The Digg Widget, diggthis.js, and Useless Traffic

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There is no denying, by whatever measure you use, that Digg gets a lot of inbound traffic and as a result, generate a lot of outbound traffic for the site’s that get showcased on its homepage. But if you look close enough, a lot of Digg’s incoming traffic is actually absolutely useless.
Digg, Netscape, and Reddit, all offer ways to integrate their sites with yours using buttons. But what is different about Digg when compared to the other two sites in terms of integration is that if you place a ‘Digg This’ on your blog, every time a visitor Diggs a story from your site, the widget automatically force-redirects the visitor from your site to the Digg page for that particular submission. In contrast, if you Netscape-vote or Reddit-vote for a story while on a blog using an integrated widget, these widgets don’t force-redirect you to the social sites’ pages for that story.
From my understanding, the culprit is the diggthis.js part of the submission widget script (which was also cited as a possible reason why Compete thinks that Digg has the same traffic as Facebook). This traffic going to Digg, however, is largely useless because you have already read the article on the blog and you’re highly likely to close the page anyway.
The argument can be made for both sides. While content producers want traffic from socially driven sites, at the same time they don’t want users leaving their sites. And from Digg’s perspective, why shouldn’t they make you come to their site, it shouldn’t be a one-sided relationship, should it? However, if you’re going to try and justify this by arguing that the user-generated commentary on socially driven sites is worth the visit, I beg to differ.

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  • webcrunch

    I wrote that comment and it’s not exactly the way you present it.
    As far as Alexa goes, if you have in your page a JavaScript that calls another site, which in return will “spit” out web content to your page, Alexa counts it as a visit to that other site.
    So in this case, you don’t even have to click on the DiggIt button, Alexa is already counting you as a visitor to Digg.
    It may sound weird, but I know it’s 100% true because I’ve experienced with one of my sites.
    The argument was whether Compete (not ComScore) behaves that way too. So far Compete hasn’t said it does nor it doesn’t. In fact it’s not hard to find out, so I’ll go and see what’s up…

  • Muhammad Saleem

    I’m sorry about that webcrunch, it wasn’t my intention to misrepresent what you were saying. No harm done.

  • webcrunch

    Ah no, I’m not offended or anything. Just clarifying 🙂

  • Yuri

    Well, technically, your visitors do come back to read more, though. Of course, leaving the site for Digg leaves them uncomfortable with the experience, though.