A Definitive Guide to Using the DiggBar

Launched earlier this month, the DiggBar enables people to share and Digg with a browser-based toolbar. DiggBar brings functionality that once was only inherent to users on Digg.com to the traditional web user, including reviewing comments, finding related content and sharing Digg submissions through Twitter and Facebook.

The DiggBar

For a general DiggBar overview and thoughts on why this new Digg functionality may be valuable, I’ve written an initial post here.

This post provides a guide to DiggBar functionality and background on recent developments, discussions and updates.

How to Access the DiggBar
Unlike traditional browser-based toolbars, the DiggBar does not require installation of third party software. It is simply an Iframe toolbar that appears at the top of a web browser. When accessed, DiggBar creates a “digg.com” short URL for viewing and sharing Digg submissions.

The three most common ways to access the DiggBar are:

  • Click through any Digg submission – clicking almost any Digg submission (on Digg.com) will open the web page with the DiggBar at the top (of the browser window).
  • Use the Digg Bookmarklet – The DiggBar Tools Page offers an easy to use bookmarklet which can be dragged to the browser bookmark section. Clicking the bookmark while on a desired web page will load the DiggBar.
  • Enter “Digg.com/” at the beginning of any web address – Finally, entering “digg.com/” at the beginning of any web address will render the Digg short URL and load the Diggbar as well.

Digg’s API documentation also has information on using the API tools for the DiggBar. The API can be used to create a new short URL on Digg for any given URL or look up a general URL for any Digg short URL.

The Digg Short URL

Digg Short URL

DiggBar generates a short URL, similar to popular URL shortening services like TinyURL and Bit.ly. This makes it easier to send the web page via messaging and/or micro-blogging services (or email). Unlike some of the other URL shortening tools, DiggBar does not provide tracking outside of specific Digg features though.

Search Engine Land has a comprehensive review of URL shortening services in this article, “Which Shortening Service Should You Use?“.

DiggBar Functionality Reviewed
Unfortunately, in the time I’ve spent developing this post, at least two iterations of the DiggBar have been released. Here is a full list of functionality uncovered, with notes on features no longer available in the current version available to the public.

  • Digg It Functionality
    The ability to “Digg” articles and see the number of diggs a web page has received.

    Basic DiggBar Functionality

  • Digg Submission
    The DiggBar provides visitors with the title, destination web address and comments. The title is hyperlinked to the Digg submission and article URL links back to the original destination.
  • View Comments
    DiggBar users can see a select number of comments, including the most popular, recent and controversial. Unfortunately, you cannot leave a comment via the toolbar, you must go back to the article on Digg.

    View Digg Comments

  • View Page Views
    Digg has decided to remove this element from the DiggBar. According to a recent article on CNET, John Quinn, Digg’s VP of Engineering, says, “the removal of the view count was done simply because the actual tracking for that was being done on the DiggBar itself, and without counting clicks from unregistered Digg users (who will no longer be seeing the DiggBar) the number was no longer accurate.

    In a blog post written April 21st, Quinn also wrote that Digg has only “temporarily removed the ‘view count’ number“, so we may see this value come back to the DiggBar with future updates.

  • Related & Source Submissions

    Related Submissions and Submissions from Same Domain

    DiggBar provides visitors with the ability to see related submissions and submissions from the same domain. This can be nice to get a high level view of related submissions and other content on the same site that has done well on Digg.

  • View Random Digg Submission

    View Random Digg Submission

    Similar to StumbleUpon functionality, DiggBar users can view random Digg submissions in an effort to discover new and interesting content.

  • Send to Facebook, Twitter or via Email

    Send to Facebook, Twitter and via Email

    Possibly the most exciting feature is the ability for users to more easily share Digg submissions across Facebook, Twitter and email. See below for more information on the effect this feature has had on Digg traffic and use.

  • Bury Digg Submissions
    Lastly, logged in users are able to bury submissions, which essentially is the communities way of identifying spam, duplicate content and off-topic material.

Feedback and Removing the DiggBar
It’s easy to remove the DiggBar on a per page basis or universally.

Remove DiggBar

On April 15th, Digg released an update which only shows the DiggBar when logged into Digg or manually accessing it (via method listed above). It’s worth noting that even though some have voiced concerns about DiggBar, Digg has indicated that only a “very small number of users have disabled the feature or hit close with any frequency“.

DiggBar and Digg Traffic
Statements made on the Digg blog seem to indicate that this service is here to stay; at least in the short-term. Since launch:

  • Roughly 45% of all Digging activity is now happening on the Diggbar
  • Over 25% of all DiggBar users are discovering new content they otherwise wouldn’t have by viewing related stories and content from the same source
  • Digg has also seen a 10% increase in users sharing short-URLs across Twitter, Facebook, email and other places.

Coupled with the fact that (according to Quantcast data) Digg receives over 26 million visits per month, these percentages are very significant as to the overall traffic growth of Digg and people finding new information because of Digg.

DiggBar and SEO Implications
One of the major concerns for online marketers was how DiggBar and the Digg short URL may impact the link value of Digg submissions appearing on popular pages of Digg.com. Links of course are valuable for search engine optimization.

In that same April 15th update, Digg adjusted the DiggBar functionality so that Digg short URL’s 301 redirect to the original destination when users are not logged in. In addition, non-cookie’d visitors (such as search engines) are pointed to the original articles and web addresses when jumping from Digg.com to a third party destination.

Screenshot of HTML code for links pointing off of the Digg.com Home Page
HTML code for links off of the Digg.com home page

DiggBar and Traffic Implications
Another concern was how the Digg short URL may impact traffic received to third party sites. According to this post on the Digg Blog, the company reached out to Comscore and Nielson and they both confirmed that publisher traffic statistics won’t be impacted by the DiggBar implementation.

In addition, looking through sites I have access to that have had pages submitted to Digg over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to validate referral traffic from Digg.com, including traffic specifically from the short URL.

Discussions and Links Related to the DiggBar

There is certainly a range of opinion and conversation with regards to the DiggBar and it’s impact. In addition to references sprinkled throughout this article, here are some other interesting discussions related to the DiggBar.

Final Thoughts and Opinions on DiggBar
I personally like the DiggBar and use it frequently. The ability to share content found on Digg, in a relatively unobtrusive manner and through other popular online channels, is valuable to website marketers as well as Digg users.

It also seems that Digg is listening and reacting quickly to feedback and criticism, making adjustments that will satisfy the Digg community and the general online population.

We’ll try to add updates as they are observed as well, and welcome your feedback, suggestions and comments to this post.

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