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Thread: The Digg Effect

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    N43°54′, E017°40′

    The Digg Effect

    If you aren't familiar with this term, click here.

    Has your site experienced the Digg effect? What was it like? How many visitors did you get that day? How much bandwidth was "wasted"?

  2. #2

    The Slashdot effect, also known as slashdotting, occurs when a popular website links to a smaller site, causing a massive increase in traffic. This overloads the smaller site, causing it to slow down or even temporarily close. The name stems from the huge influx of web traffic that results from the technology news site Slashdot linking to websites. The effect has been associated with other websites or metablogs such as Fark, Drudge Report and Digg, leading to terms such as being Farked or Drudged and the Digg effect. Typically, less robust sites are unable to cope with the huge increase in traffic and become unavailable – common causes are lack of sufficient data bandwidth, servers that fail to cope with the high number of requests, and traffic quotas. Sites that are maintained on shared hosting services often fail when confronted with the Slashdot effect.

    Links from other popular websites can cause problems comparable to this effect – see traffic overload.

    Sites such as Slashdot, Digg, and Fark consist of brief submitted stories and a self-moderated discussion on each story. The typical submission introduces a news item or website of interest by linking to it. In response, large masses of readers tend to simultaneously rush to view the referenced sites. The ensuing flood of page requests from readers can exceed the site's available bandwidth or the ability of its servers to respond, and render the site temporarily unreachable.

    One comment on a Slashdot story humorously summarized the effect: "Slashdot is world famous. A roving random distributed denial of service attack before which web, network and systems administrators alike quake and have terrible nightmares about."

    Major news sites or corporate websites are typically engineered to serve large numbers of requests and therefore do not normally exhibit this effect. Websites that fall victim may be hosted on home servers, offer large images or movie files or have inefficiently generated dynamic content (e.g. many database hits for every web hit even if all web hits are requesting the same page). These websites often become unavailable within a few minutes of a story's appearance, even before any comments have been posted. Occasionally, paying Slashdot subscribers (who have access to stories before non-paying users) have rendered a site unavailable even before the story is posted for the general readership.

    Few definitive numbers exist regarding the precise magnitude of the Slashdot effect, but estimates put the peak of the mass influx of page requests at anywhere from several hundred to several thousand hits per minute. The flood usually peaks when the article is at the top of the site's front page and gradually subsides as the story is superseded by newer items. Traffic usually remains at elevated levels until the article is pushed off the front page, which can take from 12 to 18 hours after its initial posting. However, some articles have significantly longer lifetimes due to the popularity, newsworthiness, or interest in the linked article; an example is the case of an announcement of Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4 source code leaks.

    Some have recently commented that the Slashdot effect has been diminishing.

    When the targeted website has a community-based structure, the term can also refer to the secondary effect of having a large group of new users suddenly set up accounts and start to participate in the community. While in some cases this has been considered a good thing, in others it is viewed with disdain by the prior members, as quite often the sheer number of new people brings many of the unwanted aspects of Slashdot along with it, such as trolling, vandalism, and newbie-like behavior.

    Slashdot does not mirror the sites it links to on its own servers, nor does it endorse a third party solution. Mirroring of content may constitute a breach of copyright and, in many cases, cause ad revenue to be lost for the targeted site. The questionable legality of the practice is one of the primary reasons that Slashdot has not implemented mirroring.

    One tool commonly advocated to assist smaller sites in bearing the load of a Slashdot effect is the Coral P2P Web Cache. The Coral caching system does not rewrite embedded links to pages or images, so is useful only for sites using relative links to images or other pages. Additionally, Coral will only serve content from the original site up to 24 hours after it becomes unreachable.

    MirrorDot and Network Mirror are systems that automatically mirror any Slashdot-linked pages to ensure that the content remains available even if the original site becomes unresponsive. is a similar alternative for Digg users. Sites in the process of being Slashdotted may be able to mitigate the effect by temporarily redirecting requests for the targeted pages to one of these mirrors.

    After repeated incidents in which Mozilla's Bugzilla bugtracker was taken down when Slashdot linked directly to bug entries, Bugzilla started blocking links from Slashdot. Clicking a hyperlink on Slashdot to Bugzilla now produces the error message "Sorry, links to Bugzilla from Slashdot are disabled."

    And it's happened to me...

  3. #3
    The most I've ever got was just over 100 diggs, which brought in about 1.5k for a day then it slowly died down over the next week or so. Results - I gained roughly 20-25% in readership (which was nice), no revenue as I hadn't monetized the site yet, in fact I still haven't (which is a whole new problem). but it wasn't a true Digg Effect either, so the bandwidth thing wasn't a big deal.

  4. I juts added one small video pic on it and received good traffic lol . It was around 4k in a single day . Funny blogs are best for promoting on social networks .

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    N43°54′, E017°40′
    A couple of days ago, one article from one of my sites got on the frontpage of Digg. It didn't happen naturally... I made it happen -- I know a guy who is a PowerUser over there, and he submitted it.

    Anyway, apart from wasting my bandwidth, the Digg effect didn't really bring much of anything useful to my site. A couple of backlinks and that's it. As far as the revenue is concerned, I was hoping for more. I heard that social-bookmarking-sites-traffic sucks, but I didn't know it sucked this much.

    Anyway, my advice would be to focus on SE traffic only, because that's the traffic that will convert well.

  6. #6
    I have not experienced this effect... (YET)

  7. #7
    I've seen it happen to our clients before, most just reported that their bandwidth usage went through the roof and in talking with them they didn't discuss any major conversions or anything special.
    Michael Denney - MDDHosting, LLC - Professional Hosting Solutions
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  8. #8
    One of my literature/fairy tales sites got stumbled recently in the mythology topic on stumbleupon. In a span of about 48 hours I had about 7000 UV's to a site that usually gets around 20/day. Bandwidth usage had increased, though it's hardly noticeable. The site is just text and a single header image, revenue remained static at an even $0.00

  9. Quote Originally Posted by dmi View Post
    I heard that social-bookmarking-sites-traffic sucks
    I've found this aswell. Facebook and Stumble are great for volume traffic but it never converts well (if at all)

  10. #10
    well it's not always about the Traffic. You simply interact with your users outside your website which is a very cool thing.

    For example your website's host decided to attend a maintenance, social bookmarks can help you notify your users that the site will be back after the maintenance!

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