Will the DiggBar instigator be fired?

By now the furor over DiggBar — Digg’s naked attempt at stealing link juice via URL misdirection — and frame-busting counter-measures are well-spread.

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The irony, of course, is that startups like Digg are supposed to experiment and fail often by the inevitable nature of statistics of success. In old industries like banking or automative, however, when we notice failure, albeit on a grander scale, we want the CEOs and the managers who made bad decisions to be fired, not rewarded with bonuses. Those names become public and focus of scorn in editorials and their houses are ‘visited‘ by angry tax payers.

But what happens to startup people who make serious mistakes and misjudge potentially debilitating risks to their companies and brands? What, for example, happened to the clever people who concocted Beacon for Facebook, the privacy debacle disguised as an advertising platform that comes once in a century? What happened to the folks who decided to build an architecture for Twitter that couldn’t possibly handle a real-time messaging system at global scale that nearly sank the company? Who at Yahoo thought it was a good idea to pay $5.7 billion to Broadcast.com in 1999?

Indeed, what will happen to those who thought people wouldn’t notice or didn’t care that Digg would now be appropriating link destination from original sites via DiggBar to boost up its own traffic so that it can justify the recent infusion of VC money into Digg? Digg VP John Quinn boasts that DiggBar has resulted in a 20% boost in unique visitors. Is this a time for celebration and bonuses?

The objective here isn’t individual punishment, of course. It’s a matter of ethics and transparency — all the things we’re asking of the old-line industries and our politicians — as though high-tech has a firmer grasp of our brighter future.

Are we naive or just jaded?

11 thoughts on “Will the DiggBar instigator be fired?

  1. “the privacy debacle disguised as an advertising platform that comes once in a century”

    Heh. So far we’ve been seeing such once-in-a-century events roughly annually …

  2. That didn’t take too long. DiggBar behavior is soon to be neutered, says the aforementioned Quinn. No firings were announced, though.

  3. I think at some point Digg will have to remove the bar or admit that it wasn’t the best idea, or do some kind of minor climb-down. They only don’t need to do this if they are prepared to not be “cool” anymore. The issue is that the technorati who might promote Digg, (or anyone who reads it regularly believing themselves to be in that same group), think of themselves as a sort of Internet culture elite. Digg can only continue to propagate through that group if it maintains it’s “coolness” by removing the bar.

    It’s almost like there is a sort of cultural “line in the sand” on the Internet with Google and Facebook on one side of it, and Yahoo! and MySpace on the other. If Digg leaves the bar, they will always inhabit the MySpace side of that line. So either they climb down at some point, or some other site gets to wear the cool hat for a while.

    • Who cares? The sites that originate content but do not get the benefit of proper link-count w/ indexers because Digg steals the redirection.

  4. … except they’re not getting taxpayer money, nor are they putting the world economy at risk. The stakes are much lower. If you don’t like it, do what Poch did: remove Digg from your bookmarks.

    No one needs to be fired. This is simply the age-old battle between the innovators (developers) and the business men (Quinn). Quinn is only happy because traffic is up 20%. If that number changes, he’ll remove the DiggBar for sure.

    • “remove Digg from your bookmarks”

      How does that solve the issue of Digg stealing link-count from a site that brings you something that you want to read? You don’t need to use Digg yourself to be affected by this scheme, and your favorite sites will likely suffer just the same.

      Indeed, Digg seems to rely on people’s general lack of understanding of the underlying browser redirection issue involved here, which makes it all the more insidious.

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