Posted January 7, 2007 7:36 pm by with 9 comments

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An interesting conversation is going on between Lyndon Antcliff and Jason Calacanis about whether Digg can withstand the onslaught of clones using Pligg.

While Lyndon demonstrates just how many Digg clones are gaining traction, Jason suggests Digg will remain strong as it is focused on an important vertical – young, tech males.

Calacanis also explains why Digg needs to be careful not to mess with the the formula that attracts young techies.

When you build a huge, passionate community like digg has (and Fark, Slashdot, Engadget, iVillage, and the Well have), you live and die with that group. If digg wants to go big they should start a second digg for women, and one for politics–they shouldn’t do it as part of digg.

It’s a good observation and one that marketers have already figured out – unless your story is about technology, pumps Google, trashes Microsoft, touts Macs, or includes video of something exploding, don’t expect much interest from Digg.

  • I don’t think Pligg is a threat to Digg. It’s about the community, as Calicanis pointed out. It’s not about the software. I’m sure there will be 900,000 clones, some of which will be successful. But, unless Digg somehow sabotages themselves, and kills their community, their members won’t jump ship in large numbers to whatever random Pligg site crops up next week.

  • I think there are quite a few gaps in Digg that other sites can fill and take a little of the growth from Digg. “Tech” is still a huge vertical and narrower niches could find attract some people away from Digg. That’s why I have started, an SEO focused social news site. Digg has been banning a lot SEO sites so there may be some room here.

  • unless your story is about technology, pumps Google, trashes Microsoft, touts Macs, or includes video of something exploding, don’t expect much interest from Digg.

    That isn’t enough to get something heavily Dugg.

    I submitted the following a few weeks ago

    Mac User “Drop Microsoft From My Life” New Year Resolution
    Fred Wilson of “A VC”, his highly perceptive Venture Capital blog states… “I am going to remove Microsoft from my life in 2007.” followed by “The bottom line is Microsoft doesn’t care about Mac users. That’s been obvious for a while now. So I don’t care about Microsoft either.” Is this going to become a growing trend?

    It didn’t get any Diggs

    You have to have an extensive network on Digg or a large Digg population reading your blog to have any chance of success, no matter what the subject.

  • Andy, what site did the story appear on? If the site was SEO related in any way, they’re not going to bite.

  • It was on A VC

    Here is a link to the original story. I think it is fairly significant when an “influencer” makes a statement like that.

  • Most Pliggs or Digg clones will fail, but some will not. Look at it has an Alexa ranking of 11k, not to be sniffed at.

    Bring on an Xbox, Playstations and a Wii Digg clone of equal success and where are the passionate people going to graviate to.

    We are living in an age where media is fragmenting, where the long tail rules.

    Why by part of a site that only gives you 20% of what you want when you can be part of a site that gives you a 100% By definition only the truly passionate will be into these narrow niches, these splinters off the Tech niche Digg inhabits.

    But it’s those passionate people that drive Digg. Would the top submitter of Xbox stories on Digg be attracted to a Digg clone that is 100% no fat, Xbox juice all the way?

    Of course she is?

    It would cost me 5 quid to start a Pligg, if I was passionate about something boardering on insanity I would start a Pligg about it and work 16 hours a day on it. If you get 900,000 passionate people all Pligging away about their respective subjects and they all overlap with Digg, then Digg is in trouble.

    The people are now in control.

    Let a thousand flowers flourish.

    What’s do special about Digg anyway? Is it the sofware, is the design, is it the subjects. No. It’s the people, those passionate people who spend hours submitting stories. And people are fickle, they tend not to do the same thing for the rest of their life, they get bored and move on to the next new thing.

    Sure, Digg is the New New Thing, the Belle of the ball. But it wont be forever.

    New Media grows, destroys itself and regrows in faster and faster cycles.

  • Andy Beard: It’s quite possible to get on the Digg frontpage without having a network on Digg. I did it twice, this story:
    (any story about Piratebay will get Dugg ;-))

    and this:….html

    oh, and here are the Digg pages btw;

    So it is possible. But don’t expect 1 in 5 to hit, or even 1 in 10.

    When it comes to the subject of the original blogpost I agree completely with the comments from Lyndon. He stated it better than I ever could 🙂

  • Actually around that time I also submitted one on Pirate Bay that also didn’t get Dugg many times. It was a post on The Register with the first suggested price.

    I know anything is possible, but having a network of Digg happy readers is the number one requirement.

    Just one example, the original story of the MyBlogLog acquisition got 14 Diggs (the announcement on their official blog), and Mashable’s coverage got close to 400

    You would think the UTW update would get more than 7 Diggs

  • This is exactly what I was mentioned in the article on WTF. Pligg is good because it allows niche sites to be set up, so if you are interested in sports, there will be a sports pligg somewhere, and if technology, then someone would have set up a tech pligg. With Digg, or Netscape, the top stories are rarely intersting to me. Also, people exploit Digg to market their own sites. One problem with these social networking / submission sites is that groups of friends will promote their own pages, leaving other more interesting stories to be buried in all the garbage.

    Some Pligg niche sites:

    Of course, one problem of so many niche sites is getting enough regular contributors to make them work.