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Digg Dirt: Hey Digg, Hand Me a Shovel!

26 June 2007 2 Comments

Last week, I contacted Digg.com in an attempt to find out some demographic information about their userbase. They have yet to respond. As I await either a tasteful form letter or hell freezing over, I thought it might be fun to share what I emailed over:

TO: press@digg.com, feedback@digg.com

SUBJECT: Independent Study on Digg: Requesting Information

To the Press Representative of Digg.com:

As a public relations grad student and consummate Digg geek, I'm quite fascinated by the inner workings of Digg and its community. That's why – in conjunction with the International Association of Online Communicators and Rowan University – I've launched an independent study to research Digg.com and social bookmarking.

The study will focus on the Digg Effect, community dynamics, and submissions trends in order to determine whether the Digg views actually lead to long-term customer conversions (either directly or indirectly through SEO boosts, RSS subscriptions, and other pathways) and to what degree.

This research finds will be blogged regularly on www.iaocblog.com over the next several weeks, culminating in a feature story in Philadelphia Ad News Magazine.  The study itself will serve as a lead in for my thesis topic,  “The Relevant Content Game: How Corporate 'Pseudo-Content' Degrades the Search Engine and User Experience.”

It would greatly aid my study if you could provide me with any statistical data related to the user population, visitor frequency, ratio of diggers to submitters, casual/occasional diggers vs dedicated diggers, friend diggs (cluster voting trends), average article shelf life, etc. Obviously, I would never ask for any personal information pertaining to users. Any information that you could share related to the Digg population and site would be very much appreciated.

I have already checked out much of Digg Labs and done some preliminary scouring for other 3rd party research. My early findings are posted on www.iaocblog.com.

Please let me know if you would be willing to share any hard data or if you could direct me to any existing resources of which I may not be aware.

Thank you for your time and aid.

Ron Sansone
IAOC Member
Public Relations Graduate Student, Rowan University

PS – I'll keep you updated on my findings and contact you if there's any information that may be of strong use to you.
Well, if Digg won't help me then I'll have just have to do some more of my own excavation.  Maybe I'll find something like this: a dynamic list of the Top 100 Digg Submitters. And, even though Digg got rid of their Top 100 list, maybe this will show that the top users STILL control the frontpage.

Or maybe I'll come across hard evidence of Digg being manipulated for political means. On second thought, I better save that for the next post…


Digg's PR Rep go back to me a DAY after this was posting on Digg.com. Here's the response:

FROM: Marcus Tolero marcus@kfcomm.com

Dear Ron,

My name is Marcus Tolero and I’m with K/F Communications. I’m contacting you on behalf of Digg. The only stat that I can give you is the latest number of registered users – 1.3 million.

I hope this helps.


(P.R. for Digg.com)


Wow, that was helpful. I think that guy gets paid by the letter.


  • Anonymous said:

    I detect a pattern here. Every day I clean out the muck of Trackback spam from IAOCblog.
    Now you Digg up this dirt….
    For a movement (an exaggeration?) that talks so much about “transparency” it seems blogs are getting into deep…. well deep.
    To mix metaphors, if I may, it seems to me the “I think I can… I think I can…” days of blogging have led to The Great Cluetrain Robbery!

  • Anonymous said:

    It is sort of a vicious cycle. Yes, the entire world (including marketers and politicians) is engage in a global conversation. As the tools change, mass communication adapts, and we learn to maneuver through the subtle intricacies of the new system for our own means (including marketing and political campaigning).
    With blogging, when you dig (or Digg) up dirt you often end up with even more muck than you initially raked. With a new steaming mound of communication-fed communications, inevitably a new system will be created… and also overloaded with spam and self-analyzation.
    So when I'm asked where online communication is going, I usually respond, “It's complicated.”
    PS – Great reference to the Cluetrain Manifesto!