Wednesday, October 31, 2007

zaibatsu vs. msaleem: The Race to 1000 is ON

They do a podcast together.

They are two of the top 3 members of the most powerful social news website in the world.

They've shut down their share of servers for a day.

This month, they are going head to head.

Chances are good that sometime during the month of November, 2007, both zaibatsu and msaleem, two of the most prolific contibutors to Digg, will surpass the 1,000 mark for stories they submitted that reached the Digg homepage. Yesterday, I sent a shout to each about the magic number. Here were the responses:


Me to msaleem: "Submitting a ton lately, I've noticed. We should have a betting pool (fake money, of course) on what day you'll hit 1000 "Made Popular" submissions. My guess is November 19."

Msaleem response:
"Haha, that's very kind of you. Who all is in the pool, and can I join? (That guy, Zaibatsu certainly won't make it easy for me).

Just kidding Z, Peace in the chicken grease."


Me to zaibatsu: "Hey Z, I predicted Muhammed would hit 1000 "Made Popular" by November 19. When are you going to hit the magic number?"

Zaibatsu response:
"I'm actually fighting to regain my former glory. It's on baby and November 19th days is way to long, I can FP 10 in a day my friend. Help me kick some ass on digg, spread the word it's NEO vs. Morpheus on Digg. Who ever get to 1000 1st gets to pick who the f*ck they are. I don't want to be Morpheus.

I'm sitting at 922 now, give me until Nov 10, wekends suck for me and I need to a day or so to recover from a FP streak!"



Here is my take on the two. No offense intended to either. I have the utmost respect for both apparent styles. In real life, both may be completely different, but on Digg and The Drill Down, here is how they come across to me:

Zaibatsu is the Digger for the common man. Excited, passionate, ever-active, he wants everyone to Digg his submissions because they're good and because he's Digging your stuff too. Rolled up sleaves, shovel in hand, ready to get to work. A Donald Trump style power digger.

Msaleem is a Digger for the elite. Proud, selective, enduring, he only wants to Digg what he likes and expects people to judge his submissions on merit. If it's crap, it's crap, and neither shout nor reciprocated Digg will earn his vote it's crap. A Crown Prince style power digger.


The stats and analysis:


Member since:
zaibatsu - 12/2004
msaleem - 09/2005

No advantage here for either. Both have been on the scene and well known across Digg channels long enough.


zaibatsu - 178
msaleem - 98

The more quality friends (those who are active and Digg your stories) you have, the more Diggs you can potentially get. The way the Digg algorithm seems to work, the more friends you have, the more Diggs you need to make it to the homepage. Both have found what they consider the "sweet spot" as far as number of friends. Whichever one is right may end up being the winner.


zaibatsu - 82,517
msaleem - 42,975

Again, this comes down to personal preference. Zaibatsu is more prolific in his Digging, honestly telling people that he'll Digg a lot of their stories, as many as he can, as long as they are Digging his as well. Msaleem is more selective, trying to take the higher ground by only Digging what he considers "quality". As with everything else so far, it seems that the advantage will come to whoever's strategy is more correct, and only the programmers for Digg know for sure.


zaibatsu - 1,493
msaleem - 1,613

Some say it has an effect. I tend to believe that it just gets more people to your profile page with an opportunity that they'll like your stories. I've been wrong before, but I think it's pretty much a non-factor.


zaibatsu - 2,150 --- Last 8 days: 5, 9, 7, 3, 4, 9, 2, 2 -- 41
msaleem - 2,997 --- Last 8 days: 10, 11, 8, 0, 1, 4, 9, 12 -- 55

Msaleem has an advantage here. More submissions means more opportunities. The one good thing for zaibatsu here is that he can ramp his submissions up. It will bring his percentage down, but a month's worth won't damage his high popular ratio too badly.


zaibatsu - 925
msaleem - 945

A big lead going in for msaleem. Twenty is an awfully wide gap to overcome.


Popular Ratio:
zaibatsu - 43%
msaleem - 32%

Zaibatsu has always been one of 3 or 4 top Diggers to maintain a 40% or higher Popular ratio. In this race to 1000, ratio may get thrown out the window. It's all about bulk. Will he be able to step up?


I've tried to look at this as a race. Then, the image of a hot dog eating contest came to mind. Finally, I came to the conclusion that it's like Iron Chef. A time limit, a goal, two different styles, two different strategies. I see MrBabyMan sitting at the thrown overlooking kitchen stadium nodding his head at their efforts.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Social Media Spammers: Propeller May Not be for You, which used to be Netscape, is one of the most policed social news media websites on the internet. Their people are tenacious as finding spammers and quickly banning them. Unlike Digg and Reddit, Propeller does not allow spam to run rampant. THAT is the gist of this article. I am not convinced 100% that Propeller is not good for SEO, but I will admit that it is a heck of a lot more difficult and time-consuming than the simplicity of the other websites. Only Newsvine is more diligently policed by its members. Read the article. Tell me what YOU think. I stay as far away from straight-spamming as possible, always opting towards spending the time to build friends and read their stories to "earn" the right to promote some of my articles, but that's me. If you SM spam, I'd like to know about it. Successes, failures, yadayadayada. Mostly, I want to know the results.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pownce for Marketing? SEO? Social Bookmarking?

Pownce. Some call it Digg social. Some call it Twitter 2. I call it a potential website marketing goldmine.

Well, at least a silver mine. Maybe bronze.

Okay, so it doesn't have all of the things that you look for in a link-building social network or bookmarking website. The pages are not indexed regularly, but this can be fixed. There is no ability to plug in anchor text on the links. The links are not contextual. It's hard to build a theme of relevance.

With the negatives aside, here are the positives:

1) Nofollow -- Not there! Just like with Digg, the links are valid. No redirects, no nofollow attribute, just good, clean links.

2) Control -- You can plug in whatever you want and delete whatever you want. If you look at Automotive Marketing on Pownce, you'll see that I have been able to start slow and build up from there.

3) FUN -- It can be enjoyable building links, marketing, and interacting at the same time. Sometimes, promoting a website can be very tedious. Pownce makes it a bit less mundane.

4) Direct to Friends -- The interface to build friends is very easy. Not TOO easy, where whoever you add is a friend automotically, but easy enough to get a nice long list in a short amount of time. You might be able to get some traffic after all from your efforts unlike many of the other link-building techniques.

5) Fast -- It takes about 15 seconds to build a link on Pownce. Compared to directory submissions, articles, soliciting, etc., it's faster. Not as fast as a BM button, but not bad at all.

6) Indirect -- Here's a thought. Build up links to the pownce profile that will draw traffic to it. This indirect sort of marketing can allow the profile itself to place in the SERPs if done well, not to mention the direct traffic and the increase in the quality of the pownce links themselves.

7) No Risk -- There is nothing worse than working on a website that eventually gets banned, a BM profile that gets banned, or anything that gets banned for that matter. From what I can tell, as long as you follow the rules, you won't get banned as a spammer.

The Pownce experiment is on. I will try to see how hard it is to get indexed. I will contribute to the cause, meet people, be friendly, build links, and promote the page itself. I'll let you know how it goes in a few weeks.

Social Bookmarking

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Social Bookmarking Experiment: Sending Visitors to See the Penguins

Here is a little experiment. Using only social bookmarking websites, we are going to see how much traffic we can send to an article about penguins. Penguins.

This article is from, which is a high traffic website, but this article surely will not receive a ton of traffic. It's from the American Bus Association (already a tough article to get views) and their campaign using penguins to promote bus services.

The story itself isn't important as long as it doesn't draw its own traffic based upon the material. The article is Take the Bus for Penguins, which as you can tell, won't get too many people looking for it on Google. We are submitting it only to SB websites. The benefits from a search engine optimization perspective are well documented, but how much direct trafic comes from SB websites. I'm betting high, but we'll wait for the empirical data first.

As a control article, we are also submitting a potentially more popular article from the same website. Since concept cars and information about them gets its own traffic, 2008 Nissan Skyline GT-R will be submitted to the same social bookmarking websites as a traffic comparison. People at SB sites will often click on an article, but leave immediately, so this will purify the data.

PLEASE, if you contribute to the social bookmarking of either of these articles, post it here. Every effort must be documented to make sure that the data is real. We want to know the instant traffic boost as well as any residual traffic in the future.

Thank you for your support.

Search Engine Optimization Bookmarking

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Adjusting to the New Digg

Okay, it isn't that bad. It took forever to make it to the homepage (12 days) but once there, I realize that it isn't that bad. Here are the adjustments that I made:

1) Getting 30, 60, 90 Diggs isn't as easy as it used to be. Before, having a ton of friends and doing a ton of Digging was enough to ensure that you could get a bulk of Diggs to anything. Now that people actually have to click on to the page, there is a chance that they will read it, which means that spam submissions is out, for the most part. This is a HUGE plus for Digg users, especially those who hate the spam. Will it continue? Of course. But the chances of a spam submission getting more than the initial Digg is greatly diminished.

2) Shouts don't work for most. I've been tracking some of the "shout spammers" out there and it just isn't an effective way to get Dugg. Sure, you'll get some, but for the most part, you might as well email spam and get the same results.

3) Quality of submissions is ever more important. Catchy headlines will always play a major role in the quest to make it to the homepage, but the story needs to be a good one.

4) Keep it up. Like I said, I wasn't a power Digger by any means, but I used to be able to count on at least one story making the homepage every few days. Now, it seems that the gap is growing. As much as I want to dump the efforts, I just can't. If you are thinking about it, keep going. It'll happen if you stick with it.

5) Fans are nice, but most are meaningless. There are "Fans" out there who never Digg your stuff. Because there doesn't have to be the same gap in time between adding friends, many are trying the bulk friend approach. This may actually work, but you can't just befriend them and go. Digg their stuff, keep digging their stuff, and hopefully you'll get noticed, added, and Dugg.

6) The time it takes to make the homepage seems to have increased. Where before, 24 hours was usually the cutoff, there are more and more popular stories that approach 2 days before becoming obsolete.

7) Submit less. Before, submitting a ton of stories every day would land you somewhere with something on the homepage. I've examined some of the mass submitters and seen literally hundreds of submissions in a row without going popular. Submitting good stories is much more important.

In conclusion, I was completely against the new Digg. I've changed my mind. The quality is improving, and after all is said and done, that is really what will make Digg great again. It was getting too easy to post crap and make it the homepage, or at least get a ton of Diggs for it. Now, you have to submit good stuff to have a chance. This is a great thing for serious Diggers, and even a greater thing for those who read Digg for the news itself.

Digg SEO

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