DiggBar Use Or Abuse

More and more people are aware of social media on the Internet.  Everyone recognizes Facebook and Twitter.  Another very popular social media service is Digg.  This is a website where you can vote on your favorite web pages.  A very significant change was introduced on the Digg Blog.  It is called the DiggBar.  Here is a short video that shows what it is all about.

The blog does list the advantages of  the DiggBar and they are considerable.  The DiggBar allows you to:

  • Digg directly on the destination site: No more awkward toggling between the story page and Digg.
  • Easily share stories: You can now create a shortened Digg URL to share on Twitter, Facebook or via email. You can also type digg.com/ before the URL of any page you’re on to create a short URL.
  • Access additional analytics: See how many times a story has been viewed.
  • View comments while on the story page: Clicking the ‘Comments’ button expands the DiggBar to show the top comment, latest comment, and most controversial without leaving the page.
  • Discover related stories: Clicking the ‘Related’ button expands the DiggBar to highlight similar stories.
  • See more stories from the same source: Clicking the ‘Source’ button expands the DiggBar to show you more Digg stories from that source site.
  • Discover random stories: Click the ‘Random’ button and you’ll be brought to an entirely new, unexpected story.
  • As always, let us know what you think. Look for the feedback button right on the DiggBar. Also stay tuned for some big changes to Digg search!

It is very user friendly and I think it will prove to be a real winner.

I became aware of it when someone sent me a message about an item by Nelson Williams entitled, Quebec Forbids English-Only Video Games in Favour of French Language.

Which only makes sense, because game developers are clamoring to translate their virtual worlds to French. The Toronto Star reports that a recent law passed in Quebec forbids the sale of English-only games if a French translation exists. This has caused a certain amount of excitement among retailers, similar to that felt by the dinosaurs right before the meteorite hit.

The Digg Shout I received gave the following link:


which produces the same article but with the DiggBar along the top of the screen.  It is very intuitive and does perform extremely well.

If it is as successful as I believe it will be, then other services will undoubtedly be affected.  Lee Mathews suggests that Digg’s new Diggbar will destroy other short url services.

It certainly seems that way.  However in the short survey when they ask for feedback, I did recommend another URL shortening service, cli.gs.  This is an excellent service which provides a host of other data and statistics.  It was developed by my friend and co-moderator at Cre8asite Forums, Pierre Far.  I believe he is currently on his honeymoon so this may be something for him to take up on his return.

Michael Arrington of Techcrunch seems to be very strong on the use of DiggBar and believes that the DiggBar Keeps All Digg Homepage Traffic On Digg.

I expect it to become my default short URL service on Twitter since it is so easy to create a short URL by simply adding Digg.com/ in front of any URL. It will redirect to a short Digg URL like digg.com/d1npNz, which is this story rendered with the DiggBar.

This will also expose a lot of new people to Digg since anyone that clicks on the link will see the toolbar wrapper with the view count, Digg comments and other information on the top. And it will also increase Digg’s overall traffic substantially – unlike other short URL services, Digg doesn’t simply redirect to the longer URL. It keeps you on Digg and shows any other site being pointed to in an iframe wrapper. You can get to the underlying URL by clicking on the X button on the top right.

Not everyone is so enamored by DiggBar  Daniel Scocco feels that The DiggBar Changes Things At Digg (Some for the Worse).  Check the link for the full argument but the gist of his concern is as follows:

Just head to Digg.com and click on one of the stories on the front page.  With the entrance of the toolbar, you are now redirected to a shortened URL of the Digg story, and the content is presented inside an iframe.  Here are some of the reasons, why webmasters and bloggers may be concerned:

  1. The iframe wrapping technique is quite old on the Web. It started in the 1990s, and many people got angry with what they called content theft.
  2. Digg takes space in the header, which is high value for advertisers. What if Digg started showing CPM ads there.
  3. The address bar no longer shows the URL of the original site so the SEO benefit is lost. Digg’s front page links are now redirects to internal Digg URLs.

Big sites like The New York Times may well have concerns.

Perhaps DiggBar’s most energetic critic up till this point is Michael Gray.  He has a number of concerns and is particularly critical of the security aspects of the DiggBar.  He shows How to Abuse the New DiggBar for Fun and Profit.

By framing everyone else’s website you never leave Digg, so the length of their user visits goes up, and it looks like their site is improving.  They con more clueless VC’s that Digg is actually a valuable website so that they want to keep wasting money investing in it.

Although his post has some humorous elements, it does reflect serious concerns that many will have if the DiggBar continues to function without change.  Hopefully from the feedback that Digg is receiving from all sides, they can identify and retain what is good.  The more worrying aspects could then be modified or removed so as not to jeopardize the interests of so many others.

11 thoughts on “DiggBar Use Or Abuse”

  1. Barry – Thanks for showcasing some of the differing opinions already out there. While I think the DiggBar makes sense for Digg overall, there were certainly be issues and challenges.

    After reading Michael Gray’s post my mind definitely started wandering over possibilities. Very good points on DailyBlogTips as well.

    My worry is that while the toolbar brings more exposure to Digg, I don’t know if the “average user” will see it as anything but a promotional tool and if that is the case, the correlation to discovering “new” content through Digg seems to be missing.

    Just some ideas; it will take me the weekend to digest some of the discussion 🙂

  2. re: Michael Gray’s objection: “you never leave Digg, so the length of their user visits goes up”

    Let’s assume his argument is true, that Digg created the DiggBar to make more money. What is wrong with that?

    re: Daniel Scocco’s objections

    1. Iframes .. there are plenty of sites that do this, e.g. Google/Yahoo images. Just install a frame breaker.
    2. hijacking ad space .. again, install a frame breaker.
    3. loss of SEO benefits …No one but social media parasites care about SEO benefits. Users are interested in reading articles.

  3. I think you are spot-on with your comments, Halfdeck. I’m sure the Digg ship-of-state will go forward through these choppy waves and what you now see is what we’ll continue to get.

  4. I’ve been using Global Grind’s similar site, they haven’t integrated a toolbar, but when you grind a story, you get the similar GG bar above the page. I think its helpful…so far, I’ve been more involved with Digg as a result and I like the fact of voting on stories that haven’t gotten popular yet…its not as much as a favorite game anymore.

  5. Halfdeck: if the users are just interested in reading useful articles and all social SEO is parasitic, what good is it having Digg’s comment pages outranking those actual articles? Maybe some of us never really cared about Digg one way or the other before it started putting a claim on our content. Well luckily, breaking frames should fix this up. Usually, it is bottom scrapers trying to pull the frame trick – suddenly an established domain does it and they’ve got defenders. Go figure.

  6. The way I see it, Digg will be completely gone in a year or two. Portals that offer nothing new when it comes to either the content or the technology. Digg has made it big using all the web 2.0 hype going on but in the long run, it will either evolve or die. Along with all these Squidoos and other similar sites …

  7. I don’t see it going anywhere, I have been using Digg for more than 2 years now and it has maintained its standard to become 125th most visited website in the world. And to tell you the truth it is becoming more and more interesting day by day.
    As of the article, it is a true insight on Digg. A real researched post you have made.

  8. I’m really upset by the digg bar, to a point they’re trying to become something like stumbleupon.

    There’s ALOT of websites fighting over the same stuff : Buzz.

    And eventually ,there will be a winner , and several sites out in the cold. I think far too many will wish they had taken buyouts from some of the larger companies (like google and yahoo).

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