Have Digg Account, Will Submit

from the gaming-the-system dept

One of the questions that’s continually raised about Digg (and indeed, many other social media sites) is for how long users will tolerate doing the manual labor for sites without receiving any sort of financial remuneration. Obviously, the idea with something like Digg is that the users’ work benefits themselves by creating the site — in essence, free access to the flow of stories from the collective body of readers is the payment for submitting and ranking stories. Some social media sites have tried to change this by paying people to submit items to the site, but that’s something Digg has sworn it will never do. However, apparently popular Digg users are being solicited by companies (via Techmeme) to promote their stories in exchange for payment. It’s hardly surprising, but it’s an interesting problem for Digg, or any site where the “top” users hold a lot of influence. It’s a question of incentives: if Digg offered users a way to profit, would they be less interested in schemes to profit from selling their influence and gaming the system? Some sites are already using revenue-sharing plans, where submitters of popular stories and highly-rated opinions get a share of ad revenues. Of course, even with such a plan in place, there will be some users that will still sell their “services” to others seeking to gain some online attention, but if a revenue-sharing system is viable, it would remove (or at least lessen) the incentive to do so for many users. Some people try to frame the issue of payment almost as a moral one, that it’s only right for these users to be paid for their work. But moral superiority isn’t the main concern for social media sites here — they may be forced to start paying users to try and protect the integrity of their systems.

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Comments on “Have Digg Account, Will Submit”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This is just a reformulation of an old conundrum. Is a payment a bribe if it is just paying you to do/say what you would have done/said anyway? And a person who is not getting paid–are his motives pure anyway? Money may or may not have to do with any of it. But our decision typically is to assume the worst, that any such payment is a dirty bribe.

If I was a lead digger, and word got out that I had received money… how would my colleagues react? Maybe my motives are as pure as ever but I will not be trusted.

Ryan (profile) says:


I used to write for shoutwire.com (a digg clone). To date, I have one of the most popular editorials to date, but I quite for this reason.

They took a direction that was purely “what can we do to make money at the expense of user experience and site quality” and that was enough for me.

I don’t know if that’s the attitude at digg, but once it becomes about making profit, the site quality goes to hell.

I’d wager that the spam outweighs the legit stuff heavily. The only incentive I have to submit stuff to Digg is to submit stuff I write myself.

Search Engines (user link) says:


As a former top member, the fact that Digg was offering a free valuable service, making it quite easy to get updated information from a variety of sources and about a variety of topics, was motivaton enough to contribute.

After all, Digg is paying the hosting and maintanence on this very expensive undertaking – all the users have to do is type in a URL 24/7 to be informed

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