Digg, at one time a superstar of the social news scene, has sold itself to Betanews for a rather paltry $500,000. That's not chump change, to be sure, but when sites and services like Instagram are trading hands for a billion dollars, well, half a million doesn't seem like much. It's a drop in the bucket compared to what Digg could have sold for just a few short years ago, before it was shoved aside by the likes of Facebook and Twitter in their rise to news sharing relevance.
Digg versus Reddit; Reddit versus Digg. Much could be written about the unfolding war for your attention that’s taking place on the battlegrounds of news aggregates come and gone. That was pretty poetic, wasn’t it? Look, here’s the raw deal: Whether you’re a Digg enthusiast, Reddit convert, or vice versa, there’s no reason why you should have to live your online life using the simple, raw tools that either site has provided for you.
No, there are plenty of unique tweaks and twists that you can build into your conventional Reddit/Digg experience—provided, of course, you’re rocking either Firefox or Chrome as your browser of choice. And if you’re using something else or, for that matter, using another site on the Internet for your daily news updates… well, you’re out of luck in this week’s Freeware Files.
So, for those that are left, get ready to see how you can kick your Reddit or Digg surfing to new levels of awesomeness (really, usability!) We’ve split the extensions/add-ons up by browser and by site, with a special little bonus in the end for anyone who sticks around that far.
To write about the death of Digg would be to step into a time machine, back to the late August launch of the fabled “Digg version 4” which singlehandedly managed to unwind nearly six years of continued growth and excitement in one, crappy swoop.
Here’s the real secret though: In Digg’s grand quest to somehow reinvent itself back to mainstream acceptance (a code phrase for “profitable traffic numbers”), the site’s various, changing overlords fail to recognize that the pin on the grenade has already been tossed to the floor. Amongst the geeks and the traffic-shapers (more on them later), Digg is irrelevant. Its power to toss tens of thousands of users to a give site or piece of content has been nerfed nearly as badly as its submission system.
Yet, we really only have ourselves to blame. We helped Kevin Rose create his monster and, in doing so, forever proved that you just can’t have direct democracy on the Web without some jackass(es) screwing it up. We broke Digg.
Just before the weekend, Digg ported its official app over to Android so that Droid, Nexus One, and every other Android-based smartphone owner can promote (or bury) articles using the same simple interface as the iPhone variant.
Digg's Android App lets users quickly view and sort through stories found on Digg.com. You'll find tabs for top, recent, and upcoming stories on Digg, and even the commenting interface is virtually identical to the one on the iPhone. Unfortunately, that's where the similarities end.
Unlike the iPhone app, you can't save articles in the Android version. You also can't push a button to share to Facebook or Twitter, or even have a Digg link open in Dolphin (or whatever browser you might be using, including Android's stock browser).
We gave the app a test run ourselves, and shortcomings aside, it's not a bad piece of software for keeping up with the day's top stories when on the go. You can find it in the Android Marketplace by searching for "Digg."
There is some good news for those of you still awaiting a true measure of Facebook's transcendence. The world's most popular social networking site generates 11 times more page views than first runner-up MySpace, according to Pingdom. Its monthly page view count is a truly vertiginous figure: 260 billion. Microblogging sensation Twitter is rated the fourth most popular social networking site on the planet in terms of page views.
Twitter's 4.4 billion monthly page views may make it look very small in comparison to the top three sites on the list – Facebook, MySpace (24 billion) and Hi5 (12 billion), but as correctly pointed out by Cnet's Caroline McCarthy, it is not the perfect yardstick for measuring Twitter's true reach. Social news aggregator occupies the tenth spot with 340 million monthly page views, twice as many as its rival Reddit.
Facebook has taken a pot shot at Digg’s URL popularity service. The social networking giant has upgraded its Share button to display sharing statistics.
The Share button has been around for quite some time and was one of the first Facebook Connect features. It has had overwhelming success in turning Facebook into one of the best to share popular internet content—effectively making services like Digg obsolete.
Facebook also opened all of the analytics associated with the sharing habits of its Facebook users. Inevitably, this will change the way advertisers and media publishers tailor their content to fit the interests of their respective demographics. “We hope you’ll create tools to help analyze and understand how users interact with your content on Facebook,” said Mark Kinsey on the Facebook developer blog about the new analytics.
This is yet one more step Facebook as taken to continue its headstrong effort on becoming the all-in-one solution to the internet. Do you use Facebook Share? Do you (or did you) use Digg?
They worked on integrating their “social voting” mechanism into sponsored ad placement to provide sponsors and users with a better advertising experience. The users can digg specific ads allowing them to travel up the flow of diggs. Each ad’s cost-per-click is adjusted based upon its number of diggs—higher cost for lesser (buried) diggs. The idea is to encourage advertisers to create ads that are worthwhile to the user, if the ad gets buried, it gets expensive, urging the sponsor to pull the ad down.
Maser boasted that the new platform proved effective, “so far we’ve already tripled our revenue forecast from this initiative.” An Intel sponsored blog earned a 2.2 percent click-through-rate, others earning close to 3 percent, compared with the average regular display ad on Digg earning about .08 percent.
Have you noticed the ads? Have you clicked on any, or Dugg any? Considering the web will likely always have ad sponsorship, what do you think of the new model?
uSocial is currently offering all the friends/fans packages at introductory prices. While 1,000 Facebook friends or fans can be bought for $177.30, the price for 5,000 friends is $654.30. The current cost of adding 10,000 fans is $1167.30. Although many doubt the worth of buying friends, uSocial founder Leon Hill claims his company delivers targeted friends. "We are getting, basically, targeted friends and fans who are saying, 'Yes, I want information on this,” he told the Associated Press in a phone interview.
How much is a Twitter account or Digg vote worth? uSocial.net thinks they have the answer to that question with a recently announced new service that will sell social media accounts or votes to companies or individuals having trouble doing it the old fashioned way. $87 USD buys you (or your company) 1,000 followers added over 7 days, or as many as 100,000 over a one year period for $3,479. It turns out money really can make you popular both online, and in real life.
I have to admit however, I find it somewhat doubtful that companies would find these “purchased masses” very responsive, and in fact, uSocial itself claims “we'll Tweet our followers three times a day, every day for a month to go and check out links directly to the content that you'd like promoted.” This type of ad spam would have any normal user searching frantically for the unfollow button, but it certainly points out how modern social media is just as vulnerable to abuse as telephones, or the post office.
uSocial.net is also responsible for launching a program last year that allowed companies to buy votes on Digg and StumbleUpon. Both companies have issued cease-and-desist orders to uSocial, which according to a statement from Digg, have been ignored.
Is this the ugly side of social networking? Let us know what you think.
Social news website Digg announced plans to take its news ranking system and apply the same concept to a new advertising platform. Called Digg Ads, you, the reader, will have greater control over which ads are displayed and which ones gets buried, the site says.
"The more an ad is Dugg, the less the advertiser will have to pay," Digg wrote in a blog. "Conversely the more an ad is buried, the more the advertiser is charged, pricing it out of the system."
Digg says the new ad platform will initially debut as a pilot program later this summer. The ads will appear next to stories in the river, with sponsored content taking on a similar look and feel to regular stories. However, the site says advertisements will be "clearly marked as sponsored."
According to Digg, this system represents a win-win proposition for both readers and advertisers, giving the former a way to control what content appears, and the latter real-time input on whether or not their products are relevant to the readership.