Is it possible to get a story to the Digg homepage by paying your way to the top? Although this defeats the very purpose of Digg I thought it would be interesting to try. Today we saw the emergence of www.usersubmitter.com which allows visitors to get paid for their Diggs from publishers who pay $20 plus $1 for each digg.
According to seoblackhat.com one way to guarantee front page placement is to submit an article about Digg itself. It certainly worked for them so for the experiment I’ll use this Digg related post. Just like the great page rank tango webmasters go through with Google I anticipate more and more interest in this marketing tactic. Similar sites are bound to start popping up, sites like www.friendlyvote.com which appears to offer the same service.. Honestly I don’t think it will work, for now Digg’s user base is too strong and will fight off such manipulation. As always content is king, if your web site is "digg worthy" it will naturally rise to the top.
Updates to follow…
- Rumor has it that 51 diggs in a 24 period will get you to the homepage. I’ll pay for just 25 diggs, a total cost of $45.
- Just in case it actually works I’ve installed the wp-cache plugin. Since Digg can send 30-50K visitors in a days time this will help avoid crashing the server.
Ratings: (on a scale of 1-5 hams)
- Black Hat’n
- Social Engineering
- Viral Functions
** Update 5pm 10/03/06 – Well the system certainly does work, I received my 25 Diggs within a few hours. However they were not received fast enough to get front page placement. I was really wondering if you could "seed" a story then let it receive enough natural diggs to get the placement (if the story was interesting enough of course). I emailed usersubmitter.com and asked if we could add $20 or 20 more diggs, they quickly replied and allowed us to.
However I can now say that it is possible to pay your way to the homepage. Right now there is a web site that used usersubmitter.com to purchase an undisclosed amount of diggs displayed on the homepage. That story has over 400 diggs and growing…
** Update 8pm 10/03/06 – Reached 51 diggs in 24 hours but did not get placement
** Update 10pm 10/03/06 – Almost 24 hours later and it appears this story was never promoted. We learned that its not easy to manipulate the Digg system but it is possible. On a side note I was contacted by an anonymous Russian man who let me preview his "digg rigging" system and I must say it was pretty well done. I didn’t actually use it because he would only take payment through www.wmtransfer.com which I am not familiar with.
** Final Update!!!! The next day this story was minus 25 diggs, so I guess there was an audit done at some point or this story was brought to the attention of digg.com.