There is a story on digg that we (Weblogs, Inc/AOL) have been “spamming” digg because our bloggers participate on the site. Our bloggers submit links to digg all the time, they ask their friends to vote for stories all the time, and this is totally within digg’s guidelines. I’ve had many discussions with Kevin Rose (founder of digg) about the issues of friends voting for each other on social news sites including digg and he has told me over and over again it’s not only fine, it’s encouraged. When a dozen or so folks digg a story for each other on digg that means they are 12 out of the 500-2,500 diggs on a story.
Spamming is negative word and we would never be involved in that. We specifically tell our folks to only put their best quality stuff on social bookmarking sites. We don’t put all of our 10,000 blog posts a month on these sites because we know they are not going to get voted up anyway. It’s self-correcting.
Thank you to all the folks who pointed out that we’re not “spamming” digg and how stupid this argument is since the top 20 users (and countless other folks) on all these services are constantly voting for each other.
If digg changes their rules and says friends can’t vote for each others stories–or they start shutting off stories where the same folks vote for each other–that’s totally fine. However, everyone who uses these services knows that getting people to vote for your story is part of the democratic process. It’s the lobbying part of the effort. I get IMs all day long from all kinds of quality people asking me to vote for their stories… like A-list folks.
We thought long and hard about these issues at Netscape. The way we manage this issue on Netscape is that if the same folks vote for the same stories over and over again it triggers an alarm (i.e. the same four folks on the same four stories in some short period of time) it triggers and alarm. If too many users complain it triggers an alarm as well (just like digg does). The site in question gets turned off for two weeks while we investigate if it was gaming of the system. We even talk to the publishers of the sites to teach them how not to have this happen and to be better contributors.