Thursday, June 4, 2009

Can you Digg it?

To further blur the lines between advertising, entertainment and news, is allowing users to decide which ads are worthy of their fellow Diggers' time.

From their blog:

Digg Ads will give you more control over which advertisements are displayed on Digg. The more an ad is Dugg, the less the advertiser will have to pay. Conversely the more an ad is buried, the more the advertiser is charged, pricing it out of the system. ... Digg Ads will appear alongside stories in the river. The sponsored content will look and feel similar to regular Digg content, but will be clearly marked as sponsored. It may link to stories, video trailers, independent product reviews – many of the same types of content you see on Digg every day. The goal here is to give advertisers a way to present content related to their brands and get immediate input on whether it’s relevant to the Digg audience, or not.

Weird model, to be sure, since their advertisers will be paying based on an inverse scale of their actual impressions. I suppose the idea is to ensure relevancy, but Digg is sure to piss off a whole lot of advertisers once they find their ads priced out of the site by user conspiracies and general community disdain towards all things marketing.

For those of you unfamiliar, Digg is a news and content aggregator that lets users vote up submitted articles they think worthy of sharing with the larger group. The more "Diggs" a submission gets, the higher on the topical news stream it goes — and the more exposure it gets. And, of course, there are user comments that go with them.

I've never really dug Digg myself, maybe because I'm not that much of a collectivist when it comes to my online habits. I prefer my recommendations to come from people I know, on Facebook, etc., or at least from a consistent cabal of Moderators whose tastes I've gotten used to over the years.

But putting the ad rates and placement in the hands of a huge community of kids, trolls, and nerds?

Here are the most "Dugg" stories at the moment:
Kung Fu star Carradine found dead
Hurry, Someone Call The Sign Repair Guy!
Topless Coffee Shop Burns
Traditional Marriage Explained
97% Chance LA Will Have a Large Earthquake by Friday
Monticello, MN beats the phone company; Internet a "utility"
How to Seduce a Girl
Journalist claims story suppressed on Bush/Iraq in 1999
Modern Warfare 2 Gameplay Video & Impressions
Hal Turner Arrested!

Now, imagine you submitted an ad for a Kung Fu topless arcade/coffee shop. You'd get thousands of impressions, practically free! On the other hand, an ad for GM's painful "rebirth" campaign might cost $50,000 and reach nobody.

On second thought, I suppose I could dig it.

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