Here’s the deal. If you’re real life friends with Kevin Rose, you have a new product website to launch, and Kevin submits the story for you, expect that the submission will make the Digg front page within hours of its submission.
There’s preferential treatment to young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and their close-knit circles are pretty exclusive.
Many have contested the launch of Jason Calacanis’s newest venture, Mahalo. The discussion pretty much revolves around the same concept: 1) “old is new again”; 2) this is Wikipedia and About.com; 3) it’s just not scalable.
Many believe that Mahalo, by itself, would probably not gain popularity. Guy Kawasaki’s Truemors seemed to have been big for all of a week but many seem to have already forgotten about it. However, once you have a rockstar Digging your site, you’re bound to make waves and get popular.
Once upon a time, Jason whined that SEOs were snake oil salesmen. Jason said: “SEO is BS, if you generate a web page with good content Google will rank the page properly.?? I personally don’t have anything against Jason’s very candid opinion.
However, I don’t think that Mahalo itself is sustainable as a one of those “web pages with good content” (or any content, for that matter). But his buddy and former competitor (after all, Jason once ran Netscape), Kevin Rose, gave him that boost. Consequently, people won’t stop talking about him. For awhile yesterday, people were even bidding on AdWords for the term “mahalo.” That 15-minutes of fame that Guy Kawasaki had has grown into a few hours for Jason. He’s still surfing on that big wave and the exposure is great for him.
Kevin Rose has an unfair advantage as Digg founder. No matter what he does, his Digg stories are going to get popular. One hundred percent of his stories have made the Digg front page, and who could really be surprised? Just about every fanboy (and fangirl) befriends him: he has approximately 28,500 friends (30 friends per page, 951 pages).
But it’s really more than that. Any submission by Kevin to Digg pretty much means that he’s given the story or website his blessing. That’s what many of us recognize as trust. Kevin is the Digg founder, and therefore, his 28,500 friends trust him. They consider his stories more Diggworthy than any others. I don’t blame him, nor do I expect him to stop. However, this is the reality: if Kevin diggs your story (even if it’s a dupe) your website is going to experience the Digg effect.
It’s no surprise that Mahalo hasn’t dropped off our radars yet. Kevin Rose prolonged its stay. Then, Jason and the Mahalo team decided to offer $10-$15 per submission to keep the momentum going. I guess we’ll just have to deal with it and let it run its course. Hopefully, however, the Digg superstar won’t give it any additional preferential treatment.