Digg.com has been into more shenanigans – prompting this content provider to ask: Have they gone too far? And if so – why do we in online media continue to support them?
On Monday, Mashable confirmed that Digg surreptitiously changed the behavior of its short URLs in a fashion that diverts web traffic intended for content publishers’ sites to Digg.com.
The move has the social web in an uproar – and should have media websites shaking in their boots. It seems that social media site many of us in online news have taken to caring and feeding with the content that makes it so popular has turned on us in a big way.
Digg URLs are/were very popular with users of Twitter and other microblog services wishing to share links. Then, without alerting its users, Digg has made it so those shortened external links no longer go to that great blog entry or article you wanted to share – but rather it links to directly to Digg.com. Do not pass go, do not collect your page views. In short, the Digg URLs are not shortned URLs at all, but rather a Digg-exclusive traffic driver.
Only tonight has Digg at least somewhat rolled back this change to restore previously used Digg URLs to their original destinations. Even so – they intend to go forward with the traffic diversion plan despite the outcry from users.
I suppose we in online news should have seen this coming. It wasn’t the first sign of aggression from Digg. I’d say Digg has more than proven that it is a direct threat to content publishers – so why are we still supporting it? Oh, you didn’t know you were supporting Digg? Better take a look at your site.
Check out the articles, blogs, photos and any other content you create. Chances are, there is some method for sharing that content online with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Delicious and, yes, Digg. Sometimes that is a button that says Digg, other times it may be a service like the ShareThis button you see on this blog.
See, at one time, Digg was a real boon for online publishers. If your story was popular on Digg, the influx of page views coming from its army of users could be staggering. We wanted everything to be on Digg. In fact, we made it as easy as possible to get our content listed on their site by making these links as prominent as possible.
But it turns out in doing all that reaching out – we contributed to the creation of the very bully who’s stealing publishers’ lunch money. Even though it might not make much of a difference, we in the online news biz need to take back our tiny corners of the web and at least remove Digg from our pages.
Aside: I know I seem like a hypocrite calling for this, being that I haven’t figured out what to do with my own blog yet, but bear with me.
I’ll fight with online naysayers ’til the cows come home about aggregators and Google – but Digg is a credible threat. It’s time to let them go. Besides, if your site is like that of my employer – they are a drop in the bucket compared to Twitter and Facebook these days anyway. Good riddance.