Dubious Internet marketers are planting stories, paying people to promote items, and otherwise trying to manipulate rankings on Digg and other so-called social-media sites like Reddit and Delicious.See also Niall Kennedy's recent post, "The spam farms of the social web".
Some marketers offer "content generation services," where they sell stories to Web sites for the sole purpose of getting them submitted to Digg and other sites.
Companies charge as much as $15,000 to get content up on Digg, said [ACS CTO] Neil Patel ... If a story becomes popular on Digg and generates links back to a marketer's Web site, that site may rise in search engine results and will not have to spend money on search advertising, he said.
Another way to get Web links to a suspicious site is to get inside help from users at a social-media site. For instance, spammers have tried to infiltrate Digg to build up reputations and promote stories for marketers, experts say.
Other scammers are trying other ways to buy votes. A site dubbed "User/Submitter," purports to pay people 50 cents for digging three stories and charges $20 for each story submitted to the site, plus $1 for every vote it gets. The Spike the Vote Web site boasts that it is a "bulletproof way to cheat Digg" and offers a point system for Digg users to submit and dig stories. And Friendly Vote bills itself as an "online resource for Web masters" to improve their marketing on sites like Digg and Delicious.
See also my Sept 2006 post, "Digg struggles with spam", where I said:
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.See also my July 2006 post, "Combating web spam with personalization".
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 March 2006 post, "Growth, crap, and spam", where I said:
There seems to be a repeating pattern with Web 2.0 sites. They start with great buzz and joy from an enthusiastic group of early adopters, then fill with crud and crap as they attract a wider, less idealistic, more mainstream audience.See also my Jan 2006 post, "Digg, spam, and most popular lists".
[CNet article found via Matt McAlister]