My interview with the WSJ on the “Wizards of Buzz” story

WSJ didn’t quote me for the story yesterday, but they did ask me a bunch of questions. Here is the raw interview…

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“Jurgensen, John”
date Jan 26, 2007 4:51 PM
subject Re: question from WSJ

> How would you describe the role played by top-ranked users?

The top users on sites like digg and Netscape are putting in four to eight hours a day. They are certainly not just “users” at this point. They are more akin to freelancers, editors, or researchers. The term I most like to use is “cool hunters.”

They are also just like the editors-at-large at magazines who look for cool stories to cover.

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> There’s been a lot of debate about top users having a disproportionate influence on what
> gets featured…do you think that’s currently the case? If so, what are the ramifications?

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I wouldn’t say disproportionate influence, I would say appropriate
influence. They are putting in the most time, they find the stories
first, and they know the most people in the community. It only makes
sense that the people who invest the most time and effort get the most
benefit.

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> What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of featuring top-user lists and
> leaderboards? Does the risk of a popularity contest outweigh their benefits as a
> discovery tool for users?

“,1]);//–>


> There’s been a lot of debate about top users having a disproportionate influence on what
> gets featured…do you think that’s currently the case? If so, what are the ramifications?

I wouldn’t say disproportionate influence, I would say appropriate influence. They are putting in the most time, they find the stories first, and they know the most people in the community. It only makes sense that the people who invest the most time and effort get the most benefit.

> What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of featuring top-user lists and
> leaderboards? Does the risk of a popularity contest outweigh their benefits as a
> discovery tool for users?

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People would not participate in these systems if they were not
transparent and if there was a not a recognition system in place. The
two top reasons people participate in these systems are recognition
and affiliation–in that order.

You take away the leaderboard and you take away the recognition. It
would kill the fun of the game for most people. That being said, we
found that women are less concerned about their rank and much more
interested in the relationships they are building–go figure.

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> How would you describe the pressure and influence of marketers, especially as it
> relates to this top-user pool?

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Constant.

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> What have you discovered as a result of your blog campaign to find out more about
> these influences?

“,1]);D([“mb”,”

They are low-rent marketers who are desperate for a cheap way to game
the system. The real marketers–in most cases–are smart enough to
know they shouldn’t piss in the town well.

“,1]);//–>

People would not participate in these systems if they were not transparent and if there was a not a recognition system in place. The two top reasons people participate in these systems are recognition and affiliation–in that order.

You take away the leaderboard and you take away the recognition. It would kill the fun of the game for most people. That being said, we found that women are less concerned about their rank and much more interested in the relationships they are building–go figure.

> How would you describe the pressure and influence of marketers, especially as it
> relates to this top-user pool?

Constant.

> What have you discovered as a result of your blog campaign to find out more about
> these influences?

They are low-rent marketers who are desperate for a cheap way to game the system. The real marketers–in most cases–are smart enough to know they shouldn’t piss in the town well.

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> Of the users and marketers you know to be involved, who might talk to me about
> compensation for submissions?

“,1]);D([“mb”,”

Finding sources is your job. 🙂

“,1]);D([“mb”,”

> Thanks. And please let me know if you have any questions for me.

“,1]);D([“mb”,”

What is the premise of your story?

best j

“,1]);//–>


> Of the users and marketers you know to be involved, who might talk to me about
> compensation for submissions?

Finding sources is your job. 🙂

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