Archive for December, 2008


FYI News: Dulles Technology Corridor Residents are Digg Diggin’’s Redesign and Jack Shafer’s Experiments with Blogging and SEO

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Revival of an Article excerpted from Jack Shafer–Posted to open the local community discussion in the Dulles Technology Corridor about the successful use of DIGG, and giving us all a great explanation of how their service is working for patrons and Internet writers in the international web-based writing market.

Digg and are both places of interest we are watching; check them both out as the Net’s up and coming trends for personal favorites bookmarks and blog watching. With friends and neighbors in Ashburn spending so much time in our Wifi and high-tech FIOS oriented neighborhoods, cocktail party and boardroom discussions about SEO benefit from knowing the latest and greatest inside scoops from the Internet community.

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Slate Magazine
press box

Digg Me or Bury Me

Using (or is that exploiting?) a people-powered news aggregator to attract hits.

By Jack Shafer

Slate‘s redesign, which launched Monday, includes a feature that some Web sites have had for years: A front-page pane that displays the most-read stories, the most blogged, and the most e-mailed. For obvious reasons, staffers are as interested in the “most” lists as readers, and so on Wednesday (June 28) our copy chief Rachael Larimore sent around e-mail asking if anybody had an idea why a two-year-old piece by tech writer Paul Boutin (“So Tired,” July 13, 2004) had cracked the daily top five.

Not to take anything away from Boutin, but the piece isn’t anywhere near his best. It’s a light story about, a site that invites readers to send e-mail describing why they’re tired.

Josh Levin, Boutin’s editor, quickly determined the origin of the story’s new popularity:, the husky and growing people-powered news aggregator. Digg has 300,000 registered users, reports Google Watch, draws 8.5 million unique visitors a month, and serves 9.5 million pages a day. Think of Digg as a Billboard Top Million, only for Web pages rather than CDs.

Here’s how Digg works: Registered users submit Digg-worthy Web content—news stories, blog entries, videos, pictures, what have you—to the site by writing a synopsis and linking back to the piece. Then, other registered users “community rank” the submission with votes, aka “diggs,” and the highest-ranked stories earn promotion to Digg’s front page. Registered users can also “bury” stuff they don’t like. Think of the registered users as thousands of unpaid editors—or filters, to use Webspeak—and regard their picks as the wisdom of the crowd, to use James Surowiecki‘s felicitous phrase. Nonregistered users are free to explore the site, of course, and click through to stories. Think of them as readers (or drinkers).

Digg’s FAQ says submitted stories reside in the upcoming stories section for between 12 and 24 hours. The story drops from the queue if it doesn’t earn enough diggs to rise to the Digg home page and is automatically jettisoned if it receives enough “bury story” demerits. It’s very Darwinian.

Ordinarily, an archived piece such as Boutin’s might garner a couple of hits a month for Slate, but the Digg referral produced 26,506 page views of it in one day. The user who nominated Boutin’s story, “Pitfan,” submitted it to Digg on Monday, June 26. It’s the only submission he’s ever made to Digg under that name, although he’s dugg 129 pieces since registering on the site in November 2005. As I write this Friday morning, Boutin’s story has earned 1,586 diggs, which makes it the 65th-most-dugg story on Digg’s Technology section this week. That’s not a huge number of diggs by the site’s standards. The most-dugg story of the week in the Tech section is a Digg blog piece about the rollout version 3.0 of Digg, with 10,317.

The dramatic resurrection of Boutin’s story inspired me to compose a piece about Digg—the column you’re reading now—and to digg it under the username “ShaferAtSlate” within minutes after Slate posts it to test the referral power of Digg. If Digg can steer enough readers to an old story about a marginal Web site to make it one of Slate‘s top stories, what might it do for a fresh story about a powerful Web site?

Ordinarily, my columns pull anywhere between 8,000 and 40,000 page views a day, the traffic being determined by the sexiness of my subject and other variables. I credit blog discussions of my columns about blogs, New Orleans, race, and TV blondes with generating tens of thousands of additional page views. I always benefit from links from Romenesko, the top aggregator of press news and opinion, and when a “Press Box” appears on the Slate home page with a big illustration or graces the MSN home page, my average page counts can double, triple, or grow by 10X.

In my pursuit of extra hits, I’ve taken what I consider to be an ethical and transparent path. There’s nothing inherently wrong about promoting something you wrote, especially if you promote it using your own name. If you don’t digg yourself, who will? Digg’s terms of service prohibit individuals from creating multiple accounts to artificially inflate a digg count, a policy I consider sensible. Inflating digg counts with multiple accounts is as sleazy as fraudulently boosting the Amazon ranking of a book you’ve written by purchasing them in bulk from the site. (Some authors have done just this.)

If I were a craven seeker of hits, I’d link directly to my Digg submission here. Instead, I’ll offer only a modest pointer: If you want to digg or bury this piece, search for “” in Digg’s search window and scroll the results until you find it. (At present that search query returns 21 Slate stories.) The summary of my story will explain who I am and why I wrote the column and submitted it. Upon submission of my piece I’ll also send e-mail to the Digg team to inform them of this experiment. If they decide this experiment violates their terms of service—which I don’t think they will—they’ll be free to delete my digg from the site.

In my mad quest for hits, I’ve given myself a leg up by writing about Digg instead of, say, puppy-dog tails. Digg users love stories about the site. At least six of Digg’s top 30 stories this year are about it, and most are about technology, owing to its origin as a tech-centric site. The more techie an article, the better its chance of rising, I’ve observed. But Digg’s tech focus is changing, with beta sections named Science, Videos, Entertainment, Gaming, and World & Business now rounding out the site.

The surge of hits Digg sent to Slate proves that Web sites with lots of stories in the bank—we’ve published about 33,000 stories in 10 years—could better exploit those archives. We routinely “recycle” old stories when events give them new relevance, we published a list of the most-read stories from 2005 in late December, and in our 10th anniversary celebration last week we exhumed some of our greatest hits to commercial success. If the digging of Boutin is any guide, readers are eager to trust other like-minded readers to guide them to good content. Maybe Web sites like Slate should set up Digg-like voting booths to do that. Slate‘s discussion forum, “The Fray,” which already requires registration, could be adapted to this end.

Will my quest offend Digg users as an evil manipulation of their beloved site and prompt them to bury my submission? They tend to despise users who engage in self-promotion on the site. Or will they judge my story on its own merits?

I’ll be back in a couple of days with a follow-up reporting whether I got dugg or buried.


Bloggers, don’t try this Digg experiment at home before you read Monetize‘s “Can Your Site Survive a Digg?” The piece predicts that the tidal wave of hits could swamp and sink your site if you’re not prepared! Send ideas for other “Press Box” Web experiments to (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. EarthLink folks: Turn off your spam filters if you want me to write back.)

Jack Shafer is Slate‘s editor at large.

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Copyright 2008 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC


Holiday Road Trip Alert: Giving in Style Event at Maserati of Baltimore Displays Celebrity Fashion December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

*** Mid-Atlantic MEDIA ADVISORY***
Baltimore Raven, Daniel Wilcox Hosts “Giving In Style”

Celebrities Donate in Charitable Fashion…

Washington Redskins Fans from Northern Virginia and the DC Metro Area Cordially Invited to Attend

Eddie Rhodman
Phone: 770-908-1525

Baltimore Ravens tight end, Daniel Wilcox, through his charitable foundation, Empowerment M.I.N.D.S., which seeks to open up the horizons of disadvantaged youth through programs that increase their access to opportunities.

Giving in Style, a red carpet charity cocktail party, celebrity fashion show and auction, proceeds of which will help Empowerment M.I.N.D.S. to provide Baltimore area youths  and youth sponsored by The Have a Heart Campaign with reading materials, technological products and cultural opportunities.

Eunice Style Fashion Consulting, IMAT, and IMEG Productions are coordinating the fashion show featuring celebrity models including Ravens’ players such as Ed Reed, Chris McCalister, Bart Scott and many others.  Plus, musical entertainment will be provided by Carmen, Paula Campbell, Chop Shop Cartel and various talented acts. Also in attendance will be various dignitaries such as star violinists “Nuttin’ But Strings”, Peter Angelos and Baltimore Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti.

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008, 6:30 PM- 10:30 PM

Maserati of Baltimore Dealership
1628 York Road,
Timonium, MD 21093

Confirmed Celebrity Models:
Marcus Maxwell #17, Corey Ivy #35 CB and Emilia Ivy, Edgar Jones #84 TE, Chris McCalister #21 CB, Frank Walker #41 CB, Ed Reed #20 DB, Quinn Sypniewski #88 TE  and Mia Sypniewski, Haruki Nakamura #43 DB, Evan Oglesby #25 CB, Bart Scott #57 LB and Starr Scott, Mark Clayton #89 WR, Steve Hauschka PK, Ernie Wheelwright #12 WR, Derrick Mason #85 WR, Christine Ngata wife of Haloti Ngata #92DE, Nathan Corbett of HBO’s  The Wire, Anwan Glover  of HBO’s The Wire and Larry Caudell.

Fashion Contributors:
Jimmy Choo, Davon Scott, Star Won, Natey McFly, Xavier Furs-Furrier to the Stars, Ande and Amarley, Dollhouse Boutique, Nido Jewelry,
Smythe Jewelers, Parish Clothing, Renegade, Ducati Wear- Speeds Cycle, KatWalk Boutique, Alex Risimnic Couture- Featured Designer, Kustom Looks Clothier – Designs, DTLR, Chaos Boutique

About Empowerment M.I.N.D.S.:
The Empowerment M.I.N.D.S. Foundation
(Motivating and Inspiring Neighborhoods Determined to Succeed) seeks to open up the horizons of disadvantaged youth in the inner city areas through partnering with schools & community based organizations to create & support programs to increase youth access to reading materials, technology, and cultural opportunities.

About Daniel Wilcox:
Decatur, GA native, Daniel Wilcox is an 8th year tight-end/utility player going into his 6th year as a Baltimore Raven. One of the most active Ravens in the community, Wilcox is a frequent visitor to area schools throughout the season. Professionally, he’s known as a versatile playmaker with soft hands who converted from a college wide receiver to tight end in the NFL.

Cost for Tickets (Space is LIMITED so buy early):

$50 General Admission / $83 Reserved Seating

For more information about the event, please visit