A Little Digg

03 June 2006 · 15 comments

One of my sites just got dugg, but not in a good way.

Many of you are probably familiar with the social bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us and digg and furl. These sites allow users to share links to interesting sites with other people. Each site employs its own method of ranking the popularity of links.

Well, yesterday I thought a link that sennoma posted was funny and might make a good change of pace for my personal finance blog. It was a guide to winning things from a claw machine, one of those attractions you see in a supermarket. I posted a summary of the original article and went on my merry way.

This morning, when I came in from mowing the lawn, I checked my site stats to find an extra-ordinary number of visitors over the past hour. “What the hell?” I thought. Get Rich Slowly had received 4,000 hits from digg. “Maybe they linked to my article on choosing organic produce,” I thought. No such luck.

Somebody had ‘dugg’ the claw machine article, which had made it to the site’s front page (that’s apparently a big deal, as my traffic numbers reveal). And many digg users weren’t happy about it. Here’s a typical comment:

This guy sucks. He stole content from other peoples website and didn’t even credit them. Then linked his crappy blog to digg to get ad revenue. This is how this c*cksucker is getting rich slowly.


I registered for a digg account and posted a comment trying to clarify things, but it didn’t really matter. People had already made up their minds: I was a spammer, had posted my own link, was trying to get rich by google ads. They responded to my comment by telling me I was full of crap:

Beat it, spammer.

Oh brother. It’s not like a two-minute session with google wouldn’t verify I was telling the truth — I have a very public presence on the web. No, it’s easier to just make unfounded accusations and move on. The thing is, I shouldn’t even have dignified these bozos with a response. I forgot one of the cardinal rules of the internet, something I learned back on Usenet in the early nineties: Don’t get involved in flame wars.

I’m proud of Get Rich Slowly. I’m trying to make it a useful site for people who are working toward financial independence. I spend hours each day searching for useful information. It sucks for it to get some negative publicity, but I need to remind myself that this is a very, very small thing, especially considering the other feedback I’ve received has been uniformly positive.

And how much did I make in Google ad revenue from those 4,000 digg visitors? Less than two dollars. Here’s a question for you, diggsters: would I really sacrifice my own reputation and the reputation of my site for a couple of bucks? Maybe you would, but to me that sounds like suicide. I want this site to be strong in the long-term, to grow into something useful for many people. Why would I kill it in its infancy?

(Ha! I just checked the profile of the digg user who posted this. He’s the #28 user on the site, and has posted hundreds of stories, many of which made it to the front page. That makes this situation even more ludicrous. Regular digg users should recognize his name.)

Why do I let myself get worked up over little things like this?

1 J.D. June 3, 2006 at 13:05

Great. Now somebody has dugg a GRS post about eating healthy on an unhealthy budget, which is an entry in which I summarize an AskMetafilter conversation. I can’t wait to see how this one goes. :/

2 Alan Cordless June 3, 2006 at 14:06

Awwww JD. That’s nuthin’! Have you ever googled my name? Talk about haters!

3 Hans Friedrich June 3, 2006 at 17:33

It stings, I know, but just console yourself by remembering that the average digg commenter makes most Slashdot commenters looks like Einsteins. Out of the 3 big social bookmarking sites (del.icio.us, reddit and digg), digg routinely is the least intelligent and most kneejerk. It probably has something to do with the average user age being apparently about 19.

4 Hans Friedrich June 3, 2006 at 17:35

And BTW, I’ve been following GRS since day one and appreciate it your writing there a lot. It’s got my interested in reevaluating a lot of the spending patterns I’ve been falling into this last couple years.

5 Cat June 3, 2006 at 18:36

Oh brother.

I have thus far refused to get an account at digg, as I don’t wish to be in such company. This confirms my decision.

Oh, and the story has been buried, and the original link reposted.

6 Michael Rawdon June 3, 2006 at 20:24

I’m kind of surprised you responded on the site. If it wasn’t pinching your bandwidth and wasn’t generating irate e-mail in your mailbox, who cares what people on Digg think?

Even if Digg is a major community site with a significant fraction of Internet traffic, “this too shall pass” is still a fine mantra when it comes to one’s reputation on the Internet. It’s pretty hard to end up with a persistent bad reputation without actively cultivating it.

7 mrs darling June 3, 2006 at 20:59

Yeh check out alan at bluehole. He’s hated across the board! ;)

8 J.D. June 3, 2006 at 21:06

I’m kind of surprised you responded on the site. If it wasn’t pinching your bandwidth and wasn’t generating irate e-mail in your mailbox, who cares what people on Digg think?

I know, I know. As I told Kris: it’s as if I forgot the first lesson of Internet 101 for a moment. Fortunately, I came to my senses.

The thing is: I actually really like the Digg model and the way it works. I think the community-moderated comments are great. But, obviously the system isn’t perfect. I don’t harbor resentment at Digg or its users; I just think there were a couple of idiots doing what they do best: being ignorant.

Meanwhile, the other GRS entry that was posted made it to the front page, too. It has generated 12,000 visits over four hours. That is a lot of traffic, at least for my sites. (It’s certainly a record for the six-week old GRS, and may even break the old record here.)

9 frugal June 3, 2006 at 21:11

Your GRS site is cool & useful. Many diggsters just don’t understand how much work it is to put up such a site. It’s far easier for them to call someone a spammer without thinking than carefully reading thru the article. I read your claw machine article. It’s pithy and enjoyable. A good summary with your own inputs too. A proper credit is given thru the link too. I don’t understand what those people were thinking. I take it back. They were not thinking.

10 alan June 4, 2006 at 13:21

Hi Tammy,

I’m a bad, bad man.


11 Vilyamcs September 16, 2007 at 14:22

12 Vilyammr September 16, 2007 at 14:22

13 Vilyamze October 1, 2007 at 04:37

14 Vilyamyg October 1, 2007 at 04:37

15 Vilyamwr October 1, 2007 at 04:38

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