Spamming Digg through Instant Messenger

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Have you ever submitted a story to a social site like Digg and then messaged a few of your friends through AIM and told them to vote for it? There is nothing wrong with this but they probably know what you are up to, here’s why.
Usually when users vote on stories, they go to the homepage of a site such as, roam around, and then vote on stories they like. But when you spam your AIM buddy list and get people to click on a direct link to a Digg story URL it shows up in Digg’s logs that they came directly to that URL. If I were running a social site like Digg the first thing I would think of when I see this is that someone is trying to game the system. How can 20 or so people (if not more) from different IPs throughout the world know the exact URL of a story that just got posted to Digg?
From what it seems like, Digg is not this sophisticated yet, but they probably will start flagging these types of diggs (votes) in the future. So before you spam your buddy list telling them to digg a specific story of yours think about it first, in the future this tactic might not have the same results as it does today.

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 Quick Sprout.
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  • Muhammad Saleem

    Great point Neil. Let me point out three things that will prevent Digg from ever regulating this kind of activity.
    1. You can message people a link to a user’s (or your) profile/submitted page and tell them to Digg a story from there.
    2. You can make it your mynumberone story and tell people to Digg it from your profile/myone
    3. You can locate the story on the Digg/Upcoming queue and tell people to vote it from there.
    The reason I point these three out is because I frequently find my self navigating to my friends’ profiles to see what they have submitted and marked as their number one story, and often vote on content from there. And of course I am a strong proponent of voting on content from the upcoming queue and helping deserving content along. Because people do this of their own accord as well, it is impossible to distinguish whether a person is voting from one of these menus because they were IMed the url or because they navigated there themselves.

  • Neil Patel

    Smart move Loren.
    Mu, your points are valid, but I still don’t like how that shows up as a “direct visitor” in the logs. Sending people to the Digg homepage or the original post as Loren pointed out is probably wiser.

  • Brian

    I don’t think you have anything to worry about. What about all the “digg this” links in rss feeds. If I click on it, what does it show as your referral? Maybe the rss reader if you’re reading using a web based reader, but if you’re in a stand alone reader, I’ll bet it looks like you just typed in the URL.

  • Matthew Berman

    what if you have a “digg this” button. that will take you directly to the digg page for any number of IPs.

  • Michael Wales

    Other people have mentioned the digg this button – the difference is: using the digg this buttons you are establishing a referrer (something digg can use). If you click on a link in AIM, Outlook, any non-website link – you do not have an established referrer, therefore the incoming request is labeled as a type-in entrance.