New Digg just a Facebook rip-off?

by: Bradley Wint on May 29th, 2010 at 12:56 am

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Ok, so Digg has basically been one of the biggest  social networking sites for news stories, both for those who like catching up on the latest around the world, and for webmasters looking to get a huge burst of hits. However, with a vision and new management, they are making it more friendly for the Web 2.0 world and taking away from the “Power Users”, basically giving everyone a fair shot at hitting the front page.

They recently released a video outlining some of the major features of the new layout, which much attention being focused on the Publisher’s end. However, after checking them over, it makes us wonder if they just quickly copied some of Facebook’s ideas. So let’s discuss the highlights of the video and make the comparisons.

Follow Friends

Unlike the old days, Publishers are now allowed to post their own material for potential digging. They can create a company type profile and have other Digg users follow them, similarly to the Page feature offered on Facebook. When publishers post a story on Digg, their followers see it on the followed list, and if it’s good they will digg it up. Sounds familiar? On Facebook, publishers can post a story, making it hit the home page feed of Fans or followers, and users can Like the post if they think it’s interesting.

The only difference is that Facebook doesn’t have a front page or rank page, so stories only get circulated to viewers who follow the Page. Ok, so Digg seemed to integrate the Facebook idea with their regular homepage system. This doesn’t sound too different from the culture practiced on Digg at the moment though. If you want to be a top digger, you need to get people to follow you to Digg your stories. The only difference is that companies can now do it without being considered spammers.

My News

This is a customized home page showing stories depending on who you follow. So let’s say you are a follower of Mr. X, Y and Z; when they Digg stories of interest, the stories show up on your home page. When you Digg stories if interest, it shows up on the custom home page of your followers. Hmmm… another Facebook rip-off. On Facebook, if I shared or liked a story, it would show up on the homepage feeds of my friends (under normal circumstances). The only difference here is that Digg is totally centered on article links, so you won’t see friends Farmville scores and so forth.

They also added some quick stats for each story, showing how many of your friends Dugg the story, and also a section showing a snippet of the last comment by which ever friend made it. On Facebook, you can also see how many users liked a story and get a full list of comments, with the last two or three comments first appearing.

Network Sharing Effect

That’s not the official name for the phenomenon, but just like Facebook, when you Digg a story, it appears on your friends’ feeds and when they Digg it, it appears on the respective friend feeds, thus pushing the story into a wider circle, giving it more potential to hit the front page. It’s the same concept taken from Facebook, just without the potential of hitting some kind of top story list or Front Page as the case may be. He even said “because it’s only news, we cut out all the other miscellaneous links and status updates like on other sites”… Facebook or Twitter ring a bell Kevin Rose?

Now we can’t go ahead and say their efforts were a total hijack. The fact that their service is geared to news links still puts them in a niche market, and there are some other features such as RSS auto digging which saves time on posting. Since Facebook and Twitter don’t have official RSS/XML to post featured, we can say Digg does shine some what here. However, Facebook and Twitter do have 3rd party apps which allow for stories to be auto posted, but it takes some searching to find decent ones.

I feel that the auto RSS feature is a potential for abuse, but I guess the users will quickly stamp it out.

On the overall, Digg’s effort is still applauded somewhat and we will quickly add our icons and fancy widgets once they are made available. They could have still come up with something more original though. Hopefully they succeed based on the idea of publishing news links.

Check out the full video below.

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