Posted March 1, 2007 2:48 pm by with 8 comments

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Despite the many bold claims by Digg execs that the popular tagging site can easily spot attempts to game the system, proves that it can be done – and quite easily too.

Four and a half hours later, I was the only person who had dugg my story. That’s when I hired a Digg-gaming service called User/Submitter, or U/S. This enterprise, run by one or more zealously anonymous individuals, advertises that it can help “submitters” get Digg stories noticed by paying “users” to digg them…Ten hours after hiring U/S, I had 40 diggs…When I woke up in the morning, my story had been awarded the “became popular” tag and had 121 diggs. U/S had done what it promised: The company had helped me buy my way into Digg popularity, and my site traffic had gone way up — overnight, I’d been hammered with so many hits that the diggers had to set up a mirror.

While the story was ultimately buried, it still managed to make the homepage and was only buried because normal diggers decided the story was really lame – the author admits he created the worst blog he could think of, so there would be no question of gaining diggs purely on merit.

I don’t know what’s more sad. The fact you can get onto the homepage of Digg for less than $200 or the company’s continued claims that it cannot be gamed.

UPDATE: Michael Arrington suggests Wired has dark motives for their attack on Digg. He reminds us that Wired now owns competitor Reddit.

  • A very tempting proposition. I could definitely use the traffic, though keeping the visitors on the site is another problem entirely. You can get all the traffic you want, but if people don’t come back you wasted a good opportunity.

  • Pingback: Deep Jive Interests » Did Wired Game Digg? I Don’t Think So()

  • I thought this was a good expose of DIGG challenges as it faces an onslaught of social media marketing. Nicely detailed.

  • It’s not like Wired didn’t disclose their ties to reddit in the piece.

    Also, has Mr. Arrington ever watched the news? They constantly send in hidden cameras, under-cover agents, and participate in exploits to bring them to light. The fact that Wired is owned by a company also owning a Digg competitor doesn’t matter. If it were Reddit or Netscape themselves exposing this flaw, the fact still remains, the flaw is still there. The motives don’t much matter.

  • Skitzzo – I wouldn’t go as far as backing Arrington’s call to sue them, but you do have to wonder about the motives of Wired.

    Nonetheless, the bigger story is that Digg doesn’t have control of spam, as they claim.

  • Whether wired own reddit or not its about time someone put their money where their mouth was to see if the gaming service worked.

    It actually seems quite cost effective if you think you have some good content that could do well on digg but you are worried about getting the momentuum started.

    However I imagine most of the people who dugg the wired story might have there votes devalued.

  • Let’s see here…

    1) Digg claims they can not be gamed.
    2) Someone games Digg.
    3) Some bloggers try to discredit the gaming because of the reddit affiliation.

    The simple fact is that Digg was gamed! It wasn’t even gamed with an interesting website and that is the point. If someone can get a crap website onto the Digg home page then Digg can be gamed.

    The gaming goes both ways in that good websites can be buried before they reach the home page. I’ve seen stories with hundreds of Diggs that never make the home page!

  • This is not anything new just because Wired reported it. I did a similar thing when i wrote the digg piece for last year except w/o User/Submitter. I just contacted diggers and said I’d pay a few for their diggs and they agreed.

    Kevin and Jay denied that this could happen, oops.

    I’m also pretty sure just about everyone knows this is happening at least most of the blogosphere and people who have used digg for a while. The site is full of spam and duplicate content and it has been gamed from day 1.

    good for Wired for calling them out.