Exploring Pay Per Digg

I decided to check out the new Digg service that was recently exposed.

User/Submitter touts itself as a site “where Digg submitters pay for Digg users to promote their stories, and where Digg users make easy money”.

Setting up an account was easy enough. Once I logged in, I was presented with the following information.

Pay-out: $0.50 for 5 verified diggs in one set.

Digg 5 stories

  • Copy and paste a story’s URL below into a new browser tab or window and then digg it
  • Digg regular Digg stories before, during and after your User/Submitter diggs.
  • Digg slowly. Let some time pass between your diggs — otherwise your diggs may not go through

Click “I dugg these”

  • Only if you have dugg the listed stories

Earn $0.50

  • After earning $20 or more, User/Submitter will send you your total earned to your email address using PayPal

At this time, there are no stories to Digg. Please check back later.

It seems business is a little slow. I will check later and see if there are any stories to Digg. The site claims that 80% of the stories are randomly selected from Digg to prevent Digg users from logging in and burying all the stories.

A check on the WHOIS database on User/Submitter shows they’re cloaked behind a private registration service.

How Digg will handle this situation remains to be seen. At the other end of the coin, one may question who would use this service. The charge is $20 plus $1 per Digg. It can take up to 40 Diggs before a story hits the front page (if it’s not buried during the process). Assuming you buy 50 Diggs, just to be safe, you’ll be spending $70 for a chance of making the Digg front page – User/Submitter does not guarantee that your submission will hit the front page of Digg. They will only fulfill the number of Diggs requested.

Assuming you do make the front page, the next question you have to ask if you can make the $70 back. In most cases the answer is no. Having been Dugg eight times in the last two weeks, I can tell you that the revenue impact made by the Diggs was negligible – Digg users generally do not click on ads. However, for a company trying to get exposure for their product or service, $70 is a cheap price to pay for a chance to get on the front page of a site that gets over 200 million page views per month.

As Digg grows and becomes more influential, it will attract more and more people who will try to profit off it. There are Digg clubs, Digg trading and now Pay Per Digg. Whoever started the Pay Per Digg service is very greedy. Offering users 50 cents for five Diggs while he makes $1 per Digg (plus $20) is a very healthy profit margin. If Digg doesn’t stamp this site out, I’m sure another Pay Per Digg service will pop up to undercut User/Submitter’s pricing.

Who knows, maybe we’ll see a bidding system for Diggs next.

*Update – I just logged back onto User/Submitter and was given the following five stories to Digg (I didn’t Digg them).

YouTube not interested in selling (via MSNBC)
How-to Make Money with YouTube Videos (via Greedtube.com)
Spice Test (via merabollywood.com)
Wii Hardware / Software Markups, Retail Details and Images! (via wii-vo.no-ip.info)
Completely Useless Inventions (via waqarkhan.com)

Of the five, the only story I can rule out that is not paid is the MSNBC story. The rest are all questionable. It will be interesting to see which story, if any, makes it to the Digg front page.

The front page of User/Submitter now has this notice:

About a week ago, during what was supposed to be a mostly-closed test of the User/Submitter system, the Digg community at large discovered this site and User/Submitter was no longer a secret. This was before we were ready for an official launch, and before we were able to take extra precautions so Digg couldn’t spot User/Submitter accounts.

Digg has recently been disabling user accounts that have shown obvious patterns of using User/Submitter.

At this time, please wait to use User/Submitter until we rework the system to help Users avoid getting disabled by Digg.

We should be rolling out this new version of User/Submitter in a few days. We’ll let you know when it’s ready in this space.

I find it interesting that I was able to log in and was presented with stories to Digg, yet they claim on their front page that they are reworking their system.