Digg 5 Years Old

I just received a mail by digg.com celebrating their 5th anniversary and I thought it was worth commemorating this event with a post. Digg is one of the biggest social bookmarking websites. Inspired by slashdot, Kevin Rose, then 27 years old, founded digg on December 4th, 2004. Since then the site overtook slashdot in popularity and spawned itself many imitations. In this post there is more on digg.

Digg is a do-follow social bookmarking site with pagerank 7, very popular with news submitters. At alexa rank 99 (as of Jan 2010) it is one of the biggest social bookmarking sites by traffic volume (compare other social bookmarking sites by traffic, do-follow status, and pagerank).

People from digg created a promotional video about their anniversary, which you find below.

I looked up the search volume trend at google trend where I found the number given in the video of about 30,000 monthly visitors roughly confirmed. According to google websites trends, digg.com had about about 1.4 million unique daily visitors. At the same link address you'll see that digg's growth seemed to stagnate in 2009.

Search volume for search volume for the term digg.

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of digg in all years. Learn more
 Rank by   
Digg.comNewsBusters - May 2 2007   
Digg and MicrosoftTechnology News Daily - Jul 26 2007   
Google + Digg?InformationWeek - Jul 23 2008   
VCs shovel another $28.7 million into DiggBusinessWeek - Sep 24 2008   
Digg Ads: Digg or Bury Ads to express your opinionOzel Web Tasar $(C)% (Bm - Jun 4 2009   
Reddit Runs Elaborate Secret Santa ExchangeNewsNet5.com - Dec 17 2009   
More news results »

The graph shows that search volume for digg (in light blue) increases very much until 2007. In fact you can see that the term digg passes slashdot (yellow) in popularity in the beginning of 2006. The letter A marks the digg revolt. This was when Digg, prompted by legal threats, took down a news with more than 10,000 votes about the decryption of HD-DVDs. Because of massive protests they put the news on-line again. Since then, since May 2007, search volume for digg has been going down slowly but steadily, while competitors such as reddit (in red), and stumbleupon (green) have been catching up.

Many people go to webpages searching for the name of the webpage, so search volume for the name of the webpage could be indicative of its visitor statistics. On the other side, many regular visitors may have bookmarked the page or may have learned it URL (it's short enough), so search statistics alone may just as well be misleading.

However, looking at Alexa pageview statistics for 2009 for digg.com sems to confirm the impression that digg does not grow that much anymore. See alexa statistics for digg.com in the image below.
Alexa statistics for pageviews on digg.com

Unfortunately Alexa.com and compete.com do provide statistics only for time periods until two years and a half.

Is digg being overtaken by other sites? What is your impression of digg.com or other social bookmarking sites for that matter?

If you liked this article you might be interested in other articles on My Outsourced Brain. Some time ago I summarized information from several scientific studies about how and when to submit articles to digg, you might want to check it out. If you want to put a digg widget on your blog, you could be interested in my post about social voting widgets.

37 Responses to "Digg 5 Years Old"

The chart is a little hard to read as the color labeling didn't come through. Thanks

Thanks, Steve, for pointing this out. Somehow the HTML color coding didn't want to work anymore. I changed the legend colors now to correspond at least roughly to the graph, so it should be better readable.

The story of Digg is fascinating.

There are so many parallels to what happened to "cutting edge" print publications like Rolling Stone and Wired, once they became established and the world took them for granted. The Internet is saturated with social networking sites these days. Click on one of those "Share This" icons the next time you see one. You will be given a choice of over 50 different social networking and bookmark sites where you can forward your message. Overkill? Probably so.

Digg probably isn't growing as fast as it was a few years ago. Let's face it, when your grandmother gets a Facebook page and starts using Digg, it's probably time to move on.

I agree, there are way too many social bookmarking sites out there now, all trying to ride on the coat tails of the old, original sites like Digg and Del.icio.us. The net is full of clutter.

@John Sealander: I think you are hitting the nail on the head with your nice explanation of what's happening. I think what we see in the google search volume trend is exactly that. People already know digg (means they don't have to search), and they maybe some don't even want to hear of it anymore. I think also that for Digg popularity has also a negative side. If articles get voted by more and more people people it means that articles will have to correspond to interest of many and also will get less interesting on average to any single person.

@self defense Rob: I think what we can see today is that it is so easy to start up your own social bookmarking site that the market is getting very fragmented. I think you are right in that without some filter mechanism you can get easily lost. On the other side, the fragmentation means that for any niche interest you can find some dedicated social site or you put up your own one with no effort at all (e.g. a sub-reddit for social bookmarks or a a ning for social networks). For anybody who wants to dedicate him/herself to some special topic and connect to like-minded people this is a great advantage. For bloggers or website owners who want to get readers from social websites, this complicates things but also gives new possibilities. If you ever tried to submit an article to digg you probably noticed that there are so many articles on digg submitted every minute on many popular topics that it is very hard to make an impression. However, there might be a social site for your new article with the right audience and little competition.

I like digg and find many interesting articles out there on the site. I use it to submit my own blogs as well and get decent traffic. Thanks for the informative post.

@Poetic Shutterbug: Thanks for your comment, Jo. I also like digg, but I don't browse it often. I sometimes get traffic from there but found that I could have concentrated better on other sites such as stumbleupon, propeller, or shetoldme.

My experience with Digg was limited, but I couldn't help but notice a political slant to what was promoted and what was "buried". I'm not political at all, but I appreciate both sides of issues, and it seemed like there was a notable slant to the volume of articles that were "dugg", enough so that I moved on to other sites instead.

yea..i got email from Digg lol..im not really active there...hmm dont know how its works. but thanks for the info

@Rob: My guess would be that the slant you observe should correspond to digg's main audience, US-American college-educated male between 25 and 34 without children who visits from home (see more about digg in my article how digg works).

@Richarie: It can be pretty useful to know how digg works. I did a short review of scientific literature about digg to help understanding its dynamics, which you find in the article, how digg works.

I can't believe Digg has been around so long already. Ugh getting old :-)

@VetTech: It's really a long time. I haven't used digg a lot, but when I see wikipedia I also have the feeling of getting old ;).

very nice and informative blog !
thanks a lot for enriching with great information.

I haven't tried Digg yet but I heard about it. Am I just to out of this world? LOL

I will try this out one of these days. Based from the comments of this post, it looks it will really drive traffic to your site.

@Junezach: Digg can bring a lot of visitors to your blog and it's worth trying. Other social networking or bookmarking sites can also bring a lot of visits. Last month, Slashdot and Stumbleupon brought me about 10,000 visits in two days and I still get visits. You can find several articles about social bookmarking on this blog. If you want to try out digg you might want to see my review of how digg works.

@S B Tamare: Thanks a lot! Enjoy.

the info in this post is useful to me. i believe digg is a great social bookmarking. thus, i want to try it later. nice blog, thank u.

@b-points: Good luck and thanks for the feedback!

I never got any significant traffic from Digg, but I guess that's purely because I didn't spend anytime socially networking in Digg

@Michael Aulia: Part of the success on digg is luck and connections, however I never made much of an effort to socialize on digg and even though I never made the front page, I got some nice traffic through digg.

digg is very useful site. so, naturally if digg became no. 1 and most popular

@aria utomo: Digg is probably still one of the most innovative social bookmarking sites. However if you look at the trends of digg compared with twitter and facebook (and possibly now google buzz), you can see that their popularity is overtaking digg-likes. This could maybe serve to show a trend towards a focus on the individual versus on the collective.

Just dropped to take a closer look of your blog. It's fantastic! Lot of colorful stuffs througout...keep it up!

@Anti Aging: Thanks for your compliments. I am currently taking a hiatus from writing for personal reasons but I hope to come back soon.

wow is very nice site, is my first time to visiting here, can we link x-change? tell me

Apparently he might be swimming in too much money. Especially since he switched up most of the Digg submissions to a no-follow. We all know that unless you're getting thousands of Diggs, you're not going to get a good link towards your website.

I've been using Digg since then... Glad that it's one of the referring site that drives traffic to my blog...

@Free Microsoft Points: You seem to be right. If I search on google links to my own site, digg is not among them and I now see that most of them are actually no-follow. So digg counts for backlinks to your site (a statistics important on some ad networks which also shows up on alexa), but does not contribute much for pagerank.

@Webthesurfi Rugs Webdesign: Good luck with your submissions.

@otomotive and business: I usually don't do link exchanges per se, however I am interested in guest authoring and guest authors. If you are interested in writing an article please contact me. You can also do so if you want me to write about some topic on your blog. Please note that comments are do-follow on this blog, so you already get some link love from myoutsourcedbrain.

Such a nice blog, love your post so much, I hope you always happy to share this every single day... and have a nice day :)

Congrats for DIGG...

Congrats, Happy birthday DIGG :D

Thanks for this info... I use DIGG for promotion my site

Everyone, thanks for the feedback.

@Lengka: "I hope you always happy to share this every single day..." Is this some hint that I should update my blog more often? ;) Because if it is, you are certainly right.

A friend of mine asked me the top 3 websites for content sharing. One of those I suggested Digg... Just wondering though what's new in Digg now...

Digg is laying off people. According to Nick Bilton from the New York Times blogs, slow growth and problems competing with facebook and twitter could be responsible for this cut of staff.

thanks for the info and explanation provided

very nice and informative blog !
thanks a lot for enriching with great information

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