Posted April 3, 2007 3:30 pm by with 14 comments

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There’s a little buzz surrounding the newest pay for Diggs service called Subvert and Profit with both the Online Marketing Blog and Tech Crunch have covering it. It’s not the first website created specifically to game Digg and it won’t be the last.

I’m not going to debate the ethics involved with gaming Digg or any other social media site. It is what it is. I do want to warn anyone thinking about using such a service. Digg is very aware of them and actively monitors their actions. If you’re going to use one make sure you understand the possible repercussions.

The S&P blog claims their system is setup so you won’t get banned from Digg.

* Our algorithm selects users to Digg a story based on how unrelated they are in terms of their Digging history. This is key, because one of the primary methods of detecting “gaming behavior” is seeing if the same group of users Diggs the same stories repeatedly.
* We hide the story you are paid to Digg in a short list of randomly selected stories that you will Digg as well. These stories also show up with the same relative frequency as the paid stories. This prevents Digg from making accounts on our site to see which stories are paid for, and then banning the users who vote for them.
* We never link directly to Digg.
* We verify our users’ Digg activity through a complex string of proxies.

Sorry, but I have to call B.S. on this one. Too much information is available for Digg not to able to develop a way to monitor who is using the service. If S&P was completely private and Digg employees were unable to create accounts, then I could believe the claims.

Just to be clear, if you vote for any of the Digg gaming services you are likely to be either banned or your vote rendered useless. Also, any website being submitted through these services is just as likely to be banned or auto buried from any future submissions.

I hear a voice from the back of the room say, “But Jeremy, where is the ‘Unless…’ you promised us in the title?

Ah yes, the “Unless…”. This is where you have to be a little crafty. Note that this technique is good for one thing only, and that is link building. If you are doing social media marketing for anything other than links, please stop reading now.

If I was one to game Digg (which I am not), this is what I would do.

  1. Create a stand alone site.
    It would be in no way associated with the actual site I was trying to build links for. Different IP, different whois, etc. The only thing it would have in common with the site I am building links for is the topic.
  2. Go to town building your Digg bait.
    Make sure the Digg bait is worthy of the front page or it will be buried soon after reaching stardom. If the bait doesn’t stay on the homepage then no links will come. Once ready, fire up the paid Digg service and watch it soar.
  3. Rinse & repeat Digg bait weekly.
    Or until it’s obvious the site has been banned or auto buried. Then just wait. Let it sit for a couple months while the links mature and Digg forgets you ever existed.
  4. 301 redirect it to the main site.
    How sneaky I get with this would be really dependent on my paranoia level for the day. I’d probably just do a straight redirect but you may want to get a little bit more covert.

In the end we have the links and a main site that is still on Diggs good side.

This post is for education purposes only. Something to get you thinking outside the box. I would slap a Surgeon Generals Warning on the package about right now, but you all know that dirty tricks can give you cancer.

  • Hey! I coined the “auto-bury” on digg phrase long before the guy you linked to did and I’ve been following it!

    Just do a search for Digg on my site and you will see.

  • No one said Micheal coined the phrase, it’s just the place I remember seeing it.

  • Problem with these sites is that most people think they can pay $50 to get any article promoted to the front page. Digglets have become much smarter at sifting the real stories from the spam & as you mentioned without the quality it’ll be a waste of money.

  • Digglets?… first I’ve heard of that

    great post by the way..

  • Diggers haven’t become smarter.

    One of the top Digg stories in the last 5 days was about the Top 10 April Fools Hoaxes of All Time.

    That was an AFP story that appeared on 10,000 sites, including Yahoo.
    The AFP story took the first 10 items listed in the Top 100 April Fools Hoaxes of all time on The Museum of Hoaxes site, and didn’t even provide them with a direct link from the story they circulated.

  • Interesting, I already talked about using such a technique on my blog. I called it SWITCHBAIT!

  • I was about to chirp in and say that I saw Lyndon talking about a similar technique. It’s an interesting idea though does seem like a lot of hard work where your time could probe be better spent just working on your site in other ways.

  • I’m begining to think some of these things are just scam sites being run by digg to weed out the users that are trying to make money off of their digging habbits.

  • I don’t think they are that clever/devious but it would certainly work!

  • Why don’t people spend their efforts in writing quality content instead of paying pay-per-digg fees?

    Does that term exist? Can I copyright it? 😛

  • Dario, you don’t need to write quality content to be successful. You only have to look at the tabloid press to understand that.

    Content can be crap, it just has to be clever crap. Look at the circulation of the National Enquirer, the web is no different.

  • Many people do write good quality content but their audience does not match digg’s userbase.

    Even though digg is empty traffic it is traffic. when you have a high amount of traffic you can charge advertisers more money!

    Think about that for a minute. A good digg front page story can generate 25K+ unique hits easily. Even as few as one a week can push your numbers over 100K uniques a month!

    Most blogs I read are lucky to get 100 uniques a day.

    Diggers may not click (or even see) ads but they do help inflate your bottom line numbers.

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  • thank you