. Now in and of itself this is a frustrating event, but when I think back to all the free advertising and links I've sent Digg I start to cringe.

For starters I sent out an email announcement to my customers alerting them that I was integrating social media links in with my site and mentioned Digg by name. Secondly, I include a Digg link on any article I produce and was even in the process of including a Digg link on some of our more tools based pages.

The user base for my site is extremely technical and a great target market for Digg. Because of our social media optimizations (including Digg links on articles) Digg has gotten a ton of free advertising on my site. What have I gotten in exchange? One article on the front page of Digg and a string of articles buried before they even had a chance.

When will the madness end?

My story is probably similar to a lot of people. As webmasters we obsess over increasing our site's visibility and view social media as one more outlet to make that happen. As part of its nature social media optimization includes free advertising and links for social media sites. When a group like the bury brigade starts to arbitrarily bury content because of group think mentality they start to threaten the relevancy of the site.

I for one am a little frustrated with all the free traffic and advertising I've given Digg, so I'm on the verge of removing every Digg link from my site and never mentioning them again. I'll find another social media site to focus my optimization efforts on and give them the benefit of the free advertising and links. Are you with me?

What can Digg do?

For starters Digg can be a little more helpful with webmasters. While users tend make their site great, publishers help make their site popular by spreading the word by optimizing for their site. Digg is a flash in the pan and however long their social media rule will reign it will one day end. Don't forget that the "Digg Effect" was originally the "Slashdot Effect".

Digg can prolong their popularity by offering support for webmasters in the same way that the major search engines do and by reigning in the bury brigade. While user driven headlines are a great tool, user driven buries can be arbitrarily unfair. The result is a bunch of ticked off webmasters not willing to send links and traffic to your site any more.

My dream for Digg is to unite their community of users and their currently underground community of publishers to help generate even more interesting content for Digg's readers. By primarily focusing on user driven issues and largely ignoring the publisher side Digg is turning their back on half of the equation that made them a great site to begin with. Great content.

#or at least links to great content anyways#

Digg this?

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