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Diggmob: Why dig gaming will always exist.

By February 19, 2007No Comments3 min read

Note- this is a purely theoretical article, mainly my thoughts on how this would be done efficiently. Also I understand this could be controversial, but if no one puts this out there how can we retain the integrity of the social news spectrum?

Digg is in an enviable position right now, its got so much traffic and generates so much traffic for those who get “Dugg” that it has created an entire meme on using the site. You know you’re onto something big when people are focusing their energies talking about you and how to optimize their sites for yours.

Digg is inherently prone to a diggmob emerging because wherever you hand over control to the users a small percentage will try and leverage this for their own gain. So with this in mind what should Digg do to solve this? Well the most effective method to look at this would be to look at how someone could game their way onto digg’s front page.

Here are the five easy steps to diggmobbing:
1. The first step towards front page diggmobbing would be to get a group of 100-200 people to be part of your test pool, these accounts should have prior digs and not have been setup that day (probably doable if you seed the group using mechanical turk). The cost of this would have to be minor (5-10 cents per), but you would have to lay the groundwork for your real diggmobbing.
2. Get these diggers to Digg randomly across the site and categories (another cost if done via Mturk)
3. So once you’ve got a few hundred users effectively in your pocket (they can’t all be from the same IP or computer, Digg checks) randomly seed the article you want digged to 30-40% of them, by spreading out your Digging request across the group. This would effectively reduce your likelihood of being flagged as spam for having the same users digging everything you requested (making it a clearly apparent horde/swarm).
4. Link your intended target to an article about your product or service, not the actual product or service, this will add to you authenticity.
5. Hope and pray this works, as it probably just cost you a few hundred dollars at least, but if it works, you just generated a fair amount of traffic for your site. Not necessarily the traffic type you want (many articles written on this), but it does give you a surge.

This technique could probably be used indefinitely but usually a clever Digger is likely to pick up on this. That and they could follow mturk to see what is being posted.

So what can Digg do to combat this? Well more pattern and swarm analysis really. Group people into lumps/swarms based on their voting patterns, signup times, referral sources, etc.; this could really be an interesting tool for them to post to their Digg labs site (imagine watching the groups form in real time and seeing where they came from).

The problem with these increased statistical records is that they end up hogging more resources and costing money, BUT it might be money well spent as it could stave off the invasion of more and more clever spammers. Its a lot harder to coordinate a digging if you have to have hundreds of really distinct accounts.

If Digg is smart, they will keep their eye out for these gray/black area social media plans. The best way to do this would be to block referral signups or sandbox referral signups from some of these sites.

This post was put out there for informational purposes only, I believe its through educating the community that we can preserve the integrity of sites like Digg.