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Digg is a website made for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the Internet, by submitting links and stories, and voting and commenting on submitted links and stories, in a social and democratic spirit. Voting stories up and down is the site's cornerstone function, respectively called digging and burying. Many stories get submitted every day, but only the most dugg stories appear on the front page.

Digg's popularity has prompted the creation of other social networking sites with a story submission and voting system.[1]

History and description

Digg, Version 1.6
Digg, Version 1.6

Digg started out as an experiment in November 2004 by Kevin Rose, Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Jay Adelson. All except Owen Byrne currently play an active role in the management of the site.

"We started working on developing the site back in October 2004," Kevin Rose told ZDNet[2] "We started toying around with the idea a couple of months prior to that, but it was early October when we actually started creating what would become the beta version of Digg. The site launched to the world on December 5, 2004."

Kevin Rose's friend David Prager (The Screen Savers, This Week in Tech) originally wanted to call the site “Diggnation”, but Kevin wanted a simpler name. He chose the name "Digg", because users are able to "dig" stories, out of those submitted, up to the front page. The site was called “Digg” instead of “Dig” because the domain name “dig.com” was previously registered, by Walt Disney Internet Group. “Diggnation” would eventually be used as the title of Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht's weekly podcast discussing popular stories from Digg.

The original design was free of advertisements, and was designed by Dan Ries. As Digg became more popular, Google AdSense was added to the website. In July 2005, the site was updated to "Version 2.0". The new "version" featured a friends list, the ability to "digg" a story without being redirected to a "success" page, and a new interface designed by web design company Silverorange.[3] The site developers have stated that in future versions a more minimalist design will likely be employed. On Monday June 26, 2006 version 3 of Digg was released with specific categories for Technology, Science, World & Business, Videos, Entertainment and Gaming as well as a View All section where all categories are merged.

Digg has grown large enough that submissions sometimes create a sudden increase of traffic to the "dugg" website. This is referred to by some Digg users as the "Digg effect" and by some others as the site being "dugg to death". However, in many cases stories are linked simultaneously on several popular bookmarking sites. In such cases, the impact of the "digg effect" is difficult to isolate and assess. Wordpress is especially known for its tendency to crash under the increased traffic.[4]

On August 27, 2007, Digg altered its main interface, mostly in the profile area. The domain digg.com attracted at least 236 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com survey.

Potential Sale

Several reports have come forward claiming Digg has been trying to sell itself to a larger company since early 2006[5]. While Adelson claims that Digg will meet with any potential buyers, he denies that they will actively begin talks for a sale. The most recent sale talks were with Google in July 2008 for approximately 200 million dollars. On July 25th, during the due diligence part of the potential sale, Google informed Digg that they were not interested in the purchase[6].


Digg has come under criticism for varying reasons. Most disparagements are centered on the site's form of user-moderation: users have too much control over content, allowing sensationalism and misinformation to thrive.[7][8] The site has also suffered the risk of companies paying for stories submitted to the site,[9][10][11] similar to the phenomenon of company-attempted Google bombing.

Other critics feel that the site's operators may exercise too much control over which articles appear on the front page as well as the comments on Digg's forums.[12][13] Some users complain that they have been blocked from posting, and their accounts disabled, for making comments in the user-moderated forums that conflict with the personal interests of Digg's operators.[14] The existence of the "bury" option has also been criticized as undemocratic and due to its anonymous nature, unaccountable,[15] which often leads to expungement of criticism of hotbed topics that do not mesh with the prevailing view of the community. Another criticism in this area has been[16] how a faulty or misleading article can reach many users quickly, blowing out of proportion the unsupported claims or accusations (a mob mentality).

Certain Digg users have been accused of operating a "Bury Brigade" that tags articles with which they disagree as spam,[8][17][18] thus attempting to bury stories critical of Digg. One commentator states that one of the site's major problems:

…is the ability of a small number of users to "bury" stories without accountability. Burying news is meant to help separate spam and inaccurate stories from the general morass of ordinary, viable stuff. But there's long been the suspicion that plenty of users use it to get rid of stories about things they don't like (eg political parties or corporates) - since burying a story is much more powerful than simply voting against it.[19]

It has been reported that the top 100 Digg users controlled 56% of Digg's frontpage content, and that a niche group of just twenty individuals had submitted 25% of the frontpage content.[20][12] A few sites[8] have raised the problem of groupthink and the possibility that the site is being "manipulated", so to speak. In response to this question, the site's founder Kevin Rose has announced an upcoming change to the site's algorithm[21]:

While we don't disclose exactly how story promotion works (to prevent gaming the system), I can say that a key update is coming soon. This algorithm update will look at the unique digging diversity of the individuals digging the story. Users that follow a gaming pattern will have less promotion weight. This doesn't mean that the story won't be promoted, it just means that a more diverse pool of individuals will be need to deem the story homepage-worthy. [22]

Some popular news sites have reported instances of possible censorship, including Digg users who claim to have been banned for criticizing sponsors[23][24][25] and allegations of the unreasonable banning of entire domain names[26]. In response, Rose has stated that:

Once a story has received enough user reports it is automatically removed from the digg queue or homepage (depending on where the story is living at that time). The number of reports required varies depending on how many diggs the story has. This system is going to change in the near future. Soon, reported stories will fall into a 'buried stories' bin. Users will have the ability to pick through this story bin and vote to have a story reinstated should they believe it was falsely reported.[24]

AACS encryption key controversy
Wikinews has related news:
Digg.com suffers user revolt; Founder will not fight

Main article: AACS encryption key controversy

On May 1, 2007 an article appeared on Digg’s homepage that contained the encryption key for the AACS digital rights management protection of HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Then Digg, "acting on the advice of its lawyers", removed posting submissions about the secret number from its database and banned several users for submitting it. The removals were seen by many Digg users as a capitulation to corporate interests and an assault on free speech.[27] A statement by Jay Adelson attributed the article’s take-down to an attempt to comply with cease and desist letters from the Advanced Access Content System consortium and cited Digg’s Terms of Use as justification for taking down the article.[28]

Although some users defended Digg's actions,[29][30][31] as a whole the community staged a wide-spread revolt with numerous articles and comments being made using the encryption key.[32][33] The scope of the user response was so great that one of the Digg users referred to it as a "digital Boston Tea Party".[34] The response was also directly responsible for Digg reversing the policy and stating:
“ But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.[35] ”

—Kevin Rose


On February 26, 2008, Yahoo! launched a similar community bookmarking site entitled Yahoo! Buzz. The service, much like Digg, allows users to buzz news stories that are published by users and the most popular stories are displayed on the main page. The site was created in direct competition of Digg's online market, and is an attempt at creating a narrower gap between the popularity of Yahoo!'s major search competitors Google and MSN.

See also

* Web 2.0
* Social bookmarking


1. ^ Revisiting Top 10 Web Predictions of 2006
2. ^ MacManus, Richard (2006-02-01). "Interview with Digg founder Kevin Rose, Part 1". ZDNet. Retrieved on 2006-07-15.
3. ^ silverorange | Digg
4. ^ "Diggproof your Wordpress". Circle 6 Design (2007-01-22). Retrieved on 2008-03-15.
5. ^ http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/07/just-sell-digg-already-jay/
6. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/26/AR2008072601421.html
7. ^ Digging The Madness of Crowds
8. ^ a b c Why Digg Failed
9. ^ Digg continues to battle phony stories
10. ^ Paying users for creating content
11. ^ The Power of Digg
12. ^ a b A Brief History of Digg Controversy
13. ^ 'Democratic'? 'User-driven'? These do not describe Digg
14. ^ Is Digg being subverted by some sort of spamming?
15. ^ Is Digg Closer To Extinction Than We Realise?
16. ^ Digg and the So-Called "Wisdom of Mobs"
17. ^ ZDNet Not Immune To The "Bury Brigade"
18. ^ An Open Letter to Kevin Rose
19. ^ Watching Digg's "bury brigade"
20. ^ SEOmoz | Top 100 Digg Users Control 56% of Digg's HomePage Content
21. ^ Digg to tweak its algorithm
22. ^ Digg Friends
23. ^ Growing Censorship Concerns at Digg
24. ^ a b Digg Censors Stories That Offend Sponsors
25. ^ Responding to Kevin’s Non-Response Post
26. ^ The hypocrisy of digg and spam
27. ^ Stone, Brad (2007-05-03). "In Web Uproar, Antipiracy Code Spreads Wildly", The New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-07-02.
28. ^ Jay Adelson. "Digg the Blog: What's Happening with HD-DVD Stories?".
29. ^ TGdaily: Cease and desist letters backfire horribly against AACS
30. ^ Digg losing control of their site
31. ^ DRM lobby tries to get HD DVD genie back into the bottle
32. ^ Marcus Yam. "DailyTech: AACS Key Censorship Leads to First Internet Riot". Retrieved on 2007-05-02.
33. ^ "BBC News: DVD DRM row sparks user rebellion". Retrieved on 2007-05-02.
34. ^ [1] Digg's DRM Revolt
35. ^ Kevin Rose (2007-05-01). "Digg This: 09 F9 […]". Digg the Blog. Digg Inc. Retrieved on 2007-05-02.


Digg (Still) Not Being Shopped, Says Co-Founder Kevin Rose

July 27, 2008 — by Paul Glazowski — — 6 Comments

Digg co-founder Kevin Rose today made clear on Leo Laporte’s TWiT Live video broadcast that Allen & Co., a New York-based boutique investment bank and broker that counts Digg among its list of clients, is not shopping the company.

While he explained in customary fashion that it was accepted company policy to essentially remain mum about purported pending corporate deals, validly or invalidly suspected, he offered the abovementioned response to an inquiry from Laporte about recent speculation. Some might interpret Rose’s response either as vaguely logical - he appears to offer a rudimentary explanation that meetings with larger companies involving partnership developments and the like can be misconstrued and inflated as acquisition-speak - or evasive.

Of course, Rose has not shown complete disinterest in an acquisition. But he reiterated a long-held view that a complementary, value-added arrangement would have to be stipulated and agreed to in order for talks to proceed to a completed buyout of some sort. One rather unique moment documented quite some time ago was when heads at Digg reportedly met with CurrentTV founder Al Gore. Those talks allegedly fell through due to Digg’s unwillingness to submit to incorporation into the CurrentTV framework.

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