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CNET Gets it Wrong about Digg Optimization

I’m normally a fan of Elinor Mills stuff on CNET, but her story about the manipulation of Digg is just wrong, wrong and wrong.

The article basically discusses how marketers are using Digg to promote their company. This social media marketing is no different to search engine marketing, and those that try to get stories on the front page of Digg still need to provide quality content, or the community will bury it.

It’s not a scam or spam, yet Elinor refers to the practice in the same way SEO used to be discussed, a few years back. She refers to the “scammers” and “spammers” who are out to game Digg.

And how would you define a “splog”. I certainly would not use this description…

Some marketers offer “content generation services,” where they sell stories to Web sites for the sole purpose of getting them submitted to Digg and other sites. This combination of spam and blogs is called “splogs.” The stories often feature topics and keywords in headlines that are likely to appeal to the Digg crowd, such as “geeks” and “Apple.”

That’s not a splog, that’s creating valuable content that others will bookmark, or Digg. It may be “linkbaiting”, but to suggest they are splogs is wrong.

And right after Neil Patel explains the legitimacy of the practice, Elinor adds…

Another way to get Web links to a suspicious site is to get inside help from users at a social media site. For instance, spammers have tried to infiltrate Digg to build up reputations and promote stories for marketers, experts say.

There are always a few rotten eggs in every industry, but let’s not make the same mistake that was made about SEO, and start labeling everyone as a spammer.

  • http://www.deepjiveinterests.com Tony

    The word “spam” is often tossed it around pretty loosely these days; however, I think you can agree that Nial Kennedy’s walk through of how a Dental Site was using a post about Geek Weight Loss tips was clearly designed with nothing in mind BUT to be link/Digg bait.

    No one would argue with the legitimacy of getting on-blog topics onto Digg, I think, but I don’t think that’s what she’s talking about.

    As for your last quote, I think her suggestion is even more malicious than “spamming”, because its done from the inside the system.

    I’m sure anyone who knows Digg knows that higher ranked Diggers –> people who have lots of friends / influential friends –> easier to promote stories to the frontpage.

    All she’s suggesting is that people are making their way to the top — not because they want to contribute to Digg, but because they may be stealthily be selling their submissions for bongo bucks.

    It might not be unsolicited email — the tradition of spam — but its certainly subverting a system not designed for commercial submissions for commercial purposes.

    Maybe its time for a new definition?

    Cheers
    t @ dji

  • http://www.wolf-howl.com graywolf

    >The egalitarian nature of these aggregation sites has led a number of online publications, including CNET News.com, to add “Digg” and “Delicious” buttons that allow their own readers to recommend their stories to other users of the aggregation sites. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that marketers and spammers are a half-step behind.

    I might say CNet is a little more than a half step behind if they just realized spammers are in Digg ;-)

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    With the ease some marketers are able get on the front page of Digg, you could even argue they are a half-step AHEAD of Digg. ;-)

  • http://www.smallbusinessbranding.com Robert Kingston

    Checkout Cristian’s Blog over at seopedia.org… He’s been dugg multiple times, believe it or not!

  • Pingback: CNet Digg Article is Innacurate at SEM Research

  • http://www.genesis-internet.com John

    I agree that the definition of splog is way wrong. If hiring a freelance writer to help create good content for your site for the purpose of marketing your company, and providing content to attract links/visits is wrong, then any newspaper, magazine, and probably CNet would qualify, right?

    Plus, she admits that the Digg user base is self-policing, burying suspicious content, like the dental plan article (which cNet helpfully provides a nice authority link to). So what’s the problem there then? If companies spend $15,000 to get a crap quality article up on Digg, and it then gets buried, how many times do you think they will get burned like that before it sinks in that it’s not worth it to try and game the system?

  • http://dietdon.com Fat Butt No More

    Sometimes I wonder about the top stories that I see in Diggs and wonder who the heck voted them there.

    I have seen lesser voted articles that are stuck on the lowest levels simply because they have not marketed the voting of numerous friends.

    I make a habit to check out the bottom posts, I guess its like inspecting the foundation that everything is built upon.

    Fat Butt No More’s last blog post..Not So Secret Secrets To Weight Loss But Often Overlooked