Do you dig Digg? Do you trust that the top stories are really the top stories? Or are they being manipulated? In yet another concession that some of the results may be artificially torqued (don’t people have better things to do with their time?), Digg CEO Kevin Rose has decided to remove a long-time feature called “Top Diggers” that highlighted the efforts of 5,000 of its leading users.
The question is why Kevin, why? Why remove it simply because these Diggers are “being blamed by some outlets as leading efforts to manipulate Digg”. Who are these outlets are why do they have such clout? Is this an admission that some or many of your “Top Diggers” are manipulating the results? You call the criticism by these mysterious outlets a “disappointing trend” but you fail to disclose why they are, in fact, disappointing.
Clearly, Digg is have a problem with perception in an industry where you’re cool today and passe tomorrow (e.g. Friendster). Rose is trying to be pro-active rather than being forced to do something dramatic when a major problem emerges out of nowhere. The question is whether the growing criticism is water lapping against the shore or a tsunami. If Digg is seen as being inaccurate, manipulated, less-than-honest, etc., it creates the real possibility “Digg This” could quickly become less prominent around the Web.
That said, Digg is increasingly been seen as the default place on the Web for people to “vote” on the news. As Rose says in his blog posts, Digg is now getting 5,000 story submissions a day, and it has generated more than 50 million “Diggs” since it started in November 2004. This, in theory, should give Digg some clout and some goodwill to combat attacks from “some outlets”. If I were Rose, I’d address the concerns of his critics but, honestly, I’d be as or more concerned about building a sustainable business model to turn all those Diggs into dollars.