I have been a member of the Social Networking community for the better part of a decade, long before “social networking” became a meme. As such, it has been my privilege to watch the internet, some web sites and users mature and prosper. Lately there has been much ado about Digg and its recent massive banning of users. Digg is a web site that allows you to bookmark articles and allows users to vote on whether or not they are good or relevant. Social bookmarking sites allow users to make friends, share content and give you insight into each other’s preferences. In addition, and without a doubt the most used function, Social Bookmarking allows a web page, blog or news post, to see significant increase traffic.
The internet is a competitive market place, there is no such thing as one web site having a corner on a particular niche (tell me if you find one). When a web site, any web site, is not treating its customers fairly, there are usually ample alternatives that the masses can utilize to that do the same thing. In the case of Digg’s faux pas, you can use Mixx, Stumble, Reddit, and Delicious or a variety of other web sites.
Why is Digg’s ban significant?
In terms of traffic Digg is considered to be the number one social bookmarking site on the web. My guess is, they are about to lose that distinction. For any web site to be successful and maintain that success, they have to have certain qualities that separate it from the crowd. They must be consistent, reliable and put the community first. According to recent reports, the moderators behind Digg have not reflected any of these qualities.
Reliable: I have often credited Digg for not being so predictable as to have a “formula” for getting on the front page, thereby making its organic methods open to abuse. By the same token, because Digg is not entirely automated, there is obvious favoritism in some of the sites that do hit the front page. For a web site to be successful, the system must be reliable and trustworthy.
Community First: Digg exists for the benefit of its members, or at least it should. Digg is supposed to make it easier to find articles of interest. People of like taste are supposed to be able to share those articles with ease through the use of Digg. While there does exist some blatant abuse of the systems (in all social networking sites), some of the reasons Digg has mentioned for the bans are thin at best. If I Digg a story and at a later point in time, the author changes that story to an ad, why should I be the one who is accountable for that web site’s content? Digg hasn’t given its members (and in some cases former advocates) the benefit of the doubt. This in turn translates into Digg caring more about Digg (worth how much?) and less about the people who use the web site. This, in my opinion, is unacceptable.
So, for those of you who are Digg users (or used to be) check out some other options and look for me to reconnect to (although I have not been banned by Digg, I don’t see myself using the site as enthusiastically as I did before).