Getting a link from Digg’s homepage can mean tens or even hundreds of thousands of people visiting your website. A public relations consultant can get 100 or 1,000 times the normal value of a press release if they can somehow get it on Digg’s homepage, where links to content on other websites stay or go away depending on how many people “digg” or vote for that content. The more diggs, the longer the content stays on the homepage. A hundred or two hundred diggs can often be enough to get your content there. The savvy marketer can use traffic generated from a Digg homepage link to generate leads, signups, awareness, and revenue. An entrepreneur with a good, web-based business idea could practically guarantee the instant success of his or her business with a link from Digg’s homepage.
So how do you get on Digg’s homepage? You could either have something so interesting that people will be naturally motivated to digg it, you can email all your friends and ask them to digg it, or you can just hire 300 people in India to digg it. That’s the topic of a recent post by Seth Godin, and it could spell the end of Digg as we know it, just as they come out of their beta phase.
Digg’s democratization of content is running into the same problems inherent with any democracy. Voting blocs can be created, voters can be kept out by “tests” (many of the people I’ve tried to get to set up digg accounts quit because they got confused), and votes can be bought. The US government creates laws to prevent some of these problems and prosecutes offenders, but what is Digg to do? How do they know whether something is being dugg by a legitimate group of 300 separate individuals, or 300 people in Romania who were paid to digg a particular article? Sure, they might be able to detect what country diggs are coming from, but then a company will figure out how to hire 300 people from various parts around the world. It’s a game of cat and mouse and we can only hope that Digg is working on a solution to the problem.
In the meantime, marketers and PR types who want to promote themselves or their clients should be getting in while the gettin’s good.