After listening to either an episode of This Week in Tech or Diggnation (not sure, probably both) where Kevin Rose talked about people trying to “game the system” by spamming diggs, I was curious about the motivation behind people trying to do that. What’s it worth to them?
So, I researched the Digg Effect, and came across lots of articles, but two really good ones stood out. First, Digg vs. Slashdot (or, traffic vs. influence) on kottke.org and second, The Digg Effect on hrmpf.com.
I wanted to know how much traffic we’re talking about and how much revenue someone could expect to get from making the digg homepage. Both articles come up with the same conclusion: digg sends traffic, but it doesn’t really gain you readers. The latter article even says how much he made from being dugg.
So, if being dugg doesn’t gain you long term readers, then the monetization can only be from the initial pop.
The “The Digg Effect” article was in reference to an article that was dugg titled, “Apple invents 1984’s telescreens, 22 years too late- Oh, the irony!” — The digg link is bad, but I found the original article here. It’s from January. The author later states that he made about $10 dollars from being dugg. I took a look at digg’s alexa graph, and since January, they’ve roughly doubled their traffic.
So, I say, being dugg is worth $20 dollars. Do you hear that Kevin? If you were unscrupulous, you’d mix ads in with the stories, but I don’t think you are, so I’m not worried about that.
Anyway, the initial articles both said that the digg effect was very short term. The kottke.org article talks about how slashdot traffic created a more sustained readership for him. The hrmpf.com article, well, I’m not sure if that was ever slashdotted, so take this with a grain of salt — I checked alexa’s daily pageviews for hrmpf.com, and noticed something. Before he was dugg, he was pretty much at baseline. After that, his traffic drops off to a small fraction of the digg-effect traffic, but it stays above baseline.
What I’m saying is, maybe he didn’t get 15,000 new readers, but quite possibly, he gained some, and that’s worth infinely more than actually being dugg.
If being dugg is worth $20 directly, well, there’s not much motivation to being dugg. If being dugg gets you a large number of incoming links and an increased readership, well, you’ve got the makings for some recurring revenue directly from your readers and an increased pagerank for more search traffic, both of which, over time, could be worth much more than $20 bucks.
I view making the homepage of digg as, well, nothing earth shattering, but definitely something that can help a small blog build a readership for the long term.
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