Why Nobody Should Buy Digg

Digg Sucks!It hasn’t even been a week and my once positive outlook of Digg has come to a sour end. Yesterday, Brian Clark over at Copyblogger wrote that Digg is dead. You know, for awhile, I was giving Digg the benefit of the doubt. When I reported bugs, I got responses. Of course, when it came to the bury brigade, Digg never acknowledged those emails, neither by stating that there was a bury brigade or not. They simply ignored those accusations. Some might say that silence is agreement.

Not long ago, my friend Erik was banned for submitting a story to Digg that Digg construed as a denial of service attempt. However, when he apologized and vowed not to commit the crime again, Digg reinstated his account. He had to make a promise, but once he did, he was back in. The process took no longer than two hours.

A few weeks later, my friend Mike submitted a somewhat NSFW story to Digg. He, too, got banned. He asked Digg about his banning, and they almost immediately responded to him. When he promised not to violate the rules, they reinstated him. Again, the process did not take long at all.

This past weekend (Saturday, most specifically), two of my friends were banned from Digg. The reasons are unknown. One friend was in Digg’s top 40 submitter list and was an extremely loyal and dedicated user. The other friend was a new but very “religious” user. Initially, both sent emails asking Digg for an explanation. The newer user emailed Digg three times after Digg did not respond. After several days of silence, she even called Digg’s reception desk and begged for mercy (though they refused to send her to the support department). Many friends sent appeals on both friends’ behalves as well. Digg neither responded nor acknowledged receipt of the emails.

I also emailed Digg to appeal for these users’ accounts. Contrary to past success with responses from them, I have received no response from them in the last few days. One can only wonder if this is because Digg is more concerned with a proposed $300 million sale. And therefore, I implore you: to anyone looking to potentially buy Digg, just don’t.

I have a friend who was a top Digger. He then got a job at Digg. Of course, nobody would expect that he should be taken advantage of because he’s in a “strategic position” since he’s working for The Man. And it makes sense (due to necessary NDAs and the like) that once Digg took him on board, his loyalties to his friends would be dropped. I never requested insider information. However, when I appealed (after Digg support refused to answer my emails) for him to simply “ask [his] coworkers to follow-up on the banning inquiries,” his response was “sorry, I cannot help.” The point I try to make here is that Digg will not comment nor at least acknowledge that they’re passing these messages on (even if they aren’t!) In other words, they don’t give a damn about the community and they seemed to have moved on — perhaps completely. At the minimum, the support staff should have responded to these inquiries. Instead, since they weren’t, we are left to our own devices and seek alternative methods (which are not the right avenues of communication, but what do you do when the proper roads lead you to a dead end?).

Now we know that Digg has had a history of transparency problems and abuse from the founder himself. We also know that Digg is seriously broken (and it has been for the last three months). Why should anyone put their eggs in a leaky basket? Digg needs to do two things before it even remotely considers itself capable of being bought: it needs to fix what’s broken (and not make empty promises or promises that are not fulfilled in a timely manner), and it needs to actually acknowledge the existence of the community. Kevin Rose may have founded Digg, but leaving it on autopilot was a bad move. Jay Adelson doesn’t even talk about Digg anymore. The only person I think that seems to act as a public figure for Digg as of late is Daniel Burka, who is a good man, but unfortunately he’s in a tough position. Quite frankly, I don’t think there’s really a good person running the company. A good company leader would actually recognize that a social news network implies that there are participants involved and that the users are the most important part of the service. As long as Digg continues to ignore the community, the community will be vocal in their own way. If that means that they’ll tell Allen & Co. that they’ll never actually sell Digg, so be it. I think that’s the case right now until Digg changes its attitude.

Digg, I think you forgot that you can’t just ignore your community simply because you’re ready to sell. In fact, that’s exactly why I urge nobody to invest in Digg. First and foremost, Digg needs to invest in us. It seems that ever since Digg hired a bank to look for a sale, they forgot about answering the support emails. They forgot about the community. They sure did a good job at catching up to Mixx in terms of implementation (especially because the pressure was on), but they didn’t do a good job responding to the users’ inquiries. And at the end of the day, that’s what really matters. That’s what really resonates. That’s what makes users permanent. That’s what makes users loyal.

Just remember, Digg and Kevin Rose: you built the platform. We, however, built the success. You can turn your backs on us if you want to, but don’t expect to get things done the way you want it to be.


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