Digg is Censoring Content by Burying Stories Internally

SMS Text

We all know that the main reason why stories don’t hit the Digg homepage is because they get buried. Some say the buries are caused by specific Digg users who have it out for us while others just blame it on the content saying it wasn’t Digg worthy. Well last week we did a test on Pronet Advertising that shows Digg might be burying stories internally.
Last week [MG Siegler](http://www.parislemon.com/) wrote a post on [I’m in like with You](http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/iminlikewithyou-hot-or-not-for-the-web-savvy21115.html) which got submitted to [Digg](http://digg.com/tech_news/iminlikewithyou_Hot_or_Not_for_the_Web_Savvy) and buried after 20 or so diggs.
im in like with you
You probably think users buried the story, but it actually was one of the Digg employees who buried it or an algorithm that is targeting specific content topics/sites. If you don’t believe me, here is a [document](http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/other/spy_update.htm) that contains 10,000 buries from that day and none of them seem to be buries for the I’m in like with You story.
digg internal bury
It seems that Digg enjoys censoring us and that they did not learn from the [HD-DVD incident](http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/mob-takes-over-at-digg-widespread-user-revolt21081.html). It isn’t just Pronet Advertising who is experiencing bad Digg luck, but others such as [Darius A Monsef IV](http://www.colourlovers.com/about) from [Young Go Getter](http://www.younggogetter.com/) is also experiencing the same thing with his blog. If you feel that your stories are getting buried internally I recommend checking out [this URL](http://www.digg.com/spy_update?&showburies=1&maxitems=10000) because it will show you the last 10,000 buries.
**Update: If the Bury URL mentioned above does work for you, try this alternative [URL](http://www.digg.com/spy_update?&showburies=1&maxitems=5000).

Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at... Read Full Bio
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  • *Very* interesting stuff. I’m fairly certain that my site is on the “internal bury” list as well – anything and everything submitted from it is buried in a matter of minutes, no matter what the subject matter.
    Since there was an actual hit from a Digg crawler, it’s probably set to check the content of a page and bury it if it contains certain keywords. If this behavior is ever acknowledged by Digg, it will be under the guise of a spam-burying bot that still needs fine-tuning.

  • Very interesting!!
    Everyone I know who has the same sort of bad luck, reaching 20 or so diggs then vanishing, has an identical experience. That to me screams either automated digg bury groups or digg burying articles itself.
    How much you want to wager this article gets buried now?

  • Reedy

    Same problem. Very irritating, because there is nothing spam like about my site. And you know what happens after we fail to get more than 20 diggs before being buried? A blog rewords one of our stories, posts it, and gets 1000 diggs… leaving us with the little traffic we get from the blog’s tiny link at the bottom of their article.

  • Chris, that article has already been buried. 😉

  • Good call. I know, and you know I know, about this for quite some time, based on anecdotal evidence and common sense. Thanks for bringing some more proof to the table.

  • mad4

    A story of mine was deleted last week and the last referrer was the crawl3.digg.internal bot.

  • mad4

    Thinking about it, maybe we should be cloaking crawl3.digg.internal………..

  • Here is my theory:
    Digg has an internal auto-bury system. Once a site is added to that blacklist it will get auto buried after a couple of hours, but the engine itself.
    There are 2 ways to get inside that blacklist. If a lot of users bury your story or email digg saying your site is spam you go there. Alternatively if an employee (maybe they even have people working on that full time) spot a site that looks suspicious (i.e. buying diggs or spamming) it will put the site on the list also.
    If you have a legit site and somehow haters buried it as spam you are done with digg.
    The only way to solve this would be for digg to eliminate that crap or make everything public.
    It sucks, that is why I am starting to use other bookmarking sites that are more democratic.

  • I think it has to do with their so called ‘gaming’ algorithm. What this means is that a specific site is connected to you, meaning that you are the owner or an interested party. If you or your friends submit a story from this site, it will climb up the digg chart but will get mysteriously buried prior to reaching the front page.

  • MG – I’ve experienced the exact same thing as you, in regards stories hanging in limbo.

  • Now that the nice screenshot of my twitter comment is included, I should add that the visitor with the internal digg referrer had an IP which resolved to digg.com. And also worth noting is that the visitor was tracked through javascript, so probably not a bot, or else a very sophisticated one.

  • Imran Rafique

    I have experienced this same incident for one of my stories. I’m not sure if its a person or computer making the decision but either way, unfair. I think thats why reddit is still very popular because its more open and free of internal controls.

  • Gawd, it makes me so angry. I don’t care that they edit the content; it’s their site and they’re allowed to do whatever they please with it. The thing that really gets to me is the fact that they lie about it. At Pubcon in November, a “yeah right” snicker went through the crowd when Owen Byrne started harping on about how there’s no editorial input on Digg.
    If he said that today, I think certain crowd members would yell “yeah right” instead of just mumbling it quietly.

  • anon

    I wish they would just show who buried the story, like who diggs the story.

  • Truthfully Neil, based on some of the things you’ve said about digg, about digging your stories and how you target the site, and the way you speak about the digg (and other social sites) crowd in some of your podcasts, I don’t know if this is an all together bad thing…

  • Zach, I totally understand where you are coming from but this is happening to tons of people who are not SEOs. It is Digg’s right to censor, but if they want to censor they should say so and not act like they aren’t.

  • They definitely have an internal “filter list” that buries the stories automatically, right before they get popular.
    They will never NEVER admit that, but only a fool or a child could not see this.
    It’s just so SEEable.

  • PS, MG Siegler, I too had the last X (more then 20) latest stories, each and every single one of them buried.
    It simply isn’t possible unless it’s a machine that’s doing this.

  • Alias Name

    I have unfortunately found this too. When I emailed Digg their response for every bury was the same “the digg community found this story to not be worthy” or something similar. They won’t share any info on the buries.
    What I find interesting is that some sites (arstechnica stands out to me first) seem to be on the home page multiple times a day.
    I have also heard that certain power diggers are getting buried more now too – a few people have said muhammad is one of those.
    Could it be that Digg favors sites that it wants to favor? Others fight for the scraps?

  • No room for self-seo here Rex..
    Sorry to say, but you just dissapointed an already dissapointed bunch of professionals that can create 10 of those websites in a single day.

  • Same thing happens to my site. Anything submitted gets buried. I emailed abuse@digg.com and they said that the buries were “coming from real accounts, there doesn’t seem to be any apparent cohort activity, etc. Most of the buried stories were buried as lame.”
    Meh. I don’t know if I believe them, but if they’re not lying then the site is being gamed – so bottom line: Digg is lame either way.
    Those of you who are experiencing “weird behavior,” where your page is showing up in search results as “not buried” but isn’t on the upcoming list, I think this is just a caching issue. Same thing happens to me. It’s fairly common for the search engine on a site like Digg to store a copy of the site’s content in memory to speed up searches. The in-memory copy sometimes takes a while to sync with the “real” copy. I’m fairly confident that this is what’s going on, and you can test it out by searching for a story that you just submitted. It typically takes about an hour before a newly submitted story to show up in the search results (around the same amount of time it takes for a story to show up as buried).

  • Mike, the rating/bury system is rigged by them.
    Leave the cache non-sense alone (no offense).

  • My recent story currently at around 55 Diggs was buried at 36 Diggs, and based on the Digg spy data that only took 1 “Spam” and 2 “This is Lame”.
    My domain has absolutely no prior buried stories as far as I am aware, though whilst I have content that has generated 50+ links, nothing has ever been popular on Digg.
    There does seem to be excessive power for buries, and no chance of any resurrection.
    The fact that after being buried the story has gone on to receive another 20 Diggs does seem to suggest that the content was useful to some people.
    I should also note that at the exact same time that the buries happened, the comments on the story received the same number of buries, one going to -3 and the other -2
    The story was a beginners guide to the friend functions on Digg that it turns out many people were not aware of. There isn’t exactly a help guide to using all of Digg, or a guided tour of every interface.
    Then again, there is organised burying on SU as well (interesting what you see in logs)

  • Alias Name

    could this also be a case of:
    “the rich getting richer”
    whereby Digg has ties to certain sites so they make sure those are on the fast-track?

  • Me

    I am confused. I came here from a link. Would you like this story Dugg or not?

  • Guess what?
    {“type”:”report”,”itemid”:”1998942″,”date”:”2007-05-15 14:04:07″,”timestamp”:”1179237847″,”reason”:”Inaccurate”,”plk”:”http://digg.com/tech_news/Digg_is_Censoring_Content_by_Burying_Stories_Internally”,”title”:”Digg is Censoring Content by Burying Stories Internally”,”url”:”http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/digg-is-censoring-content-by-burying-stories-internally3452.html”,”dig_count”:”95″,”area”:”Upcoming”},

  • Spacemonkey, tons of people buried this story. I expected it to get buried and it did. The others were stories that shouldn’t have been buried and they were.

  • “you could be missing thousands upon thousands upon thousands of buries”
    …how much burying do you think is going on exactly? More burying than actual digging?
    If that were the case perhaps Digg should simply change its name to ‘Bury’.

  • Jeff X.

    “Yes I know your WEBTICKLE…you can’t hide that anymore!”
    Just curious, where’s your proof of that? I used to have webtickle on my friends list, but considering he diggs EVERYTHING his friends digg, it became unmanageable to scour upcoming stories through the friends list (hundreds of crap stores everyday, all dugg by webtickle).
    Apart from the HD-DVD deal, most complaints about Digg seem to be coming from war-loving neo-cons, SEO spammers and AOL/Time-Warner employees, so Digg seem to be doing something alright to me.

  • You’re A Joke

    @ Stop The Propaganda: You’re a joke. It’s always funny to see immature Digg fanboys attacking anyone or anything that holds digg in a negative light. First of all Neil wasn’t condemning Digg, he was just letting others know about whats happening. This article never said that he is going to stop using Digg because of it. Chill out.

  • Etain Peregrine

    Isn’t it about time the adults declare Digg useless except for its um, how to put this respectfully, dedicated fans. There are a lot of competitors to Digg that don’t have these absurd bury issues. Let them bury themselves, good riddance.

  • Censorship by Digg?

    Neil Patel of Pronet Advertising raises a theory based on one the blogger?

  • Thats True. Even I am seeing a lot of Buries and hear stories about good, useful Stories being Buried. The thing is there is no response from them.A good reason from Digg will atleast help users to know what is going on. Keep up the Good work Neil.

  • AussieWebmaster

    Funny how Stop The Propaganda wants a debate… sort of suggests there are two sides to the story… which implies both have validity… which logic would conclude Neil is right.
    All conversations I have had with Neil have been generally positive about Digg. To speak out about a process that is obviously occurring is to try and stop changes that could diminish the value of Digg.

  • Jeff X.

    “Funny how Stop The Propaganda wants a debate… sort of suggests there are two sides to the story… which implies both have validity… which logic would conclude Neil is right.”
    That’s a pretty slippery slope you got there.

  • The problem that exists is not the burying per se but the fact that Digg sells itself as being democratic. Digg is anything but democratic if it is using its own secret police force to supress news and information that it does not like.
    I’m not talking about supressing porn and illegal stuff either. I’m talking about digg’s habit of burying content that portrays digg (or Kevin rose) in a negative fashion.
    I don’t even need to use digg anymore. All I need is RSS feeds from arstechnica, techcrunch, cnn, yahoo and one or two other sites and I get all the content on digg!

  • Seriously, advertisers are always looking for a free ride. However Digg runs their business IS THEIR BUSINESS. If you are relying on Digg to draw you traffic, your site sucks. Pay for placement or simply stop complaining. We webbies are WAY too filled with a sense of entitlement about our products. Get over yourself, realize either your content or your business model needs work, and get to earning your growth.

  • Our domain came up banned 2 days after we posted a story. Does anyone know of a way to get unbanned?

  • The diggspy url you posted above no longer works. It is showing way less than the last 5,000 or 10,000 buries.

  • L

    Rose has been pulling this for a long time. Remove offending stories, ban the user that shows public dissent. Does he ever admit it? Hell no.
    He banned people who posted the HD-DVD code, then he banned people that publically questioned this. The HD-DVD code posters were unbanned. The dissenters were NOT. Did he fess up to it in his little digg blog that got 20000+ diggs? HELL NO. Those people are still banned, and that little ass just twiddles his thumbs like he doesn’t know how all of those users could’ve possibly disappeared.
    Fuck Kevin Rose and his lying through ommission. It’s sick.