Social Bookmarking with DIGG

Beginner's Guide to Digg

If you have ever felt like you had to dig around the Internet for good content, you might want to look at something called Digg ( Digg is a site that will help you avoid the process of digging and instead, get exactly what others have dug up so you can see some of the great sites/stories/things out there on the Internet. Many people reading this might already know what Digg is all about so if you fall into this category, quit reading now and go elsewhere or you might feel this is a bit basic. If you haven't heard of Digg, read further and you can not only understand one of the more successful sites on the web these days but also get an idea of how you can leverage it for your business. Digg epitomizes the value of collective intelligence and community on the Internet in a way that not only brings value to its users, but also to businesses that are savvy enough to take advantage.


Digg was started as an experiment in October 2004 by Kevin Rose. The concept was to give people the chance to "dig" user submitted tech-related stories in order to get the most popular stuff in front of an audience that was interested in seeing the latest and greatest on the Internet. By December 5th 2004, the site was officially launched. After running for approximately a year, the site surpassed 100,000 users and as a result they were able to raise $2.8 million to help take the service to the next level. Shortly thereafter, grew to over 500,000 users and over 8.5 million unique visitors per month.


There are two main things that you can do on Digg. The first is to submit stories that you think the community will like and the second is to digg stories that you like.

digg submit
digg submit

Thousands of stories are submitted to Digg on a daily basis on a variety of topics. There are currently 7 categories on Digg which include technology, science, world & business, sports, videos, entertainment, and gaming. If you come across any stories that you think are interesting, you can submit them for others to vote on.


If you like a story you have the option of "digging" it, which is basically voting on it and endorsing it. However, if you don't like a story then you can bury it by marking it as duplicate, spam, wrong topic, inaccurate or even lame. If this is too simple and you'd like to say more, there is a comment section which gives you the opportunity to give your own two cents on the story and what you really think about it.

Front Page
digg front page
digg front page

There are two separate areas where stories are displayed, one is the upcoming section and the other is the popular stories section that begins on the front page. When a story is submitted, it has up to 24 hours to make it to the front page or longer if it has not been marked as duplicate, spam, wrong topic, inaccurate or lame. Digg's complex algorithms take multiple factors into account in order to determine if a story should hit the front page. Some of the factors that the algorithm uses are as follows:
  • The number of diggs
  • Amount of buries
  • Identity of the voters
  • Time
  • IP addresses
  • Category
Example: Stories submitted in the sports category generally require less diggs to reach the front page compared to stories submitted in the technology category. Overall, less people submit and digg sports stories compared to technology stories which is taken into account by Digg.


Although Digg seems like a simple website it is filled with many useful features:

Digg Spy
digg spy
digg spy

Ever wonder what other users are digging, submitting, commenting on, or reporting (burying)? Digg Spy shows all the activity on Digg in real time. Every few seconds it polls diggs and updates the page using Ajax. So if you submit a story you can use Digg Spy to keep track of it, that way you can see how many people buried it compared to dugg it (digging a story).

Popular Archive
digg popular archive
digg popular archive

Thousands of stories have made the Digg front page, with the Popular Archive you can see them all in an easy list format. You can back track to older days and months and see the stories that made the front page with the amount of diggs next to each story.

Digg Labs
digg labs
digg labs

Currently Digg Labs contains two tools that help give a deeper and broader view of Digg. Stack is a tool which shows diggs occurring in real time on up to 100 stories at once. Swarm is a tool which creates brightly colored circles for stories as they are dugg.

Digg Tools
digg tools
digg tools

At the moment, in the Digg Tools section, there are 6 features that help people get more involved with Digg.
  1. Digg badges - badges can be placed on one's website in order for visitors to digg the website.
  2. Digg news - the latest digg stories can be added to ones website or blog with ease.
  3. Digg button - for those who have a blog a "digg this" button can be added to each blog post.
  4. Google IG module - view recent stories from Digg on your personalized Google homepage.
  5. Google Coop module - see Digg stories at the top of your Google search results.
  6. Video thumbnails - enables you to display Digg's video thumbnails on your own website.

My #1
digg my number 1
digg my number 1

You may digg thousands of stories, but there maybe a specific few that you really like. My #1 lets you save your favorite stories on a separate page in your profile. This way you as well as your friends can see what stories are most important to you.

Digg Effect

One of the main reasons Digg is so popular is because it can drive thousands of visitors to a website within minutes. As you might expect, this can have a profound implications for website owners:
  • It can help increase traffic which can lead to links and increased search engine rankings
  • Help increase pageviews which increases advertising revenue
  • Serve as a marketing tactic for branding strategies and promotions
Because of these benefits some people will do anything to get on the front page of which can include paying for diggs or even messaging everyone they know to solicit additional diggs. These techniques are effective however don't be mislead: Statistics show that a select few (100) users contribute over 50 percent of the stories that reach the front page. These users are able to do this because of the stories they find, the text used when submitting the story, and the friends that they have which help them along the way. That doesn't mean you have no control over the popularity of the stories on the front page, it just means that you need to take a few things into account if you are submitting.
Most of the stories that get to the front page make it there for a reason. If a bad story makes the front page, it will likely be buried fairly quickly. By studying the front page material a pattern will emerge demonstrating the types of stories that are "good" enough to make the front page. The following types of stories tend to land on the front page:
When you submit a story, there are many keys to bolstering it's acceptance by the community which can ultimately effect its popularity. If a story does not have an attractive title and description, there is a good chance that it will not make the front page. A lot of diggers do not click through to actually read the whole story, they just digg based on the title and description. When creating a title and description, here are some things to keep in mind:
  1. Make a statement and do not be dull.
    Example: Senator Ted Stevens Downloads the Entire Internet and Complains It's Slow!
  2. Be controversial and make false promises (it sounds bad, but it works!).
    Example: If an article was called "Professor says days of 'no oil' are nearing" you may want to use this as the digg title "Days of no oil are nearing".
  3. Use keywords in the title that diggers love and that are also relevant to the story.
    Example: Amazing high resolution photos of the Sun.


Digg is a social website where users interact with each other. Just like MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, or any of the other social websites; you can make friends on Digg too. Looking at the top 100 digg users, there is one thing they all have in common: they have lots of friends. If a story needs 100 or so diggs to make the front page (number can vary), getting a few diggs from your friends will just help get you their faster. It usually is not too hard to get your friends to digg your submissions as long as you are also reciprocating and digging your friends' submissions as well. This may sound like "gaming" Digg, but it seems that Digg has taken this into consideration with their algorithm to stop abusers. Keep in mind that this is still a community and should be treated as such if you are trying to leverage it's offering for your business.


One of the great things about Digg is its simplicity. People submit stories and digg what they like to the front page. Since late 2004, this concept has taken Digg from being a small online website into an online giant that is still just beginning to take hold with the masses. Similar to Google and the other search engines in their early days, Digg can be manipulated to some extent however the Digg crew seems to be on top of things and they are constantly making changes to fight spammers. Kevin Rose himself said that Digg version 4 is on its way and will be quite different then the Digg we are used to. Judging by Digg's progression from version to version, version 4 will probably have more social and community oriented features then previous versions.

Additional Resources

DuggTrends - DuggTends provides insight of what & how people are voting.
Digg the Blog - The official Digg blog.
8 Ways to Help You Get to Digg's Front Page
History of Digg
Digg River - This site is an experiment to see how we can make digg news easily available to mobile web browsers.
10 Steps to Guarantee You Make the Digg Front Page
Integrating Digg Within Your Website
Digg Tthis WordPress Plugin - Plugin that detects incoming links from to your WordPress post and automatically display a link back to the digg post, for people to digg your story.
Diggnation - Diggnation is a weekly tech/web culture show based on the top social bookmarking news stories.
Digg Black Market - Where Digg submitters pay for Digg users to promote their stories and where Digg users make easy money.
Digg RSS Widget - This widget gets the latest headlines from every 15 minutes and displays them in a pleasant interface.
How Digg Works
Digg This Toolbar - Simple toolbar buttons and a menu to allow you to quickly digg articles.


Special thanks to the following people who helped with the creation and editing of this post.