My Secret To Dominating Digg.com (years ago)

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Ok I have a story to share… one I been telling for a while for fun and always meant to post but just never gotten around to it.

I used to be addicted to try to make the front page of digg… but I often had trouble hitting the front page. Sure it would happen every other month or so but it took a lot of work. Then in 2007 one month I made it 5 times… including 2 times in the SAME DAY on Feb 21st 2007:

dominating digg

So how? How can one website all of a sudden become attractive to the digg users who normal HATE anything that looks close to a internet marketer…. or SEO….

BUT digg users LOVE Linux and hate Microsoft.

Well I made one simple change. I swapped out all ads for more… digg user friendly images. In particular I changed the leader board ad for a “I love Linux” banner and the square on the right to a image of a guy peeing on Microsoft.

Here you can see ShoeMoney.com normally:

and now if you were to come from digg.com:

From Digg

There are a lot of lessons from this that I still apply today. Changing your website or landing page based on where your visitors are coming can help make a huge impact on conversions.

138 thoughts on “My Secret To Dominating Digg.com (years ago)

  1. jtGraphic

    I think I learned that in the Shoemoney System a week or two ago. I actually have tried some things using that principle as a basis. Digg users really like Apple and Linux, so stories praising one or the other really seem to take off.

  2. Ed

    Very interesting insight Jeremy,

    I guess we’re going to see this kind of thing become more and more prevalent in the next few years. It would be great to deliver facebook style ad personalisation to the individual within any blog – that would be really powerful.

  3. Tim - MemberCon.com

    See this is what pisses me off about you Shoe. You do these things and I always say to myself, now why the heck didn’t I think of that!

    Brilliant.

    I know you’re doing things right now that I won’t figure out for about a year. I need to get into the Shoemoney mind….

    1. Jeremy Schoemaker Post author

      Well and to be honest…. back then I was worried digg would have banned me for something like that… now I dont really see the value in digg traffic anyway.

  4. Vans

    So what was the incentive (payout to you) for the additional traffic? What was the plan for the traffic? More subscribers?

    Was this just a see if this works and figure it out later ideas?

    Probably lots of clicks on the Peeing on Microsoft image to see if he really was peeing or just posing, but what was the payoff?

    Did you pull more subscribers on an opt in?

    I know a campaign that pulled 25K unique off of FARK doing something similar… but no cash from the traffic.

    The lesson is you can pull traffic…. but the payoff?

    1. Jeremy Schoemaker Post author

      There was no cash motivation…. The biggest value of hitting the digg homepage is that it really gets you out there (or did) to the mainstream press. Lots of mainstream press people have contacted me because they found my website via digg.

      Also I was trying to beat Neil Patels record of making it 3 days in a row.

  5. hackcorp

    Interesting… Do you personalize images for users coming from any other sites besides digg? Is it just the ads or do you tweak anything else? I wonder what digg’s rules on cloaking… :)

    1. Jeremy Schoemaker Post author

      The ads were kind of a no brainer…. CTR from digg users on ads was like… 0% anyway so it just dilutes my CPM.

      I never did anything else…. I have seen some things that say like “welcome digg user” and stuff like that but ironically I have never seen those pages make it to the homepage.

  6. Blake Waddill

    Was the swap made just for Digg users or was it for your entire page for a short period of time? Java script?

    That rocks though. That’s truly knowing your demographic!

  7. Mike B.

    Didn’t hurt that you had “WebTickle” submitting! ;-)

    Rule #1 – if you do not have a power account then make sure you have some who does submit for you!

  8. Michael B.

    Didn’t hurt that you had “WebTickle” submitting for you! ;-)

    Digg Rule #1: you are do not a “power user” have someone who is, submit for you.

    50% FP ratio always helps! :-)

      1. Michael B.

        Actually 3 of the 6 that you are showing were submitted by “WebTickle”.

        I am not saying the changes you made would not appeal to the DIGG audience. No doubt the DIGG crowd hates MSFT ect….

        I am also pointing out for those that may not be aware that one of the biggest factors of hitting front page at DIGG is the submitter.

        WebTickle as of today is still at a 55% front page ratio. That’s up there with the VERY TOP of the entire DIGG community.

        Even with your page changes if a newbie submits your stories 0 most likely hit Front Page –> IMO.

        a) Get a power user to submit your content
        b) Give your content the best chance of succeeding; you have chronicled in this post that you did exactly that.

        Kudos to you for hitting both those very important criteria.

  9. S Ahsan

    Awesome post :D, i like the ads, especially the one where the guy pisses on MS, ouch! epic. Digg used to me good for me but didnt worked as good as yours. I dont see much value in it today.

    I like the new change in this blog..

    Whats up with the “home grown in Lincoln Ne” on the top right anyways :) eh!

  10. Chris Guthrie

    Very funny. I remember you telling this story at Elite Retreat.

    To echo one of the earlier commentors question:

    How did you do this from a technical standpoint? Since we know you’re on WordPress did you use a plugin or have to custom code it?

  11. Melvin

    Great. I try to do this tactic too but more on reddit as oppose to digg. I would be interested to see how you do this on the technical side.

  12. Matthew Czarnek

    The traffic may not be valuable but is there any value from an SEO point of view from having more links from a high page rank site? Or are web developers likely to check digg more often and again therefore link? Or just simply not enough to really matter?

  13. Lily Abello

    Surprising that something that silly can have such a big impact. You really tapped into a sensitive nerve with Digg users. How did you figure out that Digg users love LINUX and hate Microsoft? Please share some of your research techniques.

    As both you and Frank Kern said in the webinar earlier this evening, if you can make your users happy and entertain them as well …..

  14. ron hekier

    Did you do split testing? Did you have 50% of Digg users end up on a “regular” page and 50% end up on an “Digg-optimized” page?

    If not, we cannot completely know if the hypothesis is true.

  15. get ex back

    I’ve met some “Sick” people in my life but Shoe is just one of the best. I mean how on earth can you come with such an idea … I just laughed my pants off while reading this post.

    Digg is great social network to use however many people fail when it comes to marketing and hitting the front page and there’s several reasons to that.

    I remember when I started my online ventures I took a digg, stumble upon and delicious.com approach to see if anybody would stick to my blog, I was just trying to test several audience but really failed back at that time.

    Why?

    Digg is a lot more than it appears to be, it takes a lot of friends and you need to be damn active to manage to get your site on the front page. Anyone can test this.. Just have a look at what sites make the front page of Digg daily, and not only that but what users manage to get “Front Pages”, They the same old users, well a new one is popping up every day but slowly getting into the shadow. LoL.

    I’ve failed for the same reason. There were a few people that had armies behind their backs that would vote, rate and comment on their submissions just to make everything look natural to digg’s algo. Sometimes I felt as if MrBabyMan, MakiMaki from DoshDosh.com and several other top users were hired by digg actually to bring the best content on the front page (I might be wrong though).

    Anyways you’ll need an outstanding blog/site, it better be something related to funny/news/entertaiment if you want to make the front page and these are not the only ingredients.

    (I’ve only managed to get 5 stories on the front page of digg, they were from 2 of my blog that are sold now) The conversions did interest me back at that time, but to be honest they were horrible. I was monetizing my blogs mainly with adsense and Clickbank which apparently won’t work ..

    Evelina

    1. Dan Burcham

      All you need to do to have success on digg is read digg…read your favorite webites (not facebook)…and submit content from your favorite sites that you think people on digg will like…stuff you think might get dugg for whatever reason.

  16. Mayweather vs Mosley

    That is neat fun stuff…. I just realized that people also like Linux and hate Microsoft. I am a Microsoft user though. I usually submit my articles about Mayweather and Mosley in digg and I usually only get 3 diggs… (Sad)..

    I hope in the next quarter I can find a good strategy similar to yours. Thank you!

  17. Birk

    Haha, very clever.

    How did you figure out those facts :) ?

    Now we start seeing people doing some nasty things with microsoft logo on digg

  18. Jay

    I think that is a very clever tactic. However I question if this will work for everybody. This is sort of like the Youtube thumbnail situation. Where people try and try to get more views to their videos by figuring out how to insert their own thumbnail. They may get a lot of views, but that doesn’t mean that the video they produced is worth watching.

    Like some one else mentioned social traffic can be terrible, especially nowadays. I think if some one were to utilize this landing page method that you have tried, they would have to make sure their content is stellar. You don’t want people digging up bs. ( Did you get the joke???? ).

  19. Abhik

    You achieved this back in 2007 and letting us know in 2010? Great!!
    Anyway, I’d also like to know how you did that banner thing.

  20. nealcal

    Interesting. This reminds me of Facebook ads. The advertisers really know how to use the right language and images.

  21. enajyram00

    This is a noob question, but why do digg.com users like Linux and Apple and hate Microsoft? I’m curious and a little interested, since I’ve never used digg.com. I hear about it often, and I have friends using it, but I’ve never used it.

  22. Cool Magazine

    How often do you submit your own site to social networking sites and get to top. I have heard that digg toppers are a part of a strong lobby. Getting on front page for some new user is really hard on digg.

  23. Mike

    Amazing!!!! I don’t think I have ever had more than 10 Diggs on any of the posts I have submitted to Digg. I always knew the system could be exploited but didn’t know how.

    I would be interested in knowing how many Diggs this post gets????

  24. daniel

    That really is hilarious. Maybe it’s partly the comedy aspect aswell which got them digging! Great ingenuity Shoeboy lol

  25. Lem

    Well this is funny!
    Its a basic value – Knowing your target audience, but this.. this is taking it to new heights in my opinion.. Big LOL, and great job!

  26. satve

    This is a childish question why this is digg.com for linux users such hatred? I find it interesting and why people react so? I do not even enjoy dogg.com. I had to hear about it, have friends who enjoy but never lowered the others!

  27. Farllok

    It’s interesting to see how two changes can change the way normal surfers view your website
    That guy p*ssing on Microsoft is too funny.

  28. Toddler Sleep

    I think they get a bad press generally. The may not have the “coolness” of the brand of, say, Apple but their products are much better than many would have you believe.

  29. Mike

    How interesting that changing two ads depending on where you come from can make such a difference, I might have a bit of an experiment now, cheers for sharing.

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    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your site and wished to state which I have truly enjoyed searching your blog articles. In any case I’m going to be signing up for your give food to as well as I hope you create again quickly!

  31. Wallpapers

    I knew that Digg users were anti microsoft and were more orientated towards Macs, or in this case Linux. However, I never expected that changing the pictures on the landing page could make such a difference.

    It is still difficult to understand.

  32. kayode

    This is eye opening.How can one ever thought that such changes could bring to Digg’s home page.i have been trying to get to the frontpage to avail for the past one year. i think i will try this out for my blog on make money blogging

  33. geturexbackMike

    Very interesting. I’ve been a Digg-er for a while now but not too many people digg my stuff so far. This gives me a lot to think about. P.S. also enjoyed the affiliate summit video… ;-)

  34. kvartiravkieve

    original idea! Always if you are thinking opposite to 95% of other people you achieve awesome results. Jeremy, thank you so much for fresh idea. Wish you get an other one and share it with us ;)

  35. Rembo

    I’ve tried to be at first page of google for 7 times. Nice idea that digg people don’t like microsoft. I also know that articles about digg are very popular!

  36. Rembo

    I’ve tried to be at first page of digg for 7 times. Nice idea that digg people don’t like microsoft. I also know that articles about digg are very popular!

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  38. CNC Machine Auction

    Were you using a script that recognized the user was coming from Digg and only showed those visitors the modified page? I’m guessing so, as you wouldn’t want those mods showing to your normal visitors..which would affect conversions.

  39. trojan batteries

    I’d really like clarification on this. Is this what is called cloaking, and why is this frowned upon by the goog? Seems like a website that was completely customized for each visitor would be the apex of web accessibility?

  40. Vince S

    Jeremy is truly a Digg master! It just goes to prove what can happen if you are prepared to think outside the box. Digg can be really fussy with in-content ads too, so make sure you leave those out from the start

  41. James Audio Books Guy

    Interesting Jeremy. Do you think post Panda that Diggs and other social buzz factors really help in the organic serps? Are you a big advocate of displaying social interest such as Diggs and Tweets etc in something like a floating tool bar?

    James

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