Jealous Of StumbleUpon’s Success, Digg Is Developing Of Web Toolbar

Posted Feb 26, 2009

If I had to choose between StumbleUpon and Digg about whether I believe one is more valuable, I would definetely choose StumbleUpon.  StumbleUpon suggests different content to every one of their users using an algorithm that is based on interests.  If I like reading about airplanes, StumbleUpon will suggest similar content to me about airplanes.  Digg basically suggests content to me that a bunch of random hardcore users selected.

Digg has taken a lot for being biased in the past.  There are certain users that seem to dominate the homepage over others.  Digg users such as MrBabyMan, msaleem, mklopez, louiebaur, irfanmp, MakiMaki, etc. submit a lot of content and have a good enough of a fan base to get homepaged regularly.  I have no problem with that because it is important for several users to be a benchmark in order to make other users more competitive and keep people interested in the site.

But I strongly believe that Digg has become too biased in terms of the sources of content being homepaged.  The other day I calculated that about 8 websites control over 30% of Digg’s technology section.  Arstechnica, AppleInsider, and Torrentfreak are about 18% of the stories that are homepaged in the technology section.  Now that gets pretty annoying.  If StumbleUpon showed me one of those websites every once every five times I click on the “Stumble” button, I’d get annoyed and uninstall the toolbar.

Let’s also not forget the facts here too.  Is StumbleUpon profitable?  Yes.  Is Digg profitable?  No.  Was StumbleUpon acquired?  Yes.  Was Digg acquired.  No.  Has StumbleUpon’s users revolted in the past?  No.  Has Digg’s users revolted in the past?  Yes, multiple times.  By definition, I’d say StumbleUpon has been more successful than Digg.

What do you do with successful services?  Emulate them.  Digg has admittedly done this with Slashdot and now they’re doing it to StumbleUpon as pointed out by TechCrunch (good catch Schonfeld via Belmont).

Digg is secretly working on a web toolbar.  The toolbar gives the ability to Digg or Bury a page that you are on.  It also shows how many Diggs the story.  The toolbar also reports links to related pages and reports what other pages from the same website have a ton of Digg votes along with upcoming.  There is also a random button that works similar to StumbleUpon.

Another interesting feature that the toolbar has is the ability to create a shortened URL.  It does not use TinyURL or Bit.ly to do so.  It creates six random characters after the Digg.com/ URL.  Then you can share this on Facebook or Twitter.  This feature was pretty much copied from what TinyURL and Bit.ly were already succeeding in doing.

In creating this toolbar, Digg has implied that they want to take on TinyURL and other URL shortening services along with StumbleUpon.  Out of spite, I have decided that I’m never going to use the Digg toolbar or use any of their URL shortening services when this feature comes out.  Instead I will always use TinyURL and StumbleUpon as long as they exist.

By the way, those who think that Digg is not necessarily “jealous” of StumbleUpon’s success because it is not an apples-to-apples comparison, I feel that they should be.  What is your opinion?  Leave it in the comments.