The World’s Largest Shout Number 1 for 3 days

What is Digg?

Digg is a site owned by Kevin Rose which allows the members to post items which interest them for other members to read and Digg (vote upon). If you go to the Digg site and read the information they give out about themselves on their About Us page, you will note that Digg says 3 things about themselves:

1. Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web.

2. Once something is submitted, other people see it and Digg what they like best.

3. Digg is all about sharing and discovery, there’s a conversation that happens around the content.

What is a shout?

What exactly is a shout? Well according to the Digg FAQ, a shout is “a message that can be sent between two or more users on Digg.” There is a long explanation, but as of the time of this writing, there were no limits set upon how many URLs one could place in a Shout.

Is Digg a SPAM site?

If asked my opinion on this, I would have to say “No it isn’t“. When registering as a member of Digg, you are made aware that the site is for the posting and sharing of content, which makes the emails and shouts you get from the other members on Digg as outside the realm of SPAM.

If you read my blog post on SPAM, I discuss what SPAM is, and what it is not… and the key to an item being SPAM lies in whether the item is unsolicited and unwanted… it doesn’t necessarily lie in the fact of whether you don’t care for what is being sent to you or whether something posted to a site is liked by all members. When signing up to Digg you are saying that it’s ok to send me your Fluff, your garbage, your inane submittals. It is not a matter of whether you think an item someone else submitted is “Newsworthy”, it‘s whether the submitter thinks the item is “Digg Worthy“… at least in theory this is how things are supposed to be.

Why did you sign up for Digg?

One of the reasons for going to Digg was because I knew there were several people interested in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Social Marketing. It took me 3 days to not only find out that articles of this nature were being buried, or marked as possibly having inaccurate content (what a cop out! That type of comment would never pass muster on a real message board.), but I’ve found blog posts dating back to over a year which offered similar complaints. Digg might be a great place if you wanted to know where Paris Hilton passed out last night or whether Dog Hair is responsible for global warming, but it’s not such a great place if your interest lies in actual conversation or in topics which you can‘t find on 10 Million other sites across the net.

Why post a shout containing 66 URLs?

During the 2 weeks I’ve been a member of Digg, I was assaulted with emails requesting me to “Digg (and share) this!”. People didn’t care what they asked you to Digg, and many didn’t pay particular attention to how often they asked you to Digg an item. All they seemed to do was to submit an article and send mass shouts. Every so often they would resubmit their shouts not paying attention to who had already Dugg the post. It was not uncommon to receive 3 and 4 requests to a Digg submission after you already Dugg that item. Sometimes the time lapse was in hours, and once in awhile in days, before receiving a new request to Digg the article you‘ve already Dugg..

Most members would send 1 URL per Digg, request, which meant you could receive 8 or 10 Digg requests per day for different articles submitted by the same person. It was not uncommon to receive requests for Diggs containing 2 to 4 URLs.

On top of it, the members would send their Digg requests asking you directly to “Comment and Share” the article they have submitted, in other cases they simply said something like “Digg This” and implied the fact that they wanted you to “Comment, Share and/or Digg“ the item. As a result what happened would be that you could receive dozens of Digg requests per day, which helps because a thing called “Net Congestion”. On the personal level I think it helps eases internet congestion by posting more than one URL per shout than it is to post 1 shout per 1 URL.

While talking out in the driveway on Sunday night, a discussion ensued over how the posts made on the topics we posted were consistently being buried. We knew that Digg was a good site for some things, but Digg did not live up to it being a good site for all topics. We discussed such articles as: Digg And Social Marketing Issues, How Google Ranks Blogs, How To Get More Diggs, How to Get More Diggs, Part 2, and How Not To Get More Diggs, and How To Get More Diggs, Digg Privacy Breach and What Shouts Mean To Your Search Rankings and how they were all being systematically pushed buried. We touched on how other blogs were making complaints strangely similar to our findings too. Such blogs as: Diggers can’t handle the truth (about SEO), How To Be A Dirty Digger, The Hypocrisy Of Digg, Digg’s Spam Policy Is Still In The Dark Ages, Digg Acts More Like Google And Less Like A Social Media Site, Digg’s 2.0 Spam Fighting Getting Reputable Domains Banned, Spamming, Sphinn, Digg and Others and Digg Upgrades Spam Armor, Unblocks Sites all seemed to have certain aspects of the same things we observed about Digg.

It was time to make a statement and see if the people at Digg, as well as the users of Digg, would pick up on it. We knew that if we persisted on the track we were on that Digg would eventually ban us, so a change in tactics was required. It was time to give Digg what they seemed to want. A site known to us called The World’s Longest URL had over 500 articles which we felt the Digg Members would love, in fact I counted and the number totaled 538 articles containing the world’s longest items. Since Digg had no policy on how many articles one could post in a day, or a certain set period of time, and it was nearing 11 PM West Coast Time, there shouldn’t have been a problem with posting as many articles as could be posted. After all, if the information provided by Chris Lang was “inaccurate”, as some “readers” reported, then surely 538 posts being submitted and shouted would elevate Digg up to the Number 1 position on the search rankings for weeks to come.

In addition, I wondered how large one could make a shout. I knew that I could only send about 66 Shouts at one time, then I had to wait about 30 minutes to send the next 66. In order to shout a message to all 280 mutual friends, more or less, I had to do it in 4 or 5 different shouts. Digg allows you to have 1,000 or more Friends in your list, the max I could get was 1,001 people, yet they didn’t allow you to Shout All of them at once. I’ve always found that stupid, to tell the truth. If they only allowed 60 or 70 shouts at one time, why not only allow 60 or 70 friends so that you could shout them all at once? Hey, that’s just the way they opted to do things, so you live with it.

At any rate, using the figure of my having only 280 people on my list, and all of them being mutual friends at the time, in order for me to shout every article at one submittal per page, I would have to send about 150,080 shouts. That was only my contribution to the Net Congestion it would cause. If every one of those Mutual Friends (that is those people who befriended me in return to my befriending them) only sent the diggs to 10 people each, which meant that the Digg Servers would have to handle an extra 2,800 shouts? As the shouts went on, the number of shouts Digg would have to handle could rank up into the millions, just for 536 submittals. Instead of doing it that way, I decided to only send 66 URLs in the first wave, then we would wait to see what happened. So I sent 82 people one shout each of 66 URLs. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, I figured over half of those people would look and delete the shout. The rest would be a mixture of people who would respond to my request due to my digging anything they sent me with out question. They might not have dugg all the submittals, but surely many would digg the first one. It was an experiment in seeing which mutual friends were willing to respond in kind and which only wanted you to Digg their stuff.

So before I submitted the large shout, I went to Digg and found out that they had no stipulation on how many posts one could submit, nor did they have a limit on how many URLs you could post at one time. Surely by now the People at Digg realized their mistake and corrected it, then again…. Maybe Not! I compiled the massive Digg and sent it out, but only sent it out to a portion of my list of Mutual Friend, as I stated above.

When we decided to quit, Digg was just waking up. The one or two members who were posting (and receiving Diggs by me, BTW, during this whole time), turned into 10 or so people. It was time to stop and see what would happen… after all, what was posted made the point., no sense in going further.

So you admit you SPAMMed Digg?

No, actually I haven’t. I refer you once again to my blog entry on SPAM and advise you to read it carefully. Everyone who signs onto Digg is informed that there is a process to share articles. It doesn’t take long to realize these shouts arrive in your email. By signing on you accept the fact that you may get articles which do not interest you in the least. There is no spam because the articles on Digg are already things you agreed to get via Shouts.

Secondly, on Digg there were no limitations set on how large a shout could be, it was not in writing nor was it set automatically in their shout program. We proved you could list 66 urls in a shout, it would have been interesting to see if 100 URLs could have been sent in one shout. The fact that someone befriends you in return solidifies the fact that there is no spamming involved because if you don’t want people to send you shouts, there are ways to stop that… even if you remove yourself from Digg.

Thirdly, I took the time and thought to try to reduce the mass mailings as much as possible. Everyone got one massive Shout, instead of everyone getting 66 shouts. I also stopped sending at 82 mutual friends, instead of doing the full 280, more or less. In addition I didn’t finish mailing all of the submittals made, I only sent out the URL for 66, instead of 538.

We can call it SPAM, in fact I can label it as SPAM myself… but technically “The World’s Largest Shout” does not pass the SPAM Litmus test for SPAM.

The World’s Largest Shout!

On Monday morning I awoke and found an IM stating we were through at Digg. I laughed and asked “What took them so long?”. Most of my sites run with 1 or 2 admins or moderators and we manage to get unwanted messages and undesirables off the system with in an hour or two. Digg is much larger than the sites I run, yet it took them over 6 hours to react.

I then found out what I thought was true, they actually banned us – along with a few people that had nothing to do with what went on in the process. This made me laugh harder at the incompetence of Digg. No other system I have been on, save one that shall remain nameless, has show incompetence to such a degree as this. Incompetent people who think they are competent are always a source of amusement with me… but that’s just my opinion.

The next thing I received was a Google search. I was told to go search Google for World’s Largest Shout and take a look. The thing that made me laugh the most was that someone took the time and effort to screenshot the monster of the shout and post it as a message entitled “The World’s Largest Shout”. This made me spit my coffee all over my keyboard, but no worries – I needed a new keyboard anyway. It was hilarious that someone actually went to that work, and what was phenomenal was that 57 people Dugg the article. In fact, despite someone at Digg burying the article, the article stands today at 73 Diggs. I wonder if it will be the first buried article to reach the front page of Digg. Too funny.

The next thing is that articles started cropping up on Propeller and Searchles. A blog appeared called Digg, So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen, Goodbye and it seems a blog appeared called You Might Be A Digger If… . People are just having a field day with this stuff and it provides much humor for some of us, it seems.

Even though Digg saw it fit to delete the World’s Largest Shout, and ban the person posting it, myself. Even though they are systematically removing all submittals which I made while at Digg. Even though they banned SexySocialMarketing, Chris Lang, and others,. Even though they are systematically deleting them in the hopes this all goes away… the members of Digg are a persistent lot. Although some may fit into the Brown-shirt class of member, who buries and complains about things they don’t like or understand… many more know humor when they see it and presses on. I’ll be watching to see if they can push this World’s Largest Shout to the first page despite the hurdles.

As Chris stated so eloquently… “So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen, Good-by” Digg. Personally I think that you have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting. You have a good site for fluff stuff, but I find more merits in the various message boards out there, where conversation is concerned, and I find other sites where people can post submittals of any topic that treats Social Marketing and SEO with the respect it deserves.

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