Fascinating piece on the Wired web site, related to how the editors put together a nonsensical web site, and got it on the front page of Digg by paying for diggs at User/Submitter (check out our review here) site:
Ten hours after hiring U/S, I had 40 diggs. The vast majority of them had also dugg the Photoshop tutorial or the $35 offer. This was the moment when I reached a tipping point, and I began to get a lot of organic diggs and comments. The crowd on Digg is drawn to what’s popular, and many of them second-guessed themselves when they checked out my blog and saw how crappy it was. Quomen commented, “None of those photographs really appeal to me. Am I defective? or just a loner.”Despite their doubts, Diggers kept digging my blog. There’s a perverse incentive here: Diggers who vote early on stories that become wildly popular become more “reputable” in the Digg system. If you’re trying to move up the Digg ranks, it’s in your best interest to vote on anything that looks like it’s gaining popularity. And my blog, with its flurry of paid votes, fit the pattern.
Interesting crowd dynamics at the Digg and the incentive structure does not help either…I have actually seen people comment they are not sure what a particular topic means but still Digg it. In this case more than 1/2 the Diggs were unpaid…That is just unbelievable. I guess the momentum trading theory is alive and kicking.
“We find it interesting that Digg still allows anybody to view any user’s diggs,” U/S told me in an e-mail. “By way of this ‘feature,’ User/Submitter is able to verify that our users actually digg the stories they’re given. Without this feature, Digg users are given complete digging privacy, and User/Submitter cannot exist.”
This is another perverse incentive…but this is driven by Digg’s drive to build a community. To fix this one, they will need to change the business model…All in all great job by the editors for creating and publishing this interesting experiment.