This is too funny … a very intelligent-sounding report just came out with 5 reasons Digg can’t be corrupted by cash. Of course, a Wired contributor already proved that this was in fact not the case. Still, given the relationship of Wired and Reddit one does lead one to wonder. So,┬ instead of judging, I┬ sat down with the list, and took it apart, piece by piece:
1) Super-History Tracking. Their claim: because they can track individual computer histories they can see if you visited a site with a pay-per-Digg program. So what? You could look up those programs on a school or library computer! And if they start blocking accounts from publicly shared computers? (a) They might hit the wrong person – an innocent follow-up user┬ and (b) their own users will revolt and ditch them.
2) Timing is Everything. Their claim: if something is voted up slower rather than right away, it is suspicious. Fine. I’ll go to any of a dozen university buildings I can access, or local libraries, and hop between dozens of available computers in under an hour, building up Diggs with pre-made accounts. Before you know it, I’ll be on page one from piggy-back Diggers.
3) Spam Reporting Lowers Reputations. Their claim: your user account will be flagged if you exhibit unusual Digg behavior. I could almost laugh out loud at this one. So what? Just make up a new account. Takes 30 seconds and a junk e-mail address.
4) Where You Vote Matters. Their claim: because pay-per-Digg users jump directly to sites they will get flagged. That’s an easy technicality to overcome, or at least it will be once Digg.com searches actually work. Pay-per-Digg services will simply┬ advise ‘employees’ to go to Digg and search for certain keywords, find the story, and Digg it. Duh.
5) Big Targets are Easy. Their claim: (a) lawsuits from pissed off Digg┬ and (b) users getting pissed about abuse will bring these pay-per-Digg sites down. Well, (a) I haven’t heard of any lawsuits yet and (b) who isn’t pissed about abuse? Digg openly accepts and endorses plagiarized content. If anyone is going to get sued, it is Digg.com.
Well, I think my fascinating encounters with Digg are at an end. I have to say it was worth the ride, and thanks to those of you who participated in various subversions, submitted comments or threw a laugh or two my way. I’ve enjoyed tracking back some links and seeing what you wrote about all of this on your *own* blog, but don’t forget – you can leave some comments here to if you’d like (I recently added that feature, which some of you have already taken advantage of. Kudos!).