Jan 29, 2010

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.

Jan 15, 2010

Widgets for Most Popular Articles on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, Propeller, and Reddit

One of the most appealing elements on a webpage are "popular posts". There are several possibilities to get popular posts, e.g. by number of comments or visitor statistics. In this post I present 5 widgets that display your highest voted posts from social websites. These widgets can serve to increase visitor involvement and as navigational element. Some of these widgets display a vote or bookmark button and can help you to attract more visitors by social recommendations.

I thought why not install a widget that displays popularity in terms of votes, motivates people to vote, and thereby attract more visitors, while at the same time serving as navigational elements.

I was searching several of the most popular social websites to find possibilities to get such widgets. I found such widgets for Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Delicious, and Propeller.

Here you find demos: Twitter Demo, Digg Demo, Reddit Demo, Delicious Demo, Propeller Demo

For each widget I will show a javascript code which you can simply copy and paste with very few changes that I indicate. You can do so without any knowledge of HTML or javascript. In blogger you can create a new HTML widget in layout, paste the code, and there you go with a new widget.

Digg - Most Dugg

<script type="text/javascript">
digg_id = 'digg-widget-container'; //make this id unique for each widget you put on a single page.
digg_title = 'title';
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://digg.com/tools/widgetjs"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://digg.com/tools/services?type=javascript&amp;callback=diggwb&amp;endPoint=%2Fuser%2Fusername%2Fsubmissions&amp;count=5&sort=digg_count-desc"></script>

Change username for your digg user name and title for the title you want to see displayed in the widget. You can change the number of posts displayed by changing 5 to any other number.

Reddit Most Popular

<script src="http://es.reddit.com/user/username/submitted.embed?limit=5&sort=hot" type="text/javascript"></script>

Change username for your reddit account name. You can change the number of posts displayed by changing 5 to any other number.

Propeller Most Popular

For this widget I had to create a yahoo pipe.
<script type="text/javascript">
function pipeCallback(obj) {
var i;
for (i = 0; i < obj.count ; i++)
var href = "'" + obj.value.items[i].link + "'";
var item = "<li>" + "<a href=" + href + ">" + obj.value.items[i].title + "</a> </li>";
<script src= "http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_render=json&_callback=pipeCallback&
_id=6e954c49f0ea1f933e9faf78321799a1&userid=username&num=5" type="text/javascript"></script>

Again you should put in your username, this time at propeller, and you can change the number of posts displayed.

Delicious Recent Bookmarks

Delicious provides a linkroll, which sorts your bookmarks alphabetically or by date.
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/js/username?title=Most Popular on Delicious&icon=m&count=5&sort=date&tags&extended&name&showadd"></script>

Put in your username and there you see it on your blog.

Twitter - Most Tweeted Posts

This is the longest code, fear not. At the end are the options you'll have to change, indicated in bold.

<style type="text/css">
/* ul list */
ul.pot li{
border-bottom:silver 1px solid;
margin:1px 0 1px 0;
/* height:50px; */
/* link span */
ul.pot span.pot-url{
ul.pot span.pot-url a{
ul.pot span.pot-url a:hover{

/* tweet content */
ul.pot span.pot-tweet{

/* link meta : tweets, score,.. line */
ul.pot span.pot-meta {
margin:3px 0 0;
ul.pot span.pot-meta a{
ul.pot span.pot-meta a:hover{
/* tweeter username span */
ul.pot span.pot-tweeter{
padding:0 2px;
/* tweets count span */
ul.pot span.pot-tweets{
padding:0 2px;
/* score span */
ul.pot span.pot-score{
padding:0 2px;

/* customize @user links */
ul.pot a.pot-at { }
/* customize #hashtags links */
ul.pot a.pot-hashtag { }
<!-- required CSS :END -->

<!-- required javascript :include once -->
<script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.3.2/jquery.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="http://popular-on-twitter.googlecode.com/files/jquery.popular-on-twitter-1.0.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<!-- required javascript :END -->

<!-- required HTML -->
<div class="popular-on-twitter" options="{
<!-- required HTML :END -->

Here you should change blogurl to your websites web address without the http://www. part (e.g. myoutsourcedbrain.com). The parameter n indicates the number of posts you want to have displayed (here 5).

See the widget's google code project page for an explanation of more options.

Credit for this widget goes to Moretechtips, where the widget was shown in the post Popular-on-Twitter Widget: Topsy-enabled jQuery Plugin.

Enjoy. Please leave a comment below for questions and suggestions.

Jan 11, 2010

Thanks to December's Top Visitors

My Outsourced Brain again has made a great improvement in visitor statistics last month. Most importantly it had an increase of about 300 percent in visitors, many new comments, the recent google pagerank update gave it three upgrades to currently 3, and it is now at 120,000 Alexa rank (3 month statistics). Thanks to everybody who visits and comments here, especially to people from entrecard who drop here as often as possible. I encourage you to leave suggestions on topics you are interested in and I try to cover them. If you like our posts, please consider getting updates via feed, e-mail, or twitter.

In this post I am listing top visitors and top commentators of December.

Here come December's top ten droppers:
  1. Serian Man

    Some thoughts on teaching and the exploration of the land of the hornbills, my beloved Sarawak, on the island of Borneo.

  2. Picture to People

    Researches about Computer Graphics.
    New free software for graphics.
    Hot free graphic effects.

  3. The Cooling Stream

    rambling thoughts and reflections on life issues and faith.

  4. First Door on the Left

    Democrat surviving in Texas. Barely.
    (Entrecard ads are always displayed above the first fold!)

  5. Opportunities Knock

    This is a blog about taking back control of your personal financial future. We talk about opportunities in the stock market and in life.We believe that anyone can and should create their own wealth.

  6. Crimsonsparkle.net

    The view from my window.

  7. Mutual Love

    Sharing tender loving care and make this world a better place to stay.

  8. On A Lighter Note

    Daily life, photography, finance, and travel.

  9. Lakbay Philippines

    Lakbay Philippines! A blog about the best places the Philippines has to boast, from the famous to the not-so-famous-yet-equally-great spots.
    Also contains satire and humour about the current showbiz, er, politics of the Philippines.

  10. Nolitz hunting

    Watch hunting videos from all video sharing websites in one place and keep track of the best published video on the net.

Thanks also to the top commentators. Here comes a top five list of commentators from December until today:

I plan to repeat these rankings for top droppers and commentators each month.

We would be happy to welcome you again this month. Enjoy.

Jan 7, 2010

Onlywire Article Submission

onlywire social mass submissionIn my last post I listed 72 social websites by usefulness for traffic or search engine optimization. The more sites you submit your articles to the better. The problem is that submitting articles to many social networking sites takes a lot of time, however there are many mass submission services that offer to make article submission easier for you. One of these services is Onlywire. In this post I describe my experiences with the onlywire semi-automatic mass submission service.

Semi-Automatic Social Network Aggregation

You have this great article and you want to submit it to a social bookmark aggregator to promote it. By social bookmark aggregator I mean any popular website that allows public sharing of bookmarks (called social bookmarking sites or social networking sites), b) promotes article by collective voting (social news aggregators). Examples for social bookmark aggregators are facebook, delicious, and digg.

To submit your article to a social bookmark aggregator you can use buttons for individual services or a social bookmarking toolbar, which integrates many networks. However with so many choices of social websites it is great to get some help from social network automation services, or mass submission services. Mass submission services can make the task of submitting to social networks much easier. You have to prepare most of the information only once: url (page address), post title, tags, and description. This information is then transmitted to each social networking service.

There are two kinds of mass submission services: mostly-manual or semi-automatic ones. With a mostly-manual submission service you connect with each social website as usual and manually complete the submission process. The submission automation services fills out some form fields for you but you are required to complete and review fields and press the submit button.

With a semi-automatic mass submission service, you are spared the completion step. The submission service automatically enters your url, post title, tags into forms at different social websites. This means your article is submitted to different social websites at the press of a single button.

Mostly-manual services include socialposter, socializer, and getbookmark. I tried out socialposter which offers submission help for 72 popular bookmark aggregators and which works great, but still requires many manual steps.

As for semi-automatic submission, apart from several commercial software products there is the onlywire automatic social mass submission service. In the following I will write about my experience with onlywire.


To use onlywire, you first need to get a free account at onlywire and then provide usernames and passwords for up to 32 different social networking sites. I don't like to give away my passwords to third-parties but I went along with it anyway. It took me some time to create new accounts at several of these networks. Some logins work at first try others didn't (e.g. delicious). Annoyingly, onlywire sends spam by default any time you change accounts as a way of self-promotion.

After this setup, you are ready to go and enter the specifics of your submissions, i.e., again: url, post title, description, and tags. I didn't like about the tags that they are space-separated which prevented me from entering more complex terms such as "search engine optimization."

After a pressing a submit button, you might have to wait up to 5 to 10 minutes to get a list with feedback for the submission. For each social network you see one of three values: success, failure, or finalization. Finalization means that a manual step is required.

I submitted about 45 articles using onlywire. This table sums up my experiences:
Social Networking ServiceOnlywire ReportRemarks
DiggSUCCESS works. Finalization step only requires choosing of category and entering a capcha.
StumbleuponSUCCESS works
PropellerFAILUREMost submissions work, however the article description is not entered correctly.
NewsvineFAILURE account disabled
FarkFAILURE works partly
BookmarkSyncSUCCESSlinks are private by default (not visible to others). How make them public?
BibsonomySUCCESS works
SpurlSUCCESS works
RedditFINALIZEFinalization doesn't work. Returns some javascript feed error.
MultiplySUCCESSDoesn't work at all, not submitted
MixxFINALIZE requires insertion of all data again
Mister WongSUCCESS works
LinkaGoGoSUCCESS works
Hi5SUCCESS not submitted
FavesSUCCESSworks for around a third, you have to vote your own article to get to 2 votes
DiigoSUCCESS works half of the time, submitted as private, marking as public requires editing of each post entry
DeliciousFAILURE login doesn't work
ConnoteaFINALIZE requires entry of all data again
BlinklistSUCCESS doesn't work
BeboSUCCESS works (social network)

"Works partly" means that only some of the submissions show up in the network. "Not submitted" means that article submissions do not appear in the network. This means that either submission didn't work or they could have been deleted.

Note that some social news sites have declared war on onlywire and will treat onlywire submissions as spam. This could mean that if you have used onlywire your article submissions could be treated as spam and be deleted right away. At netvibes my account was terminated because of violations of codes of conduct.

My new delicious login, which uses a yahoo cookie, didn't work with onlywire.

My jumptags account was confirmed by jumptags admins after 3 days much later as all other services, so I only submitted very few articles.


Submissions are very fast, however do not work reliably for all networks. In such cases you could use a mostly-manual submission service, such as socialposter, or to visit important social networks individually.

The success of article submissions was very variable. From the automatic submissions I have gotten several visitors from propeller, and no visitors from other sites. From stumbleupon I got from today around 3800 visitors within the last 7 days for mostly two articles, Firefox in Parallel - A Pre-Release Version and Can the Second Law of Thermodynamics be Violated?.

I think this kind of traffic is a great success and I hope the created links will help the blog to further increase from now (since December 31st) pagerank 3.

Enjoy. What are your experiences with social network submission or submission automation?

Jan 4, 2010

Social Networking Websites by Usefulness

Social news sites can greatly push traffic for your blog. However, it takes an effort and an investment of time to submit articles to different sites. Therefore it is necessary to prioritize. In this post I present a list of social websites with alexa rank and page rank for each site and the information whether the site is do-follow or not.

In a previous article I showed how to setup a social bookmarking toolbar and showed a list of most-popular social networking websites based on submissions from blogs. However missing was the potential usefulness of submission.

Usefulness of submission relates to whether it can bring you traffic or pagerank. The first factor depends on traffic of the social news site, the second on whether the site is do-follow and its pagerank. While looking more into social networking, I found exactly these data on socialposter.com, a semi-automated social bookmarking mass submission system.

This table for 78 popular social bookmarking sites their alexa rank, pagerank, and whether they are do-follow (Y) or not (N). I ordered the table by alexa rank.
Myweb.yahoo.com 7 1N
Google.com/Bookmarks 7 2Y
Myspace.com 8 5N
Facebook.com 8 7N
Blogger.com 7 9Y
Multiply.com 6 111N
Digg.com 7 143Y
Myjeeves.ask.com 6 202Y
Stumbleupon.com 8 301N
Del.icio.us 8 401N
Technorati.com 8 408N
Twitter.com 8 645N
Squidoo.com 7 732Y
Reddit.com 8 1086Y
Slashdot.org 8 1127Y
Propeller.com 7 1661Y
Fark.com 4 2703N
Tumblr.com 7 3001Y
Blinklist.com 7 5501N
Indianpad.com 6 5746Y
Furl.net 7 5969N
Newsvine.com 7 6222Y
Mixx.com 3 6275Y
Dzone.com 7 7968Y
Swik.net 7 9376N
Ma.gnolia.com 4 11141N
Simpy.com 6 12824N
Shoutwire.com 5 12915Y
Megite.com/discover/ 4 13124N
Blinkbits.com 6 13206Y
Thisnext.com 6 13844N
Mister-wong.com 7 14560Y
Netvouz.com 6 17258N
Diigo.com 4 17899N
Spurl.net 6 18020N
Corank.com 6 21438Y
Backflip.com 6 21615N
Thoof.com 6 22660N
Bluedot.us 0 23017N
Blogmarks.net 4 23564Y
Bibsonomy.org 7 28846Y
Lipstick.com 7 29488N
Plugim.com 4 30766Y
Searchles.com 6 32506Y
Connotea.org 8 36494Y
Linkagogo.com 6 37547Y
Teenwag.com 4 42034N
Folkd.com 7 45079Y
Dropjack.com 4 48734N
Buddymarks.com 5 50632N
Postonfire.com 3 52639Y
Connectedy.com 5 57897Y
Blogmemes.net 5 58101Y
Yample.com 3 59242N
Wirefan.com 3 61191Y
Mylinkvault.com 5 67311Y
A1-webmarks.com 4 67338Y
Bmaccess.net 4 68670Y
Socialogs.com 4 71590Y
Jumptags.com 5 77365Y
Hugg.com 6 78751Y
Bookmarktracker.com 4 85735N
Marktd.com 3 88178Y
Taggly.com 4 93654N
Myvmarks.com 4 93897Y
Searchallinone.com 6 114404Y
Millionsofgames.com 5 115088Y
Tagza.com 3 142299N
Business-planet.net 3 199160Y
Bringr.com 5 250495Y
Emodrama.com 1 272702N
Actualtopics.com 3 365094N
Pixelmo.com 3 482819Y
Fritterware.com 3 572579Y
Theseotree.com/social/ 0 641459N
Upchuckr.com 0 813790Y
Tratata.com 3 1801983Y
Getigadget.com 2 7800363Y

Enjoy. Please leave a comment below for questions and suggestions.

Jan 2, 2010

Blogger Label Widget

blogger label navigationMany blogs use a top navigation menu of main blog categories. To reflect your blog's focus you would usually create these menus manually and update them from time to time. An alternative is to have the menu automatically generated for you based on the frequency of the post labels (categories). This is what this widget does. You might want to try it out.

This is a simple extension of the blogger label widget. I will show how to install a label navigation menu similar to the one you can see in the screenshot above.

Basic Installation

You can install it by editing the blogger template and pasting the widget code where you want it to appear. If you want it to appear before your posts you would paste it above the following line:
<b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>

Here comes the widget code you would paste into your template:
<b:widget id='Label1' locked='false' title='Browse Topics' type='Label'>
<b:includable id='main'>
<div class='widget-content'>
<p><div id='topmenu'>
<b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'>
<b:if cond='data:label.count&gt;4'>
<span style='white-space:nowrap;'><li><a expr:dir='data:blog.languageDirection' expr:href='data:label.url'</li></span>
<b:include name='quickedit'/>

The red bold number is a threshold for the minimum number of posts that is necessary for inclusion of the label into your menu. In this case only labels with more than 4 posts are listed. You might want to adjust this number to have enough menu items but not too many.

Note that in order to get an efficient navigation you need a clean label system. You might want to read google help for editing labels of multiple posts at once.


There are many ways you can make the menu look better using some style. Here is an example. Paste this code into your template above the </head>:

#topmenu {
#topmenu ul {
padding:10px 10px 0;
#topmenu li {
padding:0 0 0 9px;
#topmenu a {
color: #ffffff;
text-shadow: 1px 1px 1px #000;
border: solid thin #882d13;
-webkit-border-radius: .7em;
-moz-border-radius: .7em;
border-radius: .7em;
-webkit-box-shadow: 2px 2px 3px #999;
box-shadow: 2px 2px 2px #bbb;
background-color: #ce401c;
background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#e9ede8), to(#ce401c),color-stop(0.4, #8c1b0b));
padding:5px 15px 4px 6px;

This brings the links in form of buttons. Credits go to Ethan Marcotte for the centered tabbed navigation and to John Allsopp for the button look,as described in in his article Shiny Happy Buttons.

Enjoy. Please vote this post up if you like it and leave a comment below for questions and suggestions.