August 27 2008

Digg Makes No Sense

I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to figure out exactly how Digg works.

For those of you unfamiliar with Digg, it is a social bookmarking site that once you add a link to it, people can vote, or “digg it”, to rank it higher.  In theory, the more diggs you get, the better chance you have your article going popular and making the front page (FP) of the site.  While just being on Digg brings you some traffic, making the front page brings you INSANE traffic.

Naturally, every blogger wants to make the front page, but it rarely happens.  To that end, people endlessly try to figure out the formula of what it takes to make it, and about the only thing most people can agree on is that it must happen in the first 24 hours your article is on the site, but beyond that, it’s a mystery.

In general the articles from this site rarely make it on to Digg at all, I think maybe 10 times total.  The one I did the best with was Anonymous Takes On Scientology, but I was fairly certain it wouldn’t make the FP.  Over on Mashable, just about everything I write gets put on Digg, and on average I make the FP once or twice a month.  Even with a good track record, I can’t figure it out.  I thought I had it down to a mix of number of Diggs with a high number of comments.  I had some with lots of diggs/low comments and they didn’t make it, and then had low diggs/high comments and they didn’t make it either, so obviously the formula was a balance.

Today a friend of mine is nearing the 24 hour mark, he has almost 300 Diggs, almost 100 comments… still not popular.  Say what?

It’s probably a good thing that bloggers can’t figure out the formula, otherwise we’d all be writing the perfect Digg articles on a daily basis and the site would be useless, but at the same time it becomes a bit depressing when you think you’re so close, and then it just never happens no matter how many of the factors you’ve hit.  Apparently I need to go back to the drawing board though as my friend’s lack of FP has totally chucked all of my theories right out the window!

So, what do you think it is?  What makes a Digg article go popular?  Throw out some funny theories if you want, because we all know that none of us have it figured out.

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