Time to Digg a Grave for Social Bookmarking

Content migration from Tumblr. Original post: August 27, 2010.
(I totally called Yahoo dropping Delicious.)

It’s hard to believe there’s anything out there deader than My Space or could Eclipse style revive in the same fashion as AOL, but there it is, the new Digg site. In a bout of cosmic serendipity, I’ve been waiting all week to draft an entry on the death of social bookmarking. Yeah, I see you looking at me Digg, let’s go.

Ok, visitors as of January 2010: 12.6 million daily “visits” average for Digg. That’s not unique visitors, that’s “visits” Facebook gets 100 million unique U.S. visitors, 20% of its 500 million members in a day. This is as many as Google. And MySpace? Yes the RIP MySpace is still visited by 70,000 million internet ghosts. Our beloved Twitter? 20 million.

Now flashback to October 2007, when Digg “overtook” Facebook’s 20 million unique visitors. Do you know what a bell curve looks like? That’s Digg’s visitor traffic.

Now audiences. 56% of Digg users are male. High for internet. 46% haven’t gone to college. Not including minors. Yet 32% make over 100K. 61% have no kids. 69% fall between 18-49. In other words Digg is host to entrepreneurial bloggers. Not to jump to conclusions…

For comparison, according to Istrategy Labs, 54% of Facebook users are female. About 70% are 18-44. 29% are “undeclared” for college, which means they may or may not have attended a university. I couldn’t find stats for users with “kids”, but given 85% of new mother’s feel connected by Facebook, I’d guess it’s high.

Now the “New Digg”. The new Digg links to your Facebook and Twitter account, in a frienemies partnership which seeks to combine the social aspects of the two sites: news sourcing in a way that offers browsing for top internet trends, as someone might on Twitter, and friends’ favorites, as seen on Facebook.

The problem is: We already have that! Trending stories? They’re called Twitter lists, it’s called Google News, it’s called Yahoo Content Farming. Not necessary Digg, and what’s more, with most of my Twitter buddies carefully organized by lists and trending instantly, I can source my news without the hassle of navigating the Digg graveyard they aren’t contributing to.

To make sure we don’t exclude it’s sad step-sister, Del.icio.us in 2007 was the 119th most popular site on the internet. Today its 240, and common grounds for small businesses looking to amp up their linkages.

Del.icio.us main audience reads like Digg’s back in 2006: Males, at work, with graduate degrees, youngish, no kids. The greatest irony, 1030 sites link in to Digg. 1030? I have former hotel clients with more link-ins. Not that link-ins are all that important any more: For more on how SMO is replacing SEO and link-building, see “Link Building Daily”.

And traffic? As of July 2009 Del.icio.us was looking at 250 thousand – not million – thousand unique visitors. After a slide that Wall Street could sympathize with, Del.icio.us has leveled off with about 100 thousand unique monthly visitors. To determine market for ads on a site with 100 thousand unique visitors, I consulted the chatrooms:

“I would guess with 100,000 unique visitors per month (not hits), you could probably sell that for $5.00 to $10.00.” wrote jumpenjuhosaphat in Denver, Colorado.

“In my toolbar traffic exchange, I charge $65 for 100,000 ad views ($32.49 for 100,000 ad views for my pro members).” wrote ebusinesstutor from Canada.

How does Digg intend on maximizing its 12.6 million unique visitors a month? With $40,000 ad campaigns. Creative Development did a great study comparing advertising costs and results across Digg, Facebook, Reddit and Google Adwords.* At $142 cost per click, Digg cleaned up. Facebook came in less than 76 cents. And my personal fave for analytics, Google Adwords made a whopping 72 cents per click.

So what to do when all your “friends” are telling you to proudly display your Digg badge beside the Twitter-Youtube-Facebook-RSS line-up? Are you ready to give Digg a proper burial? One interesting idea comes from Aza Raskin.

His “SocialHistory.js” snippet that you pop into your site allows you to see who is bookmarking your site, which social bookmarks they may be using, and where else they visited. http://bit.ly/aSbfC9m I have no idea who he is or if he’s unleashing viral code out there so use at your own risk–but he does have a great idea.

Is this slightly freaky and a little stalkerish? Of course. Does it have major and amazing marketing applications? Is Digg dead? Did you actually read this whole blog entry?

We know what happened in the .Com era. We know the “business model” of web traffic and clicks fell out with combat boots and plaid. But guess what? Combat boots are back. And the clock is ticking for you Social Bookmarking. We reserved you a place next to “Lists” and internet Cafes. Please tell Napster I miss him. 😥

*See original study here: http://bit.ly/cdc0Fw

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