Are Sites Preparing Content ‘Exclusives’ for Digg Submission Prior to Posting?

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Digg uber-user MrBabyMan (over 1,000 frontpage stories now!) had an interesting observation today – he wondered if certain websites might be preparing stories as ‘Digg Exclusives’ and making sure they get posted to Digg before they actually go live on their site’s main page. He noticed this situation with the Mac rumor site AppleInsider today.
While at first it may not be entirely clear why any site would want to do this, when you take into account that after the most recent algorithm change certain users are having an even harder time getting stories on the main page, this preemptive submission could be considered a way to control who submits your story to Digg and to make sure it’s someone who can reach the frontpage with relative ease. It could of course also be an attempt to help boost some user’s Digg profile, but this seems less likely given the fact that the top user list no longer exists.
If this situation is true (and I’m not saying it is), this is an entirely new era of Digg manipulation. While there almost certainly have been situations where content-providers have asked a user to Digg their story before another, presumably less-desirable user does, holding off on publishing it until after it’s submitted to Digg would be a new, extreme approach and one that speaks to the power of Digg. Is Digg so important that it’s dictating when writers actually publish their stories? Are some saving stories to publish now until mid-morning or late-afternoon because they are high-traffic hours on Digg? Or is it the opposite, are some posting late at night because it’s easier to make the frontpage?
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As the number of stories in the upcoming section with over 100 diggs continues to grow (there are currently 7 such submissions in the upcoming section), Digg seems to be in the process of evolving into an even larger, yet more exclusive site. They’re combating gamers, but are they pushing content providers to attempt to manipulate the system in the process? It doesn’t speak well for the “democracy” on Digg.

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