Why you shouldn’t be concerned about the DiggBar

Why you shouldn’t be concerned about the DiggBar

A little over a week since launching, the DiggBar feature from Digg continues to be the focus of widespread condemnation.

In case you’ve missed the noise, the DiggBar places a Digg specific frame around sites, and is bundled with Digg now linking to short URL’s as opposed to sites directly. The arguments against it range from bad web practices, through to stealing SEO and destroying the end user experience.

Some of the principles argued by opponents are reasonable ones, but most people shouldn’t be really that concerned. Why? it all comes down to numbers.

Distribution

Most site owners would be appreciative of getting on the front page of Digg once. We’ve managed it maybe half a dozen times since launching last May. The reality with Digg has always been that there is an uneven distribution between favored sites and the rest of the web.

Richard MacManus in Read Write Web

Digg users also have their favored blogs and websites, which get a disproportionate amount of attention than other less fortunate sites…. A lot of times, the favored sites get dugg very very quickly by digg users. The main problem with that is that the original source for a story often gets overlooked – and the popular site garners all the diggs instead.

Search Engine War has a chart from 2008 showing the distribution here. I did a quick crunch of their stats: for their sample period, 25 sites accounted for 31.98% of front page stories. It should be noted that the 25th site on the list accounted for 0.5% alone, so although the distribution tappers off towards the end of the list, you could easily get to 40-50% out to the top 100 sites.

A small number of sites dominate the top stories on Digg. So to what degree outside of those sites is the DiggBar really the end of the world?

It isn’t.

If Digg wants to send this site a pile of traffic on occasion and put a bar up top, I’ve got no major issues at all. Would I prefer they did it without the DiggBar? yes, but I’ll happily take that traffic none the less. I also don’t have to bet that others would happy accept the traffic, I know that they would (and I did ask some before writing this post.)

If you don’t like it….

Although offering the DiggBar as standard on links, Digg isn’t forcing sites to accept the bar. The code to get rid of it is actually remarkably simple. Engadget for example is blocking the DiggBar (an excellent post here) as are a number of other sites. So if you really, really hate it that much, add the code.

Conclusion

I do sympathize with the principles expressed by opponents of the DiggBar, but for most people it shouldn’t be an issue, nor is it. If you’re fortunate enough to get on the front page of Digg, does it really matter that much if you’re not a top 100 site if there’s a bar on top, a bar which it should be noted can be used to Digg your site even more? I won’t be blocking the DiggBar, and nor will most people.

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