Diggable content and honest whores
Personally, I prefer Reddit to Digg. They’re both good for some interesting stories, but the user quality is ultimately what determines the quality of any Web 2.0 application. Sooner or later, someone will engineer a Web 2.0 app that is designed to elminate what kills everything Web 2.0 – popularity. As soon as you invent something people like, the message spreads. As more and more people sign up for your thing, whether it be Digg, Reddit or one of the other social sharing sites, the quality of the body of material start to devolve.
You end up with stories like this one, where top users are whoring themselves out.
InvespBlog has published what it claims is an interview with a top Digg user – someone who has a 34% success ratio in getting submitted stories to the home page of Digg. The Digg user isn’t named – he or she says “I have a reputation to withhold” (we know what they meant).
In the interview the user talks a little about how he’s able to get stories to the home page of the Digg news site and drive significant traffic back to the destination, despite the increasing popularity of the site. There isn’t much that will surprise people, the user simply does a lot of networking and reciprocal voting with other top users.
But the user also claims to charge for his services. A submission is $300-$500 based on the “quality of the article,” with no additional “promotion.” If you want your article promoted it’s a flat $700 fee. An additional $500 is charged if it gets to the home page. That’s a grand total of $1,200 for a home page story, and you don’t even get guaranteed results.
I don’t mind an honest whore. The problem with Digg is that the quality of the content is devolving. I’m not sure if there is a point at which a social content sharing app like Digg reaches it’s climax and then starts the long inexorable slide downhill. In Digg’s case, I would cite the frequency and types of stories that have become popular of late. Lots of socialism oriented screeds, pictures of naturally occurring objects that look like genitalia and a bunch of conspiracy theory sensationalism blended together with more and more banal and vitriolic comments have left a sour taste in my mouth.
I’m looking forward to the first elitist Web 2.0 app that allows me to vote other brands of elitists off the social virtual island.