26 October 2005

Al Pacino and the Digg effect

At 7:30 am US Central time, on Saturday, October 2nd, Albert Pacino of the Netherlands submitted a link from Communication Nation to Digg.com. That is, he dugg it. With that click Albert started a linking cascade that caused a 20x increase in traffic to this blog and taught me a lesson in the economics of social bookmarking and the Digg Effect.

(If you're wondering what Digg is, you can read more about it on their home page.)

Here's what happened:

A post called "How easy is your writing to understand" was originally published by Communication Nation on September 19, 2005.

To set a baseline, this is a new blog and averages about 200 visits a day.

At approximately 7:30 am on Saturday, October 22, 2005 -- more than a month after the original post -- Albert Pacino diggs the post. Within hours Communication Nation was on the front page of Digg.com. By 6pm the post made the del.icio.us/popular list. At the end of the day Communication Nation had received more than 4,500 visitors; that's about 20 times more than the previous day.

By Sunday, the pace was slowing. The post was submitted to reddit's what's new page by spez. By Monday the site was no longer showing up on del.icio.us or reddit, but readers from digg were still trickling in. As you can see from the Sitemeter chart shown here, things are pretty much back to normal.

Click here for the XPLANATiON.

Now I'm suffering from Post-Digg Syndrome: Could this have happened during the week when traffic is higher or was it a fluke, a weekend effect? What could I have done to keep the traffic up? I have no idea.

I have since learned that the Digg Effect is not perceived positively by everyone. Those who pay for their own hosting, or that host their own servers, can be brought to their knees by the overwhelming traffic surge. In this case you can chalk one up to the power of the massive Google/Blogger server farms, because Communication Nation felt no pain.

I have also learned that Albert Pacino is a controversial character. He's suspected of foul play because his diggs get quickly dugg by a dozen others. His critics say he's created fictional names so he can digg things multiple times. His champions say he gets dugg so much because he's a surfing machine and he finds great links. But as far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter: either way he's a hero, for bringing Communication Nation to the masses :-)

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1 comment:

Greg said...

Where's the Digg Effect Xplanation?