DiggBar Diggs Up Controversy

Recently, Digg launched a new tool known as DiggBar, which is essentially a Web gizmo that allows you to Digg items, read comments, and find related content from any point on the Web.  Sounds pretty good, right?  That’s what Digg thought until the DiggBar met with some serious backlash across the Internet.

Diggbar Fixed?
Image source: 1How on eHow

In a post entitled “The Truth About Digg’s Diggbar,” Greg at 3 Dog Media called out the DiggBar as a 1990s-era framejacking tool that uses original Web content to juice up Digg’s own statistics.

Think about it for a moment. You invest countless hours promoting your content. You get lucky enough to make the homepage of Digg, or you hit the Retweet motherload on Twitter. A certain percentage of all those people who see your content are going to copy & paste the link they land on into a blog post. (Thereby generating a link for your site).

Before the DiggBar, (and with legit shortening services) all those links would point to your url. Now, a large percentage of them are going to be links pointing to a page on Digg.

Needless to say, that has some serious potential consequences for people who rely on Digg to help them with their SEO efforts.  Some are saying that the effect of DiggBar is that people who have previously promoted their articles with “Digg it!” buttons on their site now don’t have the same incentive to do so.  After all, if Digg is going to get your link power, why let them publish your content?

DiggBar has also advertised itself as an URL shorterner, which is certainly is.  But by using a 200 code, as Danny Sullivan points out, DiggBar can essentially pull your content over to Digg without your permission.  You can shorten an URL by typing “http://digg.com” and then entering the URL you want to shorten.  But then the content on the link you’ve shortened is used on Digg.com.

Part of DiggBar’s impact is due to its quick popularity.  In a post defending the DiggBar, John Quinn at Digg the Blog provided the following statistics on April 15th:

Since the launch a little more than a week ago, roughly 45% of all Digging activity is now happening on the Diggbar and over 25% of all DiggBar users are discovering new content they otherwise wouldn’t have by viewing related stories and content from the same source.

According to the same post, the DiggBar will begin using a 301 redirect in its URL shortening service for anonymous users – however, people who are logged into their Digg accounts will still see the shortening service using a 200 code.

DiggBar Reconciliation?

Now that Digg has created a remedy in response to user feedback, is the DiggBar debate over? Has Digg done the right thing? Brent Csutoras reports:

The major change is that anyone who is not logged in as a Digg user, will not see the DiggBar, on or off Digg.com. They will instead be 301 redirected to the publisher’s site. Logged in users will see the DiggBar, unless they choose to opt-out through their personal account settings.

SEO’s and bloggers can breathe easier though many Digg users will end up seeing the Diggbar frame.

Dan Kenitz

Dan Kenitz is a former professional Search Engine Optimization specialist and current freelance writer, commentator, and all-around entrepreneur.

Leave a comment