Digg, an Open Community Success Story

With the launch of Digg 3.0 only a few days away, Digg has been generating a ton of news. I started using Digg back in November and have found it to be a great way to get the very latest tech news. Even before stories hit the home page, I find myself scouring the Digg for Stories Cloud View for recently submitted stories that are moving up the queue toward the front page.

The stats are amazing. According to TechCrunch:

“Digg is looking more and more like the newspaper of the web, and is challenging even the New York Times on page views (Digg surpassed rival Slashdot long ago).

About 800,000 unique visitors come to Digg every day, generating 9 million plus page views. The site is doubling in traffic every two months. And the amazing thing is that Digg does all of this with just 15 employees.” (TechCrunch)

The reason that they can do this with only 15 employees is because they effectively utilize an active and open user community. There are no editors on Digg. Users submit the stories and the community selects which stories are promoted to the front page by digging interesting stories (essentially voting on them). Users can also comment on the stories and rate the comments of others thus providing an active commentary and additional opinions on any story. The community is also self-policing to some degree. Any story can be flagged by a user as inaccurate or as spam, and there are additional people and algorithms at work on the back end at Digg to identify anyone using false account or bots to artificially promote a story to the home page.

The above stats are particularly amazing when you consider that Digg only covers technology news. This brings us to the news of the Digg 3.0 launch. Digg will be redesigned, and in addition to technology, they will add categories for entertainment, gaming, science, world & business, and online video. Some people are skeptical about whether or not Digg will be successful in other categories:

“Digg users will still be sitting in comfy chairs while other people put on body armor to report from war zones. Digg (and every news filter for that matter) is a leech on every news gatherer, from blogger journalists to institutional journalists.” (Publishing 2.0)

This misses the point. First, Digg is a global community where people living in “war zones” can participate. Second, Digg is not a leech on news gatherers; Digg helps provide visibility for stories that might not get noticed otherwise. Over the past year, a number of stories have gained momentum on Digg before they hit the traditional press.

Digg is not without faults. Sometimes the sensationalist and the bizarre are promoted to the front page over stories that seem more newsworthy (in my humble opinion), and the comments can get pretty nasty at times (this has improved tremendously now that we can vote on user comments!) Despite the flaws, I am looking forward to the Digg 3.0 launch.

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One Response to Digg, an Open Community Success Story

  1. iganit says:

    Guys How about this story

    An Unassuming Wife Brings Web 2.0 to Atlanta Service Providers

    Atlanta, GA (PRWeb) February 5, 2007 — Mamtha was an unassuming new bride when she moved to the USA. Although Mamtha A (short for Anantharaman) was marrying a software programmer, she had no aspirations to become an Internet entrepreneur and innovator. Launching an edgy Web 2.0 web application called AtlantaBestBargains.com was the farthest thing from her mind when she first arrived in the United States from India. She would probably have lived the life of a dutiful wife like so many traditional women from her country if the adage “necessity is the mother of invention” didn’t still ring so true. The necessity she sees is the need for people in Atlanta to be able to obtain quality services from competent service providers and professionals. Mamtha was frustrated in her search for a reliable contractor to fix her leaky roof. Her calls for quotes often went unanswered, and therefore, she found the process demoralizing.

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    Then, it occurred to her that if http://www.ebay.com can match buyers and sellers together efficiently for items, why couldn’t she do the same thing for services in Atlanta? Mamtha and her husband’s brain child http://www.iGanit.com (ganit is an Indian word for “calculate”) was born by launching http://www.AtlantaBestBargains.com as a Web 2.0 marketplace for the city. Web 2.0 is the evolution of the Internet as a platform for software applications beyond the traditional website or blog.

    Web 2.0 could be best described as the next generation of websites that are moving beyond static content towards providing rich interactive and social networking features. Myspace.com, YouTube.com, and Digg.com are examples of popular Web 2.0 websites which enable their users to network and share content, music, videos and opinions. The importance of Web 2.0 applications can be illustrated in the buyout of these popular web destinations by major corporations. It is common knowledge that News Corp shelled out 580 million dollars for MySpace.com and Google invested 1.65 billion in acquiring YouTube.com. These sites or web applications have become almost as popular as search engines, the mainstays of Web 1.0. But the ramifications of all of this would have been lost on Mamtha when she first arrived here.

    Mrs. A, as she affectionately refers to herself, left the beautiful city of Bangalore with little more than great hopes and expectations about the US as the land of opportunity. Mamtha has very fond memories of her homeland but is happy about her decision to move here. Initially, she was a bit bored with her new life and began looking for work in Atlanta. Eventually, she found employment, but her next challenge was to learn to drive. In India, people, women in particular either find a bus or an auto rickshaw if they want to go somewhere, but here in Atlanta, this is not an option.

    Ms. Anantharaman subsequently learned to drive because she needed to drive herself to her work place. It was so liberating, although she does admit that, initially, driving on I-285 was daunting. These are just some of the small victories she had in her new homeland.

    Despite the sense of freedom driving gave her, Ms. Anantharaman tired of Atlanta’s rueful daily commute. So Mamtha stayed at home and tried to find jobs that she could perform from home to avoid commuting daily. Finding gainful home-based employment is challenging at best. She tried working for companies by coordinating with people from other countries and ended up working early in the morning, late in the night, and in between as well. Above all, she was always exhausted and restless.

    Mamtha reflects “the inner joy of doing a job and earning your own money was missing.” Mamtha sees AtlantaBestBargains.com as a double win for her to work from home. She feels AtlantaBestBargains.com and iGanit.com will enable her “to do something on her own as an entrepreneur and also make a difference in people’s lives.” She especially sees it helping small business owners who offer great service at low cost. Ms. Anantharaman opines that “the big companies often win people’s business with their huge brand name and then subcontract the work to someone else at a fraction of the price they charge their customers.” In contrast, AtlantaBestBargains.com will enable people in the city to buy and sell services safely and securely. Her site features a rating system for service providers so buyers can feel secure knowing they are acquiring services from a reputable company or individual with a track record on their system. These types of rating systems tend to discourage fraud on Web 2.0 services or older sites like eBay.

    While AtlantaBestBargains.com will lend itself to the selling of some products like cars, real estate, collectibles, used merchandise, and even employment listings, its primary focus will be on facilitating the service marketplace. Moreover, http://www.iGanit.com and http://www.AtlantaBestBargains.com will be one of the first service marketplaces to allow users to upload video promotions by service professions. It is inevitable that video content would emerge on the web beyond just entertainment and geared towards business promotion, and in this regard, Mamtha Anantharaman is giving Atlanta a vision of Web 2.0 to come.

    ###

    iGanit

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