The Great Link Heist = #DiggFAIL

by Ben Cook on July 21, 2009

One of the greatest heists of all time occurred over the weekend and if you weren’t paying attention, you might have missed it.

baby-flips-birdIn one big “F*** You!” to the rest of the web, Digg instantly stole millions of links from across the web.

Instead of acting like a responsible URL shortener, Digg decided to redirect all the shortened links they control, to the corresponding Digg story instead of the target site, even if you aren’t logged in to Digg!

Now before you go calling this an honest mistake, remember that Digg has already been through a similar controversy in regards to their Diggbar & URL shortener. They already learned their lesson about stealing other people’s content through the use of frames, and they CERTAINLY learned the value of a link.

In fact, so many SEOs educated Digg that they served an SEO friendly 301 redirect for all of their shortened links to anyone not logged in to their website. Most notably, that list included search engine spiders which meant that even if someone used a Digg shortened URL to link to your site, you would still get the benefit of that link.

Digg Isn’t Just Stealing Traffic!

Unfortunately, over the weekend Digg decided that they just couldn’t live without all that extra traffic. I’m not sure whether their business is failing that spectacularly that they need to steal from just about anyone with a website, or Kevin Rose just made a spectacularly stupid decision, but the net result was that Digg not only stole traffic, but millions of links from millions of sites.

If for instance, someone linked to your site using a Digg shortened URL (http://digg.com/d1sa56) all the benefits of that link now flow directly to Digg.

And, before you think this doesn’t affect you consider that several Twitter sites allow Digg to be used as a default URL shortener. If someone is unaware of Digg’s theft, and tweets what they think is a link to your site, you’re out of luck. Also keep in mind that the move doesn’t just apply to links that are created from here on out. It was applied retroactively across the board!

Fool Me Once, Shame On You…

While some Digg loyalists will no doubt point out Kevin Rose’s tweet stating he’d look into the issue and had been away on vacation as a legitimate excuse, this type of behavior has recently become pattern with Digg.

Sure, Kevin Rose may have been away on vacation, but he had time to send out plenty of Tweets during that two-week time span. And, even if he didn’t know anything about it (which is highly doubtful for a decision with such obvious impact) the decision to steal from millions of webmasters perfectly illustrates the character of Digg as a company.

Whenever Digg gets caught with its hand in the cookie jar, it always seems to happen with Kevin is away or completely unaware of it. Thankfully, he swoops in, apologizes and makes it right. Time after time after time.

I’m sorry Kevin, but you need to either fire your entire staff and replace them with people who won’t flip the bird to the entire internet while you’re away, or you need to stop lying in hopes of saving your good guy image.

We know you need to make money, and we know your company is struggling. Desperate times call for desperate measures but at least be man enough to own up to the completely idiotic measures you take in desperation.

We’re Through

I for one will never return to your site. While once one of your biggest fans, your complete disregard for content producers and website owners has become blatantly apparent and I’ll not support your company because of it.

Yes those big boosts of traffic from a front page story are nice to see in my website stats. But in the last year you’ve stolen my content, my traffic, and my links (which in turn will negatively impact the amount of traffic I receive from the search engines).

As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Kevin and Digg, I’m simply not going to let you fool me a third time.

Let ‘em hear it!

kid-megaphoneIf you agree with this post and would like to see Digg held accountable for their actions, please retweet this story and use the #DiggFAIL hashtag in your Tweets today. While Mashable’s story hit the trendy topics shortly, Digg still needs to have their feet publicly held to the fire for their reprehensible behavior.

Also, feel free to link to the Mashable story with Digg in the anchor text. The story currently ranks 5th in Google for the search “Digg” and with some help can move even higher!

Images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/meltingmama/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/djfoobarmatt

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ash July 21, 2009 at 9:14 am

I never fully understood the obsession with Digg over other services available. Not only that but I don’t like working with people who don’t value trust.

Look. It isn’t all that difficult to build a “great” service that can take advantage of it’s users. It’s difficult to build a great service that doesn’t.

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DWcourse July 21, 2009 at 11:57 am

Let’s face it, Digg is all about feeding our insatiable desire for visitors to our sites. We’re hooked and Digg, just like any other dealer, is taking advantage of the fact and diluting the product. Maybe it’s time to kick the Digg habit once and for all.

My name’s Jim, I’m a Diggaholic and I’ve been Digg free for 7 months.

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