Cracking the Digg code

What's the secret to getting Dugg? One expert shares his thoughts.

I've talked before about how powerful Digg has become , even displacing the venerable Slashdot in its power to drive traffic to one's site. Digg, however, has remained somewhat of a mystery to me in how news and blog posts actually become popular enough to hit the front page of Digg, the equivalent of "being Slashdotted," with the potential to even higher page views.

What's the secret to getting Dugg?

Digg offers a rather pedantic description of the process, but to get the low-down on the process I turned to a regular reader of this blog, and a veritable Digg rock star, Rami Taibah. With over 100 front-page stories on Digg, Taibah knows how to make Digg work.

As it turns out, however, Taibah couldn't offer me any silver bullets, but he did demystify the process. Getting Dugg is hard work and far different from Slashdot, which largely relies on writing stories of interest to its founder, Rob Malda , and his human editorial team:

Well, Digg is kind of different than Slashdot because the human interaction is almost minimal (if any). They [Digg] basically have a VERY complicated algorothim that promotes story to the front page based many factors. Digg like to put it as "the algorithm calculates the diversity of diggs," meaning that if you have a bunch of friends always digging your stuff and nobody else, you aren't going anywhere.

Hmm...so what's the secret? The secret, it turns out, is hard work, and very similar to working with open-source software: community:

Honestly, it's a tough job, but it all goes down to engaging with the community, learning what clicks with them, digging other users in upcoming section....

Taibah has a lot of friends on Digg, not all of which Digg all of his stories (which is good, as noted above, as if they did his "Digg power" on a given post would actually go down: Digg wants a diversity of people to Digg up posts and so getting the same crew to Digg you works once or twice and then fails forever more.

In summary, what's the secret of getting Dugg? Writing good content, working hard with a community of followers to ensure they see it and engage with that content, and then praying it all works. Taibah has made a science of it, but for most of us the best source of success is to focus on quality of content.

Oh, and it helps that he has 2,500-plus followers on Digg, which means that he has a ready-made audience of fans that tend to like the things he Diggs, but who's counting? :-)

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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