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Tuesday, 12 February 2008

My War With Digg.com

Firstly, my apologies to my regular readers for being somewhat off topic today however this is something which I feel needs to be said. It recently came to my attention that regardless of how much support my submissions to digg.com received they never reach the front page.

Upon further investigation it became apparent that every one of my last thirteen submissions had been 'buried'. My first thoughts were that I had in some way offended someone or some people who had taken it upon themselves to attack every submission I make.

However, I soon realised that while such unscrupulous people no doubt exist they are not generally anonymous in their actions. Having seen such an attack on a friends submission it is clear that the people that do this at least have the courage to put their names to their comments. Furthermore, providing there is enough positive support these actions are not enough to supress an otherwise popular submission.

Having done some further research it appears that digg.com has a policy of blacklisting URLs allowing them to 'auto-bury' submissions and preventing them from being seen by the general public. Whilst I understand the potential need for such a practice there is no reason whatsoever for my own site to be subjected to this.

Most of my submissions have been from my own site although as my regular readers will be aware I often feature the work of others here as well as my own and nothing that I have submitted infringes upon digg.coms terms and conditions in any way. Digg purports that the success or failure of any story is dependant upon how it is received and voted on by the public. This as you can see is not always the case.

I was prepared to give Digg the benefit of the doubt and emailed them requesting that the error be investigated and resolved. I have now emailed them three times and have not received so much as a generic response.

This is unwarranted discrimination and as such is illegal practice but something tells me I am not the only one to have been treated unfairly in this way. Since they have failed to respond I have forwarded these concerns to both the BBC and Reuters and there will be many more to follow.

I have included the unanswered emails below for you all to see.

Dear Sirs,

Although new to Digg, I am active on various social media sites and was slightly baffled as to why my success elsewhere was not mirrored so far at Digg. However, I recently became aware that all 13 of my most recent submissions had been buried without even being viewed by those who were responsible for this.

The majority of these submissions were from my own site although they have been produced by a number of different authors and all were of good quality. Perhaps in one or two instances some may disagree but not in the case of 13 consecutive items produced by different people. It would seem either I am being personally victimised or there are a selection of people deliberately attacking blogger sites.

In the possible event that it was a personal attack I allowed the author of the latest post on my site to submit it themselves. The result was the same despite the fact that in this case the author is a highly successful writer and novelist. But then as I have said it was not even viewed before being buried.

I have no wish to be vindictive and so I have chosen to bring this to your attention privately rather than making this a public issue in the hope that you are able to satisfactorily resolve this issue and provide assurance that any future submissions I make be fairly treated. I am assuming of course that this is as a result of a few unscrupulous individuals whom you are able to identify and not a problem that is inherent to Digg.

I hope to submit within the next 24 hours and so I hope to receive a prompt response.

Regards

Matt Barnes (w0lfh0und)

Dear Sirs,

I find it unfortunate that you have not as yet replied to my previous email. Perhaps customer service is not considered a high priority?

Having completed some further research it has been suggested that my treatment is not due to public response but more likely that my URL has been blacklisted by Digg and that the removal of my submissions is an automated procedure. This would make some sense since public comments I have received have always been positive.

Whilst I understand a potential need for this kind of practice to be in place there is certainly no reason whatsoever for this to be so as regards my own submissions. I also find it disturbing that you purport that the success or failure of a story is dependant on public opinion when this is clearly not the case. As previously stated, every one of my submissions whether it be my own work or that of others has always been well received.

It is now my intention to prepare a report for bbcnews.co.uk as to how you have chosen to handle my grievance. I have already stated that I expect to receive a response from yourselves within 24 hours. This expires at 09.30 GMT, I trust that I will hear from you before then

Matt Barnes (w0lfh0und)

Dear Sirs,

Since you have chosen to ignore my previous emails you leave me with no alternative. You may expect to receive invitations to comment from several news agencies.

I am also seeking legal advice since unwarranted discrimination is quite clearly illegal.

It is unfortunate that this has become necessary when a resolution could have quite easily been achieved.

Matt Barnes (w0lfh0und)

16 comments:

Ashok said...

I'm sorry about this whole nasty situation. It was great meeting you on Digg, and I'll definitely keep up independent of that site.

One thing to be hopeful about: the best Internet communities have only begun to form.

Steph said...

Crazy! Where did you learn about blacklisting of URLs? Do you have a web link? And how do you find out if something's been buried?

Matt D. Barnes said...

You can check if something has been buried by doing a search for the item both including and excluding buried stories.

I initially thought I had upset someone but one of the people who write for me submitted themselves so as not to be affected but the result was the same. It is the URL. Every submission I make is removed from public view once it reaches 20-25 diggs.

This is a useful discussion on the digg auto-bury although I have no idea as to why I have attracted it.

http://www.blogstorm.co.uk/the-digg-auto-bury-algorithm-has-changed/

Anonymous said...

I'm Zaibatsu on Digg.

They ignore my e-mails...

Don't feel bad. On the flipside Kevin and Jay in response to our podcast interview on thedrilldown.com have decided to started a 'town hall meeting' to help with feedback. Send me an e-mail and give me a voice call. We should talk, don't throw in the towel yet!

Peace

Z

LUCCHINA said...

Do not give up Matt !

Andie Wicaksono said...

i am andieaw at digg,
yea I think mr.zaibatsu is right,
don't throw in the towel yet!

cheers,
andie

nepawoods said...

Your articles are being buried - I checked. They show up in searches if and only if "Include Buried Stories" is checked. No mystery here.

Matt D. Barnes said...

Precisely. It also occurs between 20-25 diggs every time. It is also the work of various authors not just my own and the latest was produced by a high profile writer and published novelist. This has nothing to do with quality or a few members of the public disliking it. It is automated.

nepawoods said...

I see no evidence at all that it is automated. As it gets more diggs, more people see it, and more people get the chance to bury it. It appeals to a narrow audience. As a matter of fact, a lot of it looks like it's geared toward people looking to make a buck or two blogging. You are blogging ... maybe you are looking to make a buck ... blog spam. Or so many people will think. Your claim that it's automated seems to be born of your frustration with the consistency of the pattern, but I see no evidence that it's anything but the normal course of events for most articles.

CherylT said...

Matt - we met on Digg and I'm glad we did. I think new bloggers have to understand there is an unwritten rule about promoting one's own material. Every now and then, yes, but regularly, no. Even if the material is informative and good. That's why it is good to have friends. Next time you want something promoted, send me a shout. If I like it, I will be happy to oblige. Just don't start the digg yourself. I think that's the key.

Matt D. Barnes said...

Hi Cheryl,

Thank you, that is extremely generous of you. However, this is an approach I have already tried and unfortunately it appears that the result is the same if it is linked to my URL.

Many good people have been extremely supportive and I sincerely appreciate all the generosity I have witnessed.

absolutelytrue said...

I am gnomey on Digg and your experience with them is EXACTLY the same as mine, right down to the fact that I have written to them about my frustrations three times now without any response.

I submit material that is well written and of value to the Digg community, however I am buried every time despite 100+ Diggs and intelligent comments on the material that I post.

There seem to be about 5+ domains that I regularly, but not abusively, have submitted articles from that are now unable to have any stories go popular on Digg, no matter how much support they receive. I have never spammed or submitted anything worthless from these domains, nor have I overdone it by repeatedly submitting things back to back in rapid fire. I've even had advertising removed from the pages in case this was in some way causing their automatic death on Digg. I still get slammed every time.

Digg has some nasty and abusive users, but I also think that there is an auto-bury blacklist, although this has been denied.

Having others submit your items of interest does not work, the result is exactly the same if the domain is on the black list or being targeted by invisible abusive users.

Zaibatsu, I would like to get in touch with you but I do not know how.

I see that MSaleem and MrBabyMan are having no problems getting their stuff to the front page. I have great respect for these guys, but it sucks to be middle class on Digg.

I am ready to throw in the towel as well. I already took a break from Digg for a couple of weeks and then decided to dip my toe back in the water again recently, only to be devoured by sharks. I've really had it.

I have tried to be a good and active community member on Digg, but it seems as though they don't want me anymore. I think it's time I took the hint.

I also posted about this on snarkynews.com

Jessica P. Wallin said...

I wish I knew what was going on on Digg. I just can't understand why someone would bury someone's story. My sweetie has been in the hospital for the larger part of last year, and he got hired to write for a new site this year as a way to help him recover and have something to look forward to every day. And it just makes him feel so bad when people leave comments like "buried because this is irrelevant" and other garbage. I hate Digg anyway because it never works like it's supposed to, and when it does there's all these A-holes on there just waiting for you to post a story so they can chew it up and spit it out! I guess I'm never going to understand people like that, people who, behind the comfort of their own computers, feel like they are larger than life and are the moral authorities on everything...i.e.: the people who were bullied in school and feel the only time they get to be the bullies is when they're on the internet. It's sad, really. I was bullied in school, but going around making people feel bad doesn't make me feel any better; does it make these people? Anyway, I understand where you're coming from! :-) w0lfh0und forever Digg never!!

Jim's Words Music and Science said...

I have read posts from several blogs that have had similar problems, and some have had their sites banned by DIGG. At least some of this may be politically motivated. Sorry you have to deal with it, too. Jim

Tejvan Pettinger said...

interesting article, but, I gave up on digg along time ago.

Tejvan

Travel Blog said...

I have come to hate digg.com; I just never figured out why until now. Initially, my submissions did very well, now they don't do anything. Working in Social media marketing; I shall join you on your quest to smear and slander this site every chance I get. Great post! I never knew Digg worked in such a foul and unfair way. Cheers