Since the most recent death of Uncov, I've tried to lay off the Web 2.0 shit.  However, as a conoisseur of fail, I thought the DiggBar is worth an examination.

DiggBar is a URL shortening service from Digg, the internet's largest community of whiners, armchair political activists, inconsolable Book-of-Steve-Jobs bible beaters, and automatic voting bots.  The long and short of it is this: you can put any address into it, and it will give you a way to view that URL through  For example, brings you back here, except with a Digg toolbar at the top.

There's been a small wave of butthurt over this little scheme, because every link on the front page of now leads you to one of these toolbars instead of to the actual content.  So, when a Digg user clicks through, he never actually leaves  They've done some of the stuff necessary so that publishers don't get shafted on the traffic or the PageRank (and still managed to fuck that up), but still, that little bar adds little to no value to the user. 

Then why did they do it?

When an entrepreneur raises any useful amount of money from an investor, he needs to answer to that investor.  The CEO of a company reports to the board of directors, which usually includes the investors.  Every quarter, the CEO must lay out goals and objectives, and for internet companies, these goals and objectives always, always include traffic growth.

Digg has raised 40 million dollars to date.  With that kind of money, investors demand explosive growth.  Since the economy has gone to shit, there's a very slim chance that Digg will see a sale before it needs to raise more money.  As a small company, Digg could have been a very profitable business, but instead they took too much money and made too many expectations for themselves.  I can guarantee you that Jay Adelson (CEO) and Kevin Rose have some demanding goals to meet, and lately, they haven't been meeting them.

Hence the introduction of this DiggBar business.  When a link makes its way to the top of Digg, it gets republished quite a bit.  Now that all these links will land a user at, Digg that collects the unique users from this collateral linkage.  And it's working, too.  In a recent interview, VP John Quinn of Digg said that the DiggBar has given them a 20% boost in unique visitors.

This move shows that not only is Digg willing to pull some sleazy shit to increase their unique visitors, but that they also need to pull this sleazy shit, because they need more unique visitors.

Damn.  And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids.


  1. died again.  I never owned the domain name, one of my business partners did.  The registration on it recently lapsed, and somebody picked it up.  It now redirects to a Twitter search for "kevinrose".  If you're the one who bought it, good show.  Thanks for not being a spammer.  I'm not willing to buy it back from you, but if you want to give it to me, I will take you out for a beer to congratulate your achievement.
  2. No, I did not get fired from The Register.  My wife and I had a daughter last week, and I am taking some time off.  Not sure when I'll return yet, but I will.  I just need to get my sleeping back on schedule.