Sex Sells, Especially on Digg!

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The old saying “Sex Sells” never gets old, even in the world of social media marketing and

Recently I’ve been noticing a trend on Digg that when a story is submitted, especially a tech story, with a little spin about sex, that story attracts much more Diggs than it usually would.

Take today’s most popular story on Digg for example, entitled Gmail Users are Younger, Richer, Good in Bed.

Sex on Digg

The genius behind the title of this story, by Pete Cashmore of, is that his blog post is simply the restating of facts from a Hitwise study on GMail usage and user behavior. When comparing GMail to Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, the study shows that users of GMail are younger and have higher incomes.

The study says absolutely nothing about sexual performance, which Cashmore addresses in his post; “As for performance in the bedroom – well, we kinda lied. In fact, the stats show that solitary Gmail users are far more likely to Google themselves.”

Cashmore is instead using the old trick of writing sexy headlines to gather more reader interest. Mashable’s ‘internal’ readers are used to this approach, as Peter routinely talks about sex in his headlines, which draws more interest and comments from his RSS subscribers.

But the after effect is the Digg popularity. Digg is a breeding ground of young horny geeks and in the same fashion that Marvel Comics uses in making Jean Grey or Mary Jane sexier and bustier from year to year, Cashmore does the same in his Mashable titles.


Furthermore, has a positive reputation amongst Digg users, which lets Cashmore get away with the posting of these misleading titles, without getting buried or comment bombed by Diggers (although Pete does not submit these stories himself).

So, if you’re going to try to use Sex to sell your site, get you on or attract more links; be careful, be original, be thoughtful and most importantly, be sexy.

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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  • Of course, the irony here is that you’ve done the exact same thing here that Mashable did, and of course this will lead to a greater number of sex filled Tech industry News Digg post, therefore, further eroding the value of Digg.

  • Moi? 😉

  • Hahah, good article! that’s exactly what i was thinking!

  • I loved it! Too funny and bravo on writing some truth!


  • Must work more sexual innuendos into my headlines! Nice read. FYI your two example links lead to the same address.

    Mark Fulton, Editor
    DotSauce Domain Magazine

  • @eBizMBA
    I dont think he did the same thing. The article is about sex selling, it HAS something to do with sex, so its OK to put it in the headline 😛

  • Your article is yet another proof that sex sells on Digg. A question I ask myself is whether digg should be renamed to a similar word?

  • “especially on Digg.”? Come on, are you that desperate for a story that you would say some retarded shit like this? Sex sells every where, I don’t care if its MTV, Nickelodeon, even Cartoon Network. ROFL Digg is the breeding ground for horny geek? Take a look at the top 20 Digg story this year please, 3 are about the passing of people, and 2-3 are about freedom of speech, The rest about generally about release of new technology and other cool stuff. That should give you a good idea of what kind of people are on Digg and what do we really care about. I’m sorry but if he thinks that Digg is a good source for porn for us geeks then he might as well call himself dumb and stupid.

  • Broken link, Loren. Both the examples lead to the MySpace story.

    Very interesting points though. I probably wouldn’t have noticed the Gmail story either had it not been for the “good in bed” thing.

    It doesn’t mean it’s a bad story though, I still found it interesting.

  • Adam

    That’s nothing new, look at the success of FARK. Only recently did they move the “boobies” tag off the front page to its own section once they realized they could make a lot of money from advertisers in the porn industry, and satisfy their other advertisers that didn’t want the association.

  • Nice post, Loren. Didn’t notice that myself while surfing Digg 🙂

  • Any controversial/cryptic/punchy headline has potential but yeah the ones involving sex get the most eyes’ attention. On my own blog I’ve noticed that a post with an outrageous headline (like “The Five Types of Customers I Hate the Most”) will get TONS of traffic and a slew of comments – and it doesn’t even have to be that great of an article. However a truly GOOD article that I place a purely descriptive headline on will get WAY LESS visitors and maybe zero comments. The lesson here? I need more sex on my blog. Thanks for the insightful article.

  • Pete is really good at the titles, for that MySpace story i gave him at least 3 other choices but none were as good as that one.

  • I wish that sex was free. Freud said that sexual frustration was at the root of all psychological disorders.
    Freud never found the true root of our lack of fulfillment, but he was given hell for postulating that sex was what it was all about.

  • I was going to say ‘duh’, but dammit, sometimes the obvious needs repeating.

    if all else fails, shock em.

  • Well what a great idea! when did you figure out you can pull in every looser with the promise of SEX?

  • buda 5

    to last comment, a geek with $100,000 will get the girl you wish u had and he wont even try to get her she will get him!!!!!!!!

  • but he still is a looser geek, once the bank roll is gone the girl is gone.

  • I feel funy with that. Anyway thank you for your sharing.

  • Miaka Moto

    Even topics about Sex Toys are getting pretty much topic sex really sells and there's nothing we can do about it

  • thats nice idea I like it.

  • 🙂

  • 🙂