Friday, May 8, 2009

Top Ten Reason why sites like Reddit and Digg should be avoided

1. First, the notorious “Digg Effect” can knock your site offline for hours on end, downing your server and preventing your real readers from getting to your latest and greatest post.
2. Second, Diggers, Stumblers, and Redditers (is that a word?) tend to be marginally more internet savvy than other web users. This usually means they will either ignore your blog’s monetization efforts or negatively vote for your monetized blog. If they have Adblock Plus running in Firefox they will never see your ads and scripts anyway. So, not only can these social bookmarking sites send you offline, even if your server stays ahead of the crowd, the surge in traffic will not help you pay the resulting increased bandwidth costs.
3. Third, that massive one-off server hit does not represent a large proportion of web traffic and gives bloggers a false impression of their site’s popularity. Just because Digg etc are trendy, at the moment, does not mean that they represent anything but a small minority of the net surfing public. In fact, the vast majority of browsing of websites, including blogs, still comes from the major search engines, across almost all sites. Social bookmarkers represent a tiny niche. Nevertheless, the search engine companies recognize the existence of this trickle of users and are already stemming the flow by developing web 2.0 type searching of their own, e.g. Google’s searchmash.
4. Fourth, do you enjoy visiting websites that have dozens of chicklets and socializing icons attached to every post? Thought not. Then why would your visitors? If you are using a plugin such as Alex King’s ShareThis or AddThis, then that is probably the happy medium between having no social icons and having just one to cover all bases. But, see items 1-3 for reasons not to add this extra layer of blog bureaucracy to your visitors’ experience in the first place.
5. Fifth, social bookmarking can deflate a blogger’s ego in two respects. If you do not ever get Digged, Stumbled, or Redd, then you might begin to think that your posts are failing to impress. Similarly, if you do get bookmarked on those sites and either get little or lots of traffic from them, the comments that users leave can often cut to the quick. A fragile ego could be shattered by a throwaway, yet scathing, remark from a single commentator on Digg.
6. Sixth, the enormous exposure you might gain, however transiently, will expose you to a far greater number of malicious net surfers who will see your site as an attractive target for various bad deeds. For instance, being Digged is more than likely to expose your site to more spammers and scrapers, but more worryingly is that a flippant remark made in a single post could become the target of a vindictive lawyer hoping to make a fast buck out of you.
7. Seventh, social bookmarks will drain your time, reducing the number of hours left each day for actual blogging, or even totally preventing you leaving your computer’s side. The more attractive you try to make your site to Digg etc, the more time you will spend checking backlinks, looking at stats, and keeping track of your Digged articles, just in case one of them ever gets hitt hard.
8. Eighth, you may have written provocative and attractive copy and when that SB Effect hits, you may be expecting a stack of great comments to bump up your site’s content still further. You won’t get it. Digg and other social bookmarkers rarely bother to comment on blogs. Specifically, Digg users are at best tolerant of blogs and at worst hate them with a vengeance (see above).
9. Ninth, you might have half a dozen newsfeed subscribers today, but what about after the Stumblers land? Sorry, it will not make much difference, just as those users do not tend to leave comments they will also likely fail to subscribe to your RSS either, no matter how prominent your giant orange feed icon.
10. Tenth and finally, despite the hyperbole, social bookmarking, like all the other web 2.0 malarkey is a passing phase, it is a fairly big phase, but it is passing nevertheless. If you aim to keep up with it, you will lose focus, and in a couple of years time, when it is but a memory and we have moved on to web 3.0 (or maybe just web 2.1), your social bookmarking stacked site will look very old hat, whether that’s white or black, does not matter.

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