First, Philipp Lenssen writes about "Digg vs. Groupthink" and the problems of "favoring a submission based on what ... friends favored."
Second, Alex Bosworth posts about "The Prisoner's Dilemma in Digg Story Promotion".
Third, Nick Carr focuses on an "Undiggnified" conflict in the Digg community over new rules intended to reduce manipulation and spam.
These problems with Digg were predictable. Getting to the top of Digg now guarantees a flood of traffic to the featured link. With that kind of reward on the table, people will fight to win placement by any means necessary.
It was not always this way. When Digg was just used by a small group of early adopters, there was little incentive to mess with the system. The gains from bad behavior were low, so everyone played nice.
Now that Digg is starting to attract a large mainstream audience, Digg will be fighting a long and probably losing battle against attempts to manipulate the system for personal gain.
See also my Jan 2006 post, "Digg, spam, and most popular lists".
Update: Pete Abilla also has a good post, "Digg as a game".
Update: Matt Marshall reports that a website called Spike the Vote "lets its members conspire to submit certain URLs of stories -- thereby lifting the odds those stories will get [Digg] front-page coverage."
Update: Niall Kennedy reports that there were "lots of stories about how sites can tap into the Digg's huge audience" at the PubCon Conference. Niall goes on to say that:
Some marketers create a story aimed at the Digg audience ... and with the appropriate submitters and human or bot-powered voting rise towards the top. A few search engine marketing consultants are promoting their account status and influence on Digg to clients.Update: Niall Kennedy again writes about spam on Digg with a specific example of how it is done:
There is a lot of activity in the social networking and user generated content space from marketers and spammers.
Last weekend I noticed a Digg submission about weight loss tips had climbed the site's front page, earning a covetous position in the top 5 technology stories of the moment.This is going to be a serious problem for Digg. Because everyone sees the same top stories on Digg -- because it is a simple most popular list -- the incentive to spam it is very high. Digg will be fighting a long and probably losing battle against spammers.
The webmaster of i-dentalresources.com had inserted some Digg bait, seeded a few social bookmarking services, and waited for links and page views to roll in, creating a new node in a spam farm fueled by high-paying affiliate programs and identity collection for resale.
For more on that, see my previous posts, "Combating web spam with personalization" and "Web spam, AIRWeb, and SIGIR".