The US Marines And The Mormons Are Buying Votes On Digg?

from the say-what-now? dept

The LA Times has a short story on one of a bunch of companies that claims to be able to let you buy votes on Digg (as well as some other sites, but Digg is apparently the main attraction). There have been a bunch of such companies over the years, but what caught my eye was the claim in the article that among the customers of this particular company were the US Marines, the Mormon Church and the Korean Dept. of Tourism. Perhaps I don’t follow the Digg spamming world that closely, but I’d mainly assumed that it was focused on random publications or no-name companies incorrectly believing that getting onto the front page of Digg would boost the company into the big time. But the US Marines and the Mormon Church? That seems really odd. Oh, and as for the claims that if you get on the front page of Digg it can send tens of thousands of visitors to your site in a matter of hours… don’t buy into the hype. Over the past few years we’ve been on Digg’s front page a bunch of times and it certainly drives a nice stream of traffic, but never more than a few thousand visitors (sometimes significantly less). It’s always nice when one of our stories makes it, but I can’t see how the amount of traffic Digg drives could possibly be worth the rates this company supposedly charges.

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Comments on “The US Marines And The Mormons Are Buying Votes On Digg?”

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Doombringer says:


Mormons and the Marines? Sounds like a conspiracy… They are trying to convert the sheep into gun-toting polygamists. This one is weird… Its like the Army recruiting kid(pud)rock to do a music video for them. How fucking lame. The first time I saw that piece of shit was in a movie theatre, and I railed on it out loud for the entire duration of the commercials. Isn’t it sad how there are commercials before the previews now? Who the fuck thought that up? Who ever did should be kicked square in the groin. Even more reason to just bash the shit out of it. Anyways, back to the topic at hand. I wish all these assclowns would go die in a ditch.

Paul says:

Maybe it's not about hits...

Looking at those three groups, it occurs to me that maybe what they are buying are favorable mentions. It doesn’t really matter if people go to the Marines’ web site: they won’t get any extra money from that.

What they want instead is good PR: even if no one follows the link, Digg’s audience sees a headline that portrays the Marines in a positive light.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

It’s one of the problems of “public opinion” websites. Public opinion can be manufactured very easily. Take a list of open proxies, sign up 100 gmail accounts, sign up 100 digg accounts, and let your bot loose to slowly but surely click and recommend your client’s websites or blog entries.

it really isn’t that hard to do, and a number of people have done it and continue to do it. it is manipulation of public opinion at it’s finest, sort of like the people making Avril Levigne the most viewed video on youtube by using refreshes and multiple loads on a page. Buzz can be faked, and hey, it’s “FREE!”.

Bill says:

Re: Re:

Who’s Avril Levigne? Seriousy, I vaguely recall having heard the name, but I have no clue who she(?) is.

Anyway, I agree with you for once, but I think it’s funny that you’re aware of this fact. That tells me people take notice of such things and that tells me it could probably be used by smalltown bands to create buzz around their names and get them noticed in the larger news and music communities.

By the way, I visited your web site. Just wondering, did you license all those images? I could be wrong but I don’t think they’re all in the public domain. You didn’t steal them did you? Nah, surely not, you wouldn’t misuse someone elses intellectual property without compensating them would you.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Bill, welcome to the wonderful world of fair use, the true version. Ask your lawyer, I did. Heck, Google did too, and that issue has long been settled.

As for the small town bands using it, one of the problems of the internet is the ability for people to contort the system to fake public opinion. The bands won’t break out, they will just raise the noise level some more and crowd out other stuff. Abused enough, public opinion sites become worthless.

Bill says:

Re: Re:

Thanks for answer Harold, you clarified your beliefs very well there.

They’re sort of a “Yeah, they did all the work to create the images, and they hold copyright, but technically by the law I can use them without paying for them so I’m cool with that, even if that means the poor saps don’t profit.”

On the other hand the uses that are usually at issue here are plainly and clearly within the intent of copyright but edging toward the grey area when it comes to certain businesses interpretations of the legal terminology. In that case you’re all for compensation and restricting use.

It’s plain and clear that you really don’t care at all about compensating creators or rights holders or making it easy for them to continue creating, you only care that the letter of the law is followed, and then mostly when it’s beneficial to big business.

By the way, it’s really interesting that you credit the internet with making it easy to fake public opinion. The entire business plan of the radio and recording industries is to generate fake buzz and popularity to drive public interest towards the “stars” they’ve selected to groom.

Art says:

Re: Re: Re:

Which is exactly why the recording industry is becoming increasingly irrelevent. They keep selecting and grooming low talent hacks that are easy to market (hot, controversial) over talented artists. Ignoring the pre-teens and teens that still fall for those tricks the rest of the audience is getting tired of it and looking elsewhere for good music.

Petréa Mitchell says:

Sure, I believe it

With the publicity war the Mormons have found themselves fighting since Proposition 8, I could see them desperate to get some positive buzz out there. I note that the article doesn’t say the Mormons have been using this service on an ongoing basis, just that they have used it a minimum of one time.

As for the Marines… only a few thousand visitors? A few thousand interested visitors skewed toward the young, tech-savvy demographic that the Marines would so love to recruit from? That sounds like way better value for $200 than a straight Internet ad campaign.

Shawn says:

Re: Sure, I believe it

“With the publicity war the Mormons have found themselves fighting since Proposition 8, I could see them desperate to get some positive buzz out there. I note that the article doesn’t say the Mormons have been using this service on an ongoing basis, just that they have used it a minimum of one time.”

I have a feeling the Morman church might see the publicity they have been getting from Prop8 as “positive coverage”. However, they are marketing a brand like any other (and they obviously know this) so I can see where pretending your brand is the new hip and popular thing would be something they might jump on (especially with the DIGG demographic, the same one the Marines want . . . teenagers).

Rick says:

Now I Understand

Over the past few months Digg has had this odd up and down effect of conservativism, something very strange for a longtime Digg user to see. It’s not just the overly biased conservative articles, it’s in the comments too.

Anti-gay, socialistic accusations and pro-Rush type articles and comments will be everywhere for a bit, but then they fade away again, as if people were going on and off shift at work…

Max Kayden (user link) says:

digg traffic

I’ve written some non-linkbait articles that frontpaged on digg and reddit before. I’d say that reddit traffic is much greater than digg’s. Although, my articles aren’t bullshit top 10 lists or apple/google rumors, so the fact that reddit’s userbase is slightly more sophisticated than digg’s might also have contributed.

Statistically, when an article frontpages, I’d roughly get about 5k hits for every 100 diggs. But digg’s presentation algorithm is a threshold queue — the feed is ordered based on when the link reached the threshold number of diggs. Comparatively, reddit just compares votes vs time, so a link can hover on the front page for a LONG time if people keep voting it up.

Then again, unless you’re in the advertising specialty of branding (a CPI industry — not to be confused with sales, which is a CPM industry), the traffic from these sites is generally worthless as it’ll drop your CPM down to $.15 or less (myspace CPM is like $.08 – $.10 depending on your source). And to add on top of that, the vast majority will be using ad-block. I’m not saying that we should have laws to change this… just that in this CPM prevalent industry, aggregators send you a whole ton of worthless traffic.

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