Why Apple Is Always On The Digg Front Page -- And You're Not

Dharmesh Shah
Dharmesh Shah



Remember the famous sentence

"What's good for General Motors is what's good for the country"?

With respect to social media sites like
digg, is what's good for Apple also good for you and your business? I don't think so.

On social media sites like Digg, users love Apple marketing, Apple news and just about all things Apple. In fact Apple product news are regularly the most popular posts on Digg . So, many (naive) people think: If Apple can get on the front page of digg so often, why can't I? There's a simple answer to this: You're not Apple and you're unlikely to get the loyal following that Apple has. So, what do you do to help promote your business on the social media? This article looks at some of the top social media sites and will help you understand them and how they work.


Digg is a social news site. In fact it's the most popular social news site out there. Some people mistake Digg for a social bookmarking site like del.icio.us (see below) which it is not. You do not use Digg to collect your bookmarks online.

It's social news. Social news means that links are submitted if they are highly relevant at a given moment, like breaking news for instance. If you submit a news story you do it, ideally, out of altruistic motives: You want to tell the world something important. If you manage to convince something between 60 - 90 other diggers to Digg it within less than 24 hours after submitting you will end up on the front page. Unless your article gets buried. Which is pretty likely to happen, especially if the digg user base thinks the article is spam or lame.

Digg is a great place for you to get big spikes in traffic if you are creating content that is interesting and not overly promotional. If you can't do this, don't waste your time on digg. You're unlikely to get many diggs or much traffic.

To get on the Digg front page, it helps to be a power user . That means you either invest several months to digg and submit many stories as well as gain many friends on Digg . Or you contact a power user who already has done that. The average John Doe user has only minor chances to get on the front page, even if the content is brilliant. It's just hard to rise above the noise.. You won't get any significant traffic if you're not up front so do not submit to Digg unless you have some confidence that your content will be interesting to the digg community.Otherwise it's a waste of time and very frustrating, especially if you get buried and flamed.

In short Digg is a place where pages end up being popular which you want others to know: Like "Bush has invaded Iran" for instance would be news. Ask your teenage son first before submitting if he would want his friends to know. What's good for Apple is not necessarily good for you or your business.


del.icio.us like mentioned above is a social bookmarking site. You probably know bookmarking in your browser (Internet Explorer users call these "Favorites"). So, basically social bookmarking allows you to share bookmarks with others and store them online. Thus you can access them from anywhere on any computer. Even if you do not want to do that you still might want to use del.ici.us as by now it has such a critical mass that often you can find better resources there than in Google or elsewhere .

While Digg is about social news (which is often time-sensitive), del.icio.us is more about saving links to websites you would want to return to. Thus resources, online tools or magazines and blogs which you will want to visit at least twice will perform well at del.icio.us

Like on Digg you need approx. 80 - 90 users to bookmark you in a short time periods to get popular and end up on the front page. If you're just popular you still won't get traffic. A front page appearance might yield 5 - 10.000 visits though. Unlike Digg where you disappear in the archives after a day you can get popular later too. You just need a large amount of new bookmarks in a short time span at some point.

You might want to promote your site on del.icio.us

  • if you offer some valuable online resources users might want to come back for, online tools, big lists, tutorials
  • if you not only sell something but also offer something for free
  • if you also appeal to the international market, as del.icio.us is used all over the world
  • if you sport a great design
  • if you blog regularly and offer original content

With del.icio.us you won't have to make friends first to become "popular" as it's a more down-to-earth platform with no comments or "bury features". You can succeed in your own niche if you offer what others are interested in.


StumbleUpon is neither social news nor social bookmarking. SU describes itself as a social discovery tool to find websites you would normally not visit. The official term by now is social browsing , as you browse the web with your peers and get suggested other websites according to your interests, other sites you already visited and rated as well as based on what your friends did. So you get automatic recommendations out of the pages your friends submit or rate.

StumbleUpon is, my opinion, the best of these three options to promote a niche website. You get traffic sometimes right from the first vote you get, when someone does discover your site. You can get up to 200 visitors just by being submitted. That should of course not be your only goal. You can get popular on StumbleUpon as well, although the antiquated front page metaphor stemming from newspapers does not work here. StumbleUpon is nonlinear and more comparable to TV with plenty of channels . You can get popular in such a channel. If you manage to do that, you can get more than 10,000 visitors. The traffic does not come all at once, it's more evenly distributed and comes in bursts. You can even get popular with the same post or page twice or several times.

You will perform well on StumbleUpon with

  • something strange, unusual or spectacular
  • pictures, other funny or outstanding ones, so hire a photographer or caricaturist
  • something green, organic and/or sustainable
  • a strong opinion on a popular topic

and get some friends. In fact you should stumble at least 50 sites before trying to promote your own content. StumbleUpon has a large user base (over 3 million), an advanced rating system and some extra features other social sites lack because StumbleUpon makes you download a toolbar. You do not necessarily need to be a power user to be noticed on StumbleUpon but you should not submit your site yourself to promote it but at first mingle with other stumblers with similar interests. Try to make friends by submitting great sites. Saying something nice about SU and SU users doesn't hurt either. Therefore do not stumble 10 different subpages of your site but look for something useful or spectacular if you want some friends.

Many bloggers already get more traffic via StumbleUpon than any other source (including Google) . StumbleUpon is a place where people concentrate on their favorite topics or hobby. So you even can stumble just sites about marketing, if you're a marketing consultant. You will find like-minded people there.

In summary, it is good to understand the culture and goals of the social media sites. Don't try to get on the front page of digg if you don't have content that you think will likely appeal to its users.

The above is based on an article from a guest author, Tadeusz Szewczyk (you can call him "Tad"). You can find more of Tad's writings at his SEO 2.0 blog


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