Why Digg is More Popular than Del.icio.us… Or is it?

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Digg is probably the only company which got loads of online buzz when it hit the one million user mark. Come to think of it, there is even a story on the Digg.com homepage today about Digg hitting a million users even when the date they announced their millionth user was a month and a half ago.

Funny thing is, if you look at Digg’s competition, especially Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon, the competition have much larger registered user bases, each more than doubling the amount of registered Digg users.

As an example, let’s compare the user base and incoming web links for Digg.com and Del.icio.us.

User Base

  • Digg has a million users.
  • Del.icio.us has over 2 million users.

Inbound Links (tracked by Yahoo!)

  • Digg has 1,473,685 inbound links to Digg.com.
  • There are 2,544,257 inbound links pointing to Del.ico.us.

Mentions of Each Brand (tracked by Google)

Even though Del.icio.us has more active users and is more popular in terms of incoming links, Digg gets much more buzz amongst webmasters and bloggers.

If you look at the Digg vs. Del.icio.us Alexa ranking, even though Del.icio.us has more users, Alexa is still ranking Digg much higher than Del.icio.us. This is because Alexa rankings are skewed towards sites which attract web marketers and webmasters.

Alexa Ranking

  • Digg.com has a Alexa traffic ranking of 86.
  • Del.icio.us has an Alexa traffic ranking of 181.

Alexa Digg Delicious Traffic Rank

I have heard stats however that only 5% of Digg’s traffic is registered. And Del.icio.us attracts a good number of bloggers and webmasters themselves, so it’s probably safe to say that Digg does get equal or a bit more traffic than Del.icio.us.

Furthermore, since this traffic is consisted of bloggers and webmasters, getting a story on the Digg homepage is even more valuable as these opinion leaders who use Digg may blog about those stories.

Stories which make it to the Digg homepage can also send much more traffic than Del.icio.us popular. Why?

Probably because more Del.icio.us members use the service to bookmark the sites and references they find, not just clicking on those links which make it to the Del.icio.us homepage.

But there is another reason Digg is more popular than Del.icio.us; Rock Stardom.

Kevin Rose is a Rockstar

Kevin Rose Digg Rockstar

If you search for occurrences of the names of the founders of Digg vs. Del.icio.us on Google, you’ll find that there is a huge discrepiency between Digg’s Kevin Rose and Del.icio.us’s Joshua Schachter.

Why? There are many reasons for this, besides Digg still being somewhat independently owned and operated:

  • Kevin Rose takes full advantage of the Internet’s Cult of Personality by throwing himself in the media spotlight while Joshua is more of a behind the scenes master of technology.
  • Kevin Rose was a quasi-celebrity before Digg because of his past at TechTV.
  • Digg users connect to Kevin and the other Diggers, via the videocast “TV show” Diggnation.
  • Digg fills its remnant ad space with links and promotions for Diggnation, which reenforces Kevin’s popularity.
  • Digg throws huge parties like their Million User Celebration (1.5 months after the announcement) complete with Digg DJ’s, which makes the Del.icio.us parties seem quite tame and overshadowed by Yahoo! branding.

So, if Del.icio.us stands for Bookmarking, Sharing and Discovery, and Digg stands for Buzz, Partying and Traffic, which service will have a longterm appeal?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Li Evans

    great comparison loren! 🙂

    it just goes to show that sometimes it is the “face” that matters.

  • erik

    very informative mr baker.

  • kdizza

    I’ve never heard of Kevin Rose before this article. I think I’ve seen a couple interviews, but the name never stuck in my head. I like digg tho. I think I like it because its a lot like slashdot.org but a bit more democratized.

  • G

    There is also the fact that Del.icio.us is uglier than sin and Digg.com is not. I think that probably attracts webmasters and marketers.

  • MG Siegler

    Excellent points on Kevin Rose’s role. I think that having a charismatic figurehead/evangelist is often overlooked in favor of just raw stats and technological explanations. It definitely helps Digg out to have a human face for users to identify with.

  • Terry Ng

    With Yahoo’s backing, I think delicious should throw a party every month for the rest of the year. Vodcast them live over the net with some nice go-go dancers and delicious will be getting more press than Digg in no time. 😉

  • Jon

    I think Kevin’s personality may be a contributing factor here, but Kevin Rose is the main cause of diggs popularity? The comparison seems to ignore the fact that correlation does not imply causation.

  • Matt

    Neat article, but you can leave out the giant chip on your shoulder when it comes to digg next time. Perhaps you should’ve thrown “I hate Kevin Rose” as the tagline for this story. 🙂

  • Uhh-Duuuh

    Del.icio.us is a STUPID name digg is user friendly game over!

  • Uzair

    Could it just be that Digg users are morons of the highest order? Go through the comments attached to stories for a few days and you’ll start to see they’re cattle who will respond in predictable ways to predictable stimuli. It’s pathetic and a sad indictment of the power of the ‘social web’.

  • G


    If it were only Digg users. People in general are morons of the highest order. Nearly any website that allows comments ends up the way that digg comments end up.

  • live tv

    how about the fact that what’s popular on Digg ends up on Delicious, whereas the same is not true in inverse.

  • Tom

    Comparing Digg with Delicious is like comparing apples and tennis balls. Digg is not a bookmarks site and Delicious is not a news site.

  • Logler

    No this comparision isn’t right, how can we compare eggs and onions? Digg is a social news service and a del.icio.us is a social bookmarking service…it is big difference between them.

  • Stats Guy

    I imagine that the number of hits for Kevin Rose includes many that have nothing to do with the creator of Digg, while more of the hits for Joshua Schachter actually have to do with the creator of del.icio.us. I did a quick non-scientific check and found that there are 100 entries in my local phone listings for Rose and 5 for Schachter.

  • nirad

    imho, the Digg model is limited as it only appeals to their core demographic. People who aren’t interested in the same types of stories as the Digg community won’t use the site.

  • j

    None are nearly as good as Fark.com though, which often provokes witty, rational, and thoughtful debates. Oh who the hell am I kidding, its non of those, but Fark’s still better.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    j, Fark is pretty dang good. I really think that the site is forgotten in discussions of social news sharing and community 🙂

  • BillyG

    Personally, I’ve never surfed through either one, even though I’ve been a member of each since their day-one.

    I do get a lot of stories through my digg feed though; if they’re worth keeping, they go with all my other saves straight to my del.icio.us account.

  • Budlight

    Yeah I wonder if Kevin Rose is the reason Fark has never taken off like Digg seems to have. Fark has been around forever.

  • Finn

    I scan both digg and del. I use del. for my bookmarks. I must not be up on my tech celebs because I’ve never heard of Kevin Rose. Now I know who created this wonderful site.

  • acydlord

    I don’t understand how you can even try to compare digg and del.icio.us as the offer two completely different services. Digg is a social news website, del.icio.us is a social bookmarking/bookmark organizing website. That is like comparing e-bay to news.com. It seems to me this article was just a grab for attention from the digg community. Even in the numbers you show that del.icio.us is a more popular site, but that is perhaps because it has a different aim? Get off kevin’s nuts and do a little more research in to the purpose of the websites you compare next time, thanks.

  • David

    I smell…Diggbait!

    I ‘ve read it on SEOmoz but I still cannot believe how much Digger hate SEOs, but always fall for Diggbait.

  • Ted Hosmann

    How bout the fact that del.icio.us was sold to Y! at about the same time digg was just starting up. Digg was able to reach 1Million users in just 18 months.

    Del.icio.us on the other hand is a good tool to have more than one account. I have 3 accounts that I use regularly for different purposes.

  • Peter

    Great story Loren.

    But is you look at Google Trends Digg has been on top since 2005. perhaps you should add this fact to the equation.

  • Baxter Tocher

    Digg and del.icio.us (and that’s the proper spelling – the link in your article is broken!) have nothing whatsoever in common. How do you manage to vote on del.icio.us? How do you manage to use Digg for social bookmarking?

    A little more research might have drawn you towards services that *are* similar to Digg – there are several, including CoRank and SpicyPage, where the purpose of the site *is* for the user to vote.

    There are also services similar to del.icio.us, such as ma.gnolia. These are for social bookmarking.

    The way this article is written, you might as well try and vote on your own bookmarks inside Firefox or IE. It’ll save you opening a del.icio.us account.

  • Ann Smith

    trying to distract me with the cute pic of kevin rose unfortunately won’t make me overlook your fuzzy math. StatsGuy has a good point. all i’ve concluded from your article is that going by Ann Smith will enable me to claim an astronomical amount of hits. yes!

  • Tom

    My favorite is a del.icio.us

  • TrortNown

    =”http://www.xrum.977mb.com”>new year foto

  • Hangover Cure


  • George

    I am new to the blogging, facebook, digg , del.icio.us, and others. Like oseveral user above
    said, how can you compare the two.
    Can any one tell me what each is used for and use straight english that someone like me can understand, I don’t know what all of the “BUZZ words mean. How do I use each and what for.Thanks, George

  • linksabc.com

    Very interesting comparision, but i prefer to digg~

    • Selena Narayanasamy

      I, too, prefer to Digg. I think I’m honestly just too lazy to put my own bookmarks on delicious and read other people’s that they find interesting. I prefer to just open Digg and start clicking away!

  • Aditya

    hahahahhaha…i just imagined KEVIN ROSE dressed like Bon Jovi.

    Somebosy give this guy (Kevin rose) an award 🙂