DiggBar, the Game Changer – 4 Ways Internet Marketers Can React

April 8, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

diggbar feedbackIf you’re a Digg fanboy (or girl) you know that the social bookmarking site implemented a significant change last week that generated a ton of buzz in the online world – the launch of the Diggbar. It’s something so simple yet it has the potential to make a big impact, both for Digg and for social marketers everywhere. From Digg’s standpoint, the move is genius. Kevin Rose and crew are doing everything in their power to pump up pageviews and increase advertising revenue. And the Diggbar should do just that, although somewhat artificially. For Internet marketers, the story is quite different. The Diggbar essentially eliminates all SEO value from links on Digg and it “steals” publishers’ content and links. Good for Digg, bad for you.

What exactly is the Diggbar?

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, the DiggBar basically acts as a URL shortener and frames all external pages underneath the bar. This way users never leave Digg and and are encouraged to visit more Digg pages, vote up stories, and share content.

You can see a screenshot of an example page below:

Muhammad Saleem has a great writeup on the DiggBar over at Mashable. Check out the article if you’re interested in learning more about what the DiggBar is and what it’s not.

Implications for Internet marketers

Users never leave Digg you say? If you’re an online marketer promoting your content through Digg, this means a number of things. First of all, you won’t receive any SEO link value should your article hit the front page of the Digg. All those links that were once valuable are now nothing but rubbish in terms of SEO. Furthermore, you also miss out on secondary links when you write a good linkbait piece. Lazy webmasters will inevitably link to the Digg URL rather than your own and of course you lose out on the link value. At least you still get the traffic and pageviews from Digg, right? Sure, but with the DiggBar taking up primary real estate, more and more people will go back to Digg rather than navigating your own site. Again… good for Digg, bad for you.

Now that you know how the DiggBar affects your marketing efforts online, I want to present you with four different options that you can take. What you do is up to you, but it’s pretty clear that a lot of marketers are not happy with Digg right now.

4 Possible Reactions to the DiggBar for Marketers

1. Embrace the DiggBar – proceed as usual
The DiggBar is a big change with negative effects for marketers, but you can’t deny the fact that Digg still sends boatloads of traffic. One option is to ignore the SEO benefits and promote on Digg for its social traffic potential. If everyone leaves Digg, then hey, maybe there will be less competition and it’ll be easier to hit the front page.

2. Abandon ship – Digg just isn’t worth it anymore
Sick of the DiggBar? It might be a good time to abandon ship and focus your marketing efforts elsewhere – like Twitter. Patrick Altoft expresses this sentiment pretty well in a post entitled Digg just totally killed linkbait.

Here are some noteworthy comments from the article:
I’ve been saying this for over a year – why are marketers marketing Digg? Clearly, Digg doesn’t give a damn about you guys.
Tamar Weinberg

Digg is trying to do everything in its power to be profitable and if that means screwing everyone but them on the way they will do it. I haven’t relied on Digg for links for over a year, plus the links I see from SU or Reddit or Twitter users and their blogs are far more quality than 99% of the lazy blogger links you get from Digg users. I have had articles get 1,000 links just from Twitter passing it around and people finding it that way. We don’t need Digg anymore.
Chris Bennett

3. Fight back – block the DiggBar
Digg may be trying to take advantage of your content for their own gain, but there is a way to fight back. Inserting a simple frame-busting Javascript code into your pages breaks the DiggBar and prevents it from loading. There’s even a Frame Buster plugin for WordPress to make it easier to implement (tip: All Things SEM). If you want to protect your content on Digg, then it might be a good idea to go this route – even if you’re not actively promoting on the site.

4. Game the system – take advantage of the DiggBar
Finally, there’s always a way to take a bad situation and use it to your advantage. When life throws lemons, you gotta make lemonade, right? Michael Gray has a great post on how to abuse the new DiggBar for both fun and profit where he basically suggests using the new Digg URLs to rank for keywords (based on domain authority – aka parasite hosting). The method works pretty well in general (e.g. see the top listings for buy viagra). However, at the time of this writing it looks like Digg implemented a robots noindex tag on all of the shortened Digg URLs. This probably means that none of them will get indexed in Google.

Nevertheless, if you have technical skills, I’m sure you can take advantage of loopholes like this and profit off of the DiggBar. Any other ideas?

The DiggBar is a game changer for social marketing on Digg. How will you react? Be sure to take part in the poll and leave a comment on this post!

How will you react to the DiggBar?

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12 Responses to “DiggBar, the Game Changer – 4 Ways Internet Marketers Can React”

Daehee on April 8th, 2009

Great post! Enjoyed Graywolf’s article for parasite hosting as well.

Gyutae Park on April 9th, 2009

Thanks Daehee, good to see you back here. 🙂 How’s life after the Google Online Marketing Challenge? Making some money?

Jared O'Toole on April 8th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Definitely good and bad sides to the digg bar. For now I think I will simply ignore it. I have never used digg to any real extent anyway. I think there are a lot more effective ways to promote your stuff online and off. However if you are heavily involved in digg it could be a big advantage. But I dont think people should jump to digg or jump away.

Gyutae Park on April 9th, 2009

Hey Jared,
Digg caters to a very specific crowd so I think its effectiveness as a marketing tool really depends on what you’re promoting. I think you’re right in that people don’t necessarily need to make a clear cut decision about Digg (either stick with it or abandon it). The reactions are split up in this post the way they are to get a better understanding of marketers’ opinions on the issue.

Jared O'Toole on April 9th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

That’s very true that digg has a specific crowd. From that standpoint marketers could/should take advantage of it if their stuff falls into the right categories.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
TJ Kelly on April 9th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I wrote a bit about this, calling DiggBar an “SEO-killer.” But, after reading John Quinn’s post explaining the details, I’ve been converted.

The DiggBar doesn’t seem to be causing any harm for SEO or pageviews, and if it generates more traffic, it’s a win-win.

I wrote more about the DiggBar and it’s implications on SEO: http://www.tjkwebdesign.com/2009/04/diggbar-not-seo-killer/ Check it out!


Pituitary Gland on April 10th, 2009

I’m linking the idea of abusing the DiggBar until it gets taken away – that way it’s a win-win situation 🙂

shanker Bakshi on April 11th, 2009

MY FIREFOX already has StumbleBar, Entrebar, My own site’s Bar lets put one more DiggBar

Lester Cafe on April 14th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I’ve used and abused digg still they have specific ways where and when they would help you as a marketing tool. So even though how much you use digg it will always be kept!

Gyutae Park on April 22nd, 2009

Update: Looks like Digg has acted on some of the criticism and feedback they received from SEOs.

“The major change is that anyone who is not logged in as a Digg user, will not see the DiggBar, on or off Digg.com. They will instead be 301 redirected to the publisher’s site. Logged in users will see the DiggBar, unless they choose to opt-out through their personal account settings.”


Chris Peterson on December 30th, 2009

By using digg bar we can find related content and we able to share our comment.

traverten on January 11th, 2011 Subscribed to comments via email

Kevin Rose and crew are doing everything in their power to pump up pageviews and increase advertising revenue. And the Diggbar should do just that, although somewhat artificially. For Internet marketers,

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