Statistical Follow Ups on Digg & Quora

Summary:
This post deals with Quora and Digg, a question answering and social bookmarking site, both with excellent SEO. The broader comparison is the traffic patterns of a “fad” like Quora and a “graveyard” site like Digg. Both sites source information, one directly from users, the other from outside sites. Although Digg took the right step towards social sharing with “follows”, I believe Quora, which was built as a social site, has the most potential to endure as we move towards Web 4.0: Personalized portals, Social Media Optimization and Social Content Curation.
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Last fall I wrote a post “Time to Digg a Grave for Social Bookmarking“, filled with lots of Digg and Del.icio.us statistics. Shortly thereafter rumors began to circulate Yahoo was shutting down…no selling off Del.icio.us.

As January’s hit Quora began to spike in search engines, I wrote an Evaluation of Quora using a Groundswell five point test, and a follow up post, The Collapsing Debate on Quora after I experienced a common frustrating of having an answer collapsed.

This is purely a statistical follow-up on the two sites to see how they’re faring.

For Quora, I had some help from Quora. I noticed Quora appearing in my Twitter streams the second week of January. I asked a question on Quora: “What Made Quora Go Viral?” The answers were a mention by Scoble on Boxing Day and a follow-up story in TechCrunch. (Featuring a girl in a Tron suit. Nice pic-bait TechCrunch.)

Mentions for Quora on Twitter from January 2010 to February 2011

You can see the small spike in December when the “Scoble”/TechCrunch mentions happened. In January you see a judicious spike as Quora hits Twitter. Quora was smart in making it possible to sign up through Twitter which is all about non-stop sharing and concise, written content creation. It was the right audience for Quora. For a brilliant article on the Twitter Snowball Effect see Alex Johnson’s piece.

You can see in green, the sharp decline after the peak. There are two explanations: 1. Everyone who wanted to join Quora is talking about it on there instead. 2. Everyone is bored with Quora. (See sample tweets on side of graph.)

Quora’s Traffic as a Percent of Total Site Traffic by Experian’s Hitwise

Given this graph, the answer is most likely a combination of one and two, with everyone who wanted to join, all joined up, and an interest decline following in a usage decline.
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NOW MY FAVORITE CHART

A Compete Comparison of Digg, Twitter and Quora in 2010

Those who are quick enough to question this chart: It represents visitors, not individual accounts. There were 547,777 registered Quora users by January 3, 2011 according to one Quora answer.

More worth noting is Digg’s decrease of about 30% in traffic and Twitter’s respectable 13% growth. Twitter dominates in referring traffic and receiving referrals. (Meaning many people are using “tweet this” and “my twitter handle” widgets.) Quora is still dwarfed by Digg, but as Twitter eats out Digg’s marketshare, I suspect the trends will continue. Twitter and Quora compete for attention from the blogerati, but they are unique enough platforms to coexist. Twitter is about instant information “news”, while Quora is closer to a crowdsourced encyclopedia, like Wikipedia.

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Ok, Let’s Kill Digg.

Two-Year Traffic Report for Digg via Alexa

Alexa is a great SEO site for traffic reports. You can see in the spike in September when the “New Digg” was first introduced. Mashable did a poll on the New Digg which, “introduced the ability to follow friends, a faster architecture and personalized news.” The poll results:
78% of the vote (4,808 votes) preferred the old Digg
12% (747 votes) preferred the new Digg
4% (230 votes) said it was a tie
6% of you (348 votes) weren’t a fan of Digg

Two Year Report for Digg Mentions on Twitter Via Research.Ly

You can see a clear spike in March last year, signaling an increase in Digg sharing via Twitter, coinciding with South by Southwest 2010. In September, when the New Digg was released, there is a not a significant spike in traffic, but the mentions continue on a downward trend. In January of this year, right after the release of more New Digg innovations in December, we see a slight jump in Digg mentions.

Digg’s Browsing Audience as of January 2011 via Alexa
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This audience follow-up does not show significant changes from my previous post, “Time to Digg a Grave”. The audience is still predominantly male, young, with a significant skewing towards 18-34, with some or full college education, but not a higher degree and no children.

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