A Little Digg

by J.D. Roth

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?

Updated: 03 June 2006

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
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