Pay For Diggs : Subvert & Profit

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Another ‘black market’ Pay Per Digg operation has opened up which claims that its users will not get banned from Digg.

Subvert and Profit claims that it lets advertisers purchase ‘actions’ on social networks, Digg and beyond, and is now offering Diggs for $1 per Digg.

The company says that its Digg manipulation is one of the most cost effective forms of Internet advertising:

Our cost per click is about $0.003, whereas the cost per click of conventional Internet advertising (such as Google AdWords) is about $0.15. Through Subvert and Profit, it costs about $75 to get a story on the front page of Digg, where it will receive about 25,000 clicks.

And backs its claim that its members (who get paid $.50 – $.75 per Digg to Digg stories) will not get banned from Digg:

Some of you are hesitant to participate in our program for fear of being banned from Digg.   While this is a valid fear, especially since our competitors have failed to protect their users’ privacy, we’d like to tell you how we’ve minimized the risk.

Knowledge is power, and particularly, Digg’s knowledge of suspicious activity is banning power.  Digg will have no such knowledge, as we’ve engineered a few tricks to ensure that our users’ activity (and access to their user page) appears normal.  Let me give you some details:

  • Our algorithm selects users to Digg a story based on how unrelated they are in terms of their Digging history.  This is key, because one of the primary methods of detecting “gaming behavior” is seeing if the same group of users Diggs the same stories repeatedly.
  • We hide the story you are paid to Digg in a short list of randomly selected stories that you will Digg as well.  These stories also show up with the same relative frequency as the paid stories.  This prevents Digg from making accounts on our site to see which stories are paid for, and then banning the users who vote for them.
  • We never link directly to Digg.
  • We verify our users’ Digg activity through a complex string of proxies.

As a marketing angle, and not to endorse this company, I like the way they try to appeal to traditional and naive Internet marketers with the ‘cost effectiveness’ lingo.

Sure, social media marketing can be incredibly cost effective, if performed the right way and tracked correctly via analytics and socially acquired links.

However, there is so much which goes into the preparation of a Digg-bait or Digg worthy project or piece that doing the same old ‘101 Ways To….” story doesn’t carry the leverage it once did.

Smart organic newsworthy content should be shared with our peers among social media and social news channels, and pinging a handful of friends and colleagues to give such material a bit of a headstart is acceptable, but is paying for Diggs worth the risk?

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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  • Andrew

    I guess it’s only a matter of time until someone takes advantage of these bookmarking sites.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Well Andrew, I think a lot of people are already 🙂

    Digg is the main target, but and StumbleUpon as well as some of the smaller guys are great traffic builders.

    I just hope these companies don’t ruin a good thing. Problem is, there are always advertisers lazy enough or cheap enough to go and pay for Diggs or bookmarks instead of earn them.

  • Arpit

    Traffic from Digg is not targeted and fades out quickly. I don’t think its worth buying.

  • Business Marketing

    Well said Andrew–it always comes back to money before long.

    Loren–you are right. It is sad that there are so many lazy advertisers out there, but that’s usually how these things get going. Somebody is always “gaming” the system. Hopefully it doesn’t ruin it for the rest of us.

    By the way, good article. I enjoyed reading it.

  • Matthew Elshaw

    “I like the way they try to appeal to traditional and naive Internet marketers with the ‘cost effectiveness’ lingo.”

    Thats a great point, many internet marketers could be sucked in to this service from the pure volume of traffic it ‘could’ generate, but where is the quality?

  • Hawaii Pictures

    Two words – Honey Pot

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    “Thats a great point, many internet marketers could be sucked in to this service from the pure volume of traffic it ‘could’ generate, but where is the quality?”

    It’s a quick sell Matthew, that’s one aspect of SMM which we’ll all have to find a way to distance ourselves from.

    It’s not just a flavor of the month my friend. But as most new eMarketing opportunities arise, we find ourselves bombarded with such services that try to position it as so.

    In time, the pay per ‘action’ campaigns will find themselves in the same dusty and questionable shelves as snake oiled spam, unfortunately casting a negative shadow against the practice, which parallels the early days of questionable SEO; something the industry has yet to shake from its credible reputation.

  • Gerard McGarry

    Admittedly, my social media marketing skills are not wonderful, I’ve yet to manage a successful campaign on Digg. I do wonder though about the quality of visitor.

    Yes, you can get to the front page, yes your pageviews will be impressive on that day, but will those visitors convert on your site? I don’t know.

  • Ahmed Bilal

    Personally, I think that no matter how hard you try to ‘proof’ a system, someone will come along and find a way to break it.

    This is the problem with using social democracy (a scalable solution) to determine good and bad. The optimal solution (manual review) would be better, but its not scalable.

    My advice – profit from the social networks, but don’t be bound to them as people once were to search engines.

    And use these services – honestly, how is this different from asking your friends to digg a submission? Ethics are involved when you ask this service to promote a crap submission. Quality submissions will only benefit from this.

  • SEO’Brien

    Digg This!

    The interesting question is the degree to which Digg should allow this or find a solution of its own.

  • Andrew Goodrick

    I agree that Digg traffic is quick burn, and probably not very high quality. It is important to note, however, that the Digg homepage has Google PR8. And my guess is that Google indexes Digg quite often. Only $75 to get a link from a PR8 site would be a great deal (plus your link would go into the Digg archives).

    Now, I’m not speaking to the ethics of this idea at all, or to whether the company can actually deliver as promised. But from a purely business standpoint, I would say this is a pretty attractive proposition.



  • Khalid Hajsaleh

    Hi Loren,

    Interesting blog. Although the traffic from digg is not targeted, I do not think that the value of getting on the first page of digg is in the traffic. The value is in the number of link backs a site can get when getting on the first page.

    What are the risks associated with paying for diggs for a business? I see little risk except for the possibly wasted couple of hundred dollars.


  • Jalali

    We offer the same type of thing, but it is totally organic: