What Happens When You Hit the Digg Homepage (Video)

John P.

Just yesterday I posted a video about how I use the Performancing P-Metrics service, and then shortly thereafter when another one of my articles hit the Digg Homepage it occurred to me that I should take a video of the PMetrics “Spy” function to demonstrate what actually happens when 5,000 people per hour are visiting a Web site.

Individual Digg Listing

MBL Top 10Incidentally, the video was taken only 45 minutes into the daily stats on MBL, but as of 10 hours later there have been well over 40,000 visits to this page alone.

If you do the math, that is more than one visitor each second for a sustained 10 hour period. And this is will continue for at least the remainder of the day.

So, as far as I know, here is the first ever video demonstration of the “Digg Effect” live and uncut. In it I capture what is happening on the Digg homepage while simultaneously showing the MyBlogLog summary statistics and the P-Metrics real time Spy function.


  1. says

    A cute image showing the effect of an article featuring on homepage. Digg is known to send massive traffic to a website in no time and this image is a pretty good example of it. I see a good sense of humor from the author.

  2. says

    Actually, when the article first went popular it did take down the server for about 10 minutes. However I happened to be working at the time and when I noticed it I put up a static version of the page and then it ran like a champ.

    I need to go through and trim down my site to get rid of some of the bloat. I’m sure the server could handle it if I just optimized a little bit.


  3. says

    I too find these comments incredibly insightful. Digg seems like such a closed system to me that it’s almost impossible to understand how someone could be successul within it.

    John P.

  4. says

    Two thoughts on this:

    First, I should clarify for those who don’t know: Digg is either make or break traffic wise. 100 Diggs sounds great, but if the story doesn’t become ‘popular’ and get posted to the homepage it will probably only get a few hundred hits, whereas stories that ‘frontpage’ as it is termed can get up to (or over) 100,000. A story has roughly 24 hours to frontpage – if it doesn’t make it by then, it is essentially destined for obscurity. This is different from, say, StumbleUpon where there is a much more direct correlation between the number of votes something gets and how many people see it – e.g. 10 votes might get 100 views, and 100 votes might get 1000. The Digg algorithm is complex, but in a nutshell: the number of votes needed to frontpage a story depends on (1) who submitted it, (2) how long ago it was submitted (3) what category it was submitted in and (4) how many people ‘buried’ it.

    Second: there is definitely the fine line of social media: gaming versus becoming an involved expert/pro participant. There is no doubt that people with more ‘power’ on Digg can get things to the front page more easily, but that is the case with any media source – social or otherwise. In normal media, people get to positions of power via connections, promotions, reputation, etc… in social media it isn’t that different: people build up a reputation for submitting quality articles and gain a following of ‘friends’ who are more likely to look and see what a ‘top Digger’ submits.

    There are simply too many stories submitted daily on Digg for any one person to read even a fraction of them. Instead, people check to see what others with an established reputation are submitting. It may not be fully democratic but I think it might be a step up from the normal media in many regards ;) Anyway, glad that some of you found these Digg-related comments useful!

  5. says

    This is definitely true. There will be many times you can have a link or article get dugg over 100 times and still rank very low in terms of traffic and rankings. There is definitely a curve in effect for submitters and diggers. Perhaps it works well, but it also seems like it would almost encourage gaming by those that knew how to do it. I imagine in a roundabout way, if a top digger were to advertise his services, there would be many that would pay for it. Seems a bit gamey, but in reality, I suppose it’s the American way :o

  6. says

    Brandon: a lot of Digg is who submits the article. A lot. People don’t like to admit it but it is true. If you have something you think is really good, Digg-worthy content it’s worth seeking out a top Digger and bringing it to their attention. IF they agree and submit it, your chances probably just went from less than 1% to 30-60% (or higher if it is truly good and original content).

    Whenever I read that old cliche that ‘content is king’ I think to myself: if that’s true, then ‘connections are queen’ That being said: if you still want to submit something on your own, make the title catchy, call out images or make a list.

    Notice the difference between the post title of John’s original article and the article title on Digg. The Digg version has a few things that change the language to make it ‘fit’ with Digg: a non-list is turned into a list simply by calling out the number of images shown, and [PICS] is added because, well, Diggers love images and want to know right away if a post contains some! There is nothing intrinsically better or worse about either headline, but by the original the chances of frontpaging went up ;)

  7. says

    Hah I just got online and saw on the Digg front page: you’re listed third in ‘Top 10 in All Categories.’ Unless I’m mistaken you’re probably experiencing a second wave of heavier traffic right now ;)

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