Wednesday 15 August 2007

Why del.icio.us is more Web2.0 than digg.com?

-Akshay Ranganath

Today, I was reading the book, "The Long tail" and I started to wonder on which of the sites digg.com or del.icio.us offers a more user-oriented behaviour? After all Web2.0 is about this freedom right?

Where del.icio.us is better for targeting as compared to digg.com?
So, here's my thoughts on it:
As per the digg.com sites submitting methodology, users choose a URL, add in the details. The final part is to assign a topic to a story. In this, the users are completely limited to selecting a topic from amongst the ones that digg.com site owners have decided on.

This is a fine methodology but, has its limitations when your target audience is the Web2.0 crowd who want to catalogue all sorts of topics. For a simple example, whenever I write on a topic of Web Analytics, I need to assign it to programming/technology or business. The worse part is that digg allows you to choose only one topic. However, if suppose I were to post the same on del.icio.us, I could choose tags like webanalytics, programming, sitecatalyst and so on.

Add to it, my other viewers can add their own tags, as per their understanding. The tagging mechanism would create a lot more semantic meaning to a single piece of article. A similar piece on digg.com would however be associated to just one category.

However, this would mean that the stories could get into a mode of serving very niche audience. If this were my primary motive, wouldn't that be a boon instead of being a curse?

Where digg.com scores over del.icio.us?

Digg.com though is a fabulous option to target users if you have a blog/article that conforms to the topics specified under digg. For example, I had posted blogs on Ubuntu/Linux and digg sent an astounding 500+ visitors to my site as compared to the normal 4-5 visitors who would have hit the site from all other referring methods. This was a huge magnitude improvement.

Yet, when I posted articles on Web Analytics, it could not gain the same audience simply because of the lack of alignment between my blogs and the topic of "Programming".

So, if the guys at digg.com are reading this: Guys, you are amazing, but why don't you introduce tagging and tag cloud sort of a feature on your site? That would be a really useful feature!

Any comments??

Some comments I got from digg.com
http://digg.com/users/MarkDykeman/news/dugg said:
I'm no expert on Web 2.0, but I think the point that you are trying to make is that Digg is not designed to handle news, etc. on all topics and thus is less "flexible" or collaborative than a site like del.icio.us. I think, as you say, Digg's strength is its focus, plus the rankings. Digg is more for people who want to establish a reputation as a "maven" or respected source of information, whereas del.icio.us is probably a bit more altruistic and selfless. Having said that, there's a lot about del.icio.us's community structure that I don't understand yet.

Response
Thanks Mark for reading through the article.

Yes, what I said was that the *strict* list of topics on Digg.com is both a differentiators as well as a restricting force. It acts as a great targeting media if the content fits nicely in a category but, can be lost if it does not.

On the other hand, del.icio.us provides unlimited opportunity for categorization - so you can cater to the "long tail" of the readers who will be few and far in-between but, who could turn out to be your niche and loyal customers.

As for the other features of del.icio.us itself is concerned, I'd say, it's ability to share bookmarking with like-minded people is really interesting. For example, a group of us who run this blog share a similar tag for anything interesting to us and share it across each other. So, we actually know what other person read and felt interesting. Check out the gadget on the left hand side of the page on the blog - this lists all the bookmarks that we've made that we felt was interesting or related to the blog.