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You Won't See It First on Digg

After all of the discussion regarding the new Digg algorithm, I finally had an opportunity to get a closer look at the impact on promotion. While there has been much speculation about the algo requiring many more Diggs than before, and that having been explained by a strengthened “Diversity of Diggers” measurement, I thought it would be useful to see exactly how much this algo slowed down the promotion of stories compared to other popular Web 2.0 sites.

The results, in my opinion, were staggering. Today the Associated Press became aware that John Edwards was making his exit from the Presidential Campaign. Within minutes, submissions were made to Digg, Reddit and Netscape regarding this event. Which of the three sites took the longest to promote the story?

Speed to Front Page

Site Submitted Promoted Elapsed
Propeller 9:24 9:49* 25min
Reddit 9:26 9:58 32min
Digg 9:06 10:16 70min

* Netscape has a special “Anchors Recommend” feature which allows them to promote important news stories more quickly. Since this is a feature that either Digg or Reddit could implement, if they wanted, I think it is fair game.

Taking 2x as long to promote a legitimate story as Reddit and 3x of Propeller indicates that there are serious lag issues with Digg’s algorithm.

While the blackbox of Digg’s, Reddit’s and Propeller’s algorithms make it impossible to know exactly what keeps a story from being promoted in a timely manner, I believe that there is strong evidence to suggest that if you want News when it happens, you can’t go to Digg anymore.

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