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Life After Digg: Interview With a Banned Top Digger

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With me tonight is Greg Davies, known by most of you as cGt2099, one of the former top Diggers (in fact, Christopher Finke’s top 1000 Digger’s list still shows him at #106), and also runs The-Trukstop.com (more info on his background here).

 

 

 

Top Digger banned from Digg cGt2099

Thanks for spending the time to interview with us.

You’re welcome my pleasure.

1 – We had a chance to catch up with Greg and talk to him about life after Digg. Greg, do you think that you’ve been given a fair shake? Especially considering the content that got you banned was front page on Reddit?

That’s a loaded question. Digg has terms of service, which I, like everyone else agrees to when you sign up. I had been banned a couple of times before, for stupid mistakes, and so the guys behind Digg must have believed, “enough is enough”. It’s their playground, and they set the rules; so I’m fine with that.

On the other hand, there didn’t seem to be any consideration into the fact that I was an extremely active submitter at Digg. I’d posted 1800+ stories since June 2006; and they didn’t seem to consider that I was observing the TOS a majority of the time. Consider also, that some diggers have been banned in the past numerous times also – some of them banned for infractions such as accepting payment for submits/Diggs – the consequences I faced at Digg just didn’t seem to be consistent with the repercussions that had been dealt out in the past.

2 – Digg has really done its fair share of changing the way people look at news. Social media can now deliver the news faster than a lot of traditional media. What did you think of the whole Blu-ray controversy where Digg banned several users and the whole community revolted?

The HD-DVD Riots of May 2007 started out as a valiant effort by some users – but turned into a joke. It caused a huge influx of users to join up just so they could act like Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass crew. So, while I could understand and see the initial point of standing up for yourself and your friends; it turned into something ridiculous. Many regular users were glad once the issue was resolved.

But the key thing about the revolt is that the power of Digg doesn’t truly lie in the hands of Kevin Rose, Jay Adelson et al… the power is in the hands of the users. THEY decide what makes the front page. They’re in control. So while the greatest aspect of Digg becomes raising awareness about certain issues the mainstream media isn’t covering; it’s also it’s greatest dictator: don’t be surprised if another riot happens there one day.

Yes, that’s very true. The power of social media is in the hands of the users. I recall hearing about the Virginia Tech shooting through social media, so it is a very real and powerful force.

3 – You’ve had over 1,800 Diggs submitted and over 30,000 stories Dugg in your Digg career. about how much time would you set aside a day for such activity? Also, how do you view Digg changed over time as it grew in popularity and underwent more social networking changes with the new profile and shout options?

It’s never really been a case where I would “set aside time” to submit stories and Digg stuff. I would just take it all on a “take it as it comes along” basis. So, it would be too hard for me to put a number on it. I would just somewhat integrate Digg into my regular internet surfing and online work. The new profiles at Digg were fabulous, and I really enjoyed the change. It took a little getting used to, but I found it a very valuable tool in being able to connect with others easier. All of a sudden; more diggers were accessible – and with something like Digg, the more networking you have with others, the better.

The shouts, on the other hand, are another story altogether. It seemed that from the get-go, shouts were perceived very differently among different users. Some saw them as great opportunities to share stories; others saw them as just a reprehensible method of spamming others. I honestly did my best to give a chance for the shout feature. If someone shouted me; I’d shout ‘em back. But it just became overwhelming and way too time consuming. I ended up having to turn them off on my profile – it was just too much.

4 – What advice do you have for Diggers just starting out? What do you view as compelling content, and where do you think people should go to be on the lookout for good content?

If you’re starting out, don’t dive into the submissions straight away. Seriously. Take the time to just lurk, Digg, read, and even comment. Get a feel for the place first. That’s usually a good method of learning what kind of material has the tendency to become popular. Also, if you only just registered recently; don’t set yourself an unrealistic goal like becoming the number one Digger.

Getting to the top takes time and patience. A LOT of time and patience. When looking for content to post to Digg; I found that the best place is usually with what you are already doing online. In other words, take a look at your regular surfing patterns. Are there any good sites you’re visiting that you don’t often see on Digg? Submit the content from them – others may enjoy it.

One example I can give you is the heavy metal site Blabbermouth.net. When I started submitting content to Digg, I NEVER saw that site there. So I started posting content there. I was surprised to find out how many Digg geeks were also metalheads such as myself. Also, get into RSS feeds, and check out what other social news / social bookmarking sites are making popular. There’s a good chance that if it’s popular at Reddit or del.icio.us or StumbleUpon, then there’s a good chance it might become popular at Digg too.

A handy resource for that is popurls.com. Also, don’t just submit any old thing just for the sake of submitting something. Submit something that grabs your attention. If it grabs your attention, then it’s possible it’ll grab the attention of others too.

On a side note, if anyone is just starting out on Digg and is curious as to how to get on Digg’s front page, you might find this article I wrote about it of some help.

5 – I can’t imagine that you would want to be done using social media just because of what happened with Digg. There has been lots of activity on Digg surrounding your ban, and many are wanting you back. What communities do you think you will explore?

Mixx

I’ve always bounced around different social sites, be it social networking (MySpace/Facebook) or social news/bookmarking (Reddit, etc). At the moment I’ve crashed the party over at Mixx.com. It’s similar to Digg, but it’s new, fresh and just starting out. And since starting out over at Mixx, I’ve been posting quite a lot. I’m hoping the community grows over there because it has a lot of potential.

On a related note, I’d like to thank those who’ve been sticking up for me with the whole “permanent ban” issue. Your support is very much appreciated.

6 – Have you closed the book in your mind about Digg? Or would you get right back into it given the opportunity?

If my account is ever reinstated, or if I’m ever allowed to re-register (they permanently banned via IP also, so I haven’t bothered even trying to set up a new account), I would probably submit content to Digg still. But I’m very comfortable with Mixx at the moment, and would love to be more proactive in that community to help it grow.

7 – Any closing comments?

I’d like to say cheers and thanks to all my friends and fans I networked with over at Digg. It was awesome, and the interaction made it all worthwhile. Also, take heed to what you are posting on Digg. Just because it hits the front page on other sites, doesn’t mean that it will fly at Digg – the admins have itchy trigger fingers…. but if you do fall into the ban clan like myself, come on over and help me shake up Mixx.com a little bit.

[Editors Note: If you're wondering what got Greg banned for the 4th and final time, he speaks about it at length in his personal blog here (h/t: Lyndon)]

Update: looks like support for Greg has really been taking off – check out this parody video of Chris Crocke’s leave Brittney alone:

Comments

  • Why on earth do they ban prominent users for minor infractions? Stupid.

    posted by Sutocu on November 2nd, 2007 at 9:39 am
  • @Sutocu: well, it was 4 bans on the same user.

    posted by brian on November 2nd, 2007 at 9:58 am
  • Interesting interview, however it would have been nice to know what exactly tripped his latest ban. I am surprised you didn’t ask.

    posted by Lyndon Antcliff on November 2nd, 2007 at 11:14 am
  • @Lyndon: thanks for stopping by, and glad that you liked it. Reason that I didn’t ask him was because Greg already elaborated on what tripped the latest ban in his personal blog, which can be found here. I’ll add that to the end of the post – good point.

    posted by brian on November 2nd, 2007 at 11:52 am
  • Very interesting read…What was most refreshing is that he doesn’t curse Digg or slander them; really shows great character and shows why he was such a great member of the community there for some time. Social sites need to become less militant though, but like he said, there’s others to go to such as Mixx.

    posted by Dan Anton on November 2nd, 2007 at 5:11 pm
  • Nice article… I also was recently “Banned from Digg” for god knows what…

    I belong to a popular forum and some members PM’d me to digg a few of their stories that I took the time to read and concluded they were worthy of being Dugg…

    A few days/weeks later I tried signing into my account only to see I had been banned…

    Do I care, well NO, why should I it’s not like I get paid to visit Digg on a daily basis I just go there to pick up on some new news and other tech things which I can still do…

    I do think the people working for Digg need to look more closely at the reasons they may want to “Ban” a person than what they are these days…

    Keith

    posted by Keith L. Dick on November 4th, 2007 at 11:23 pm
  • Are you nuts? Community my arse. Move on, loser.

    posted by Yeh Roete on November 4th, 2007 at 11:53 pm
  • @newestonthenet: thanks for the link!

    @dan: yes, that’s the right way to be. And Mixx looks promising.

    @yeh: what’s wrong with Digg being a community? What do you see it as?

    posted by brian on November 5th, 2007 at 12:57 am
  • I don’t get it. This is no big deal. He can just get a new e-mail address and continue digging. I know people who have done it a bajillion times. Move on, folks.

    posted by exach on November 5th, 2007 at 1:46 am
  • I agree with Dan. Greg is pretty cool and composed about the what happened. That is a reason why his kind is very popular on social media sites.

    posted by Pramit Singh on November 5th, 2007 at 5:45 am
  • @exach: maybe so, but then everything he built up over all that time would not be associated with his account. It’s sort of like joining the Air Force because you got kicked out of the Army.

    @pramit: yes, sportsmanship and not whining like a baby goes a long way.

    posted by brian on November 5th, 2007 at 6:44 am
  • What urinates me off about guys like these is that there are literally hundreds of good stories that don’t even get a blurb on the radar because some these guys post “Top ten keystrokes” or something like “Dig this and I’ll… du jour.” They don’t report news, they’re worse than Fox… They invent it.

    When Blake Stowell resigned from SCO, there wasn’t a peep about it on Digg. This was a company about to lose a seven billion dollar lawsuit. When SCO collapsed and filed bankruptcy a few months later after judge Kimble passed the gavel, same thing… more top ten icons and wallpapers, no relevant or current news.

    What guys like these tend to forget is that Digg was intended to be a technology social news site, and not a technology social site. I’m tired if seeing the same videos, jokes, and stories become popular, that were on muchosucko or ebaumsworld four years ago… its not new, and its not news.

    Personally, I think this whole thing was staged, and wouldn’t be surprised if this was an auto-interview… as such, I’ve buried the story.

    posted by Will Nett on November 5th, 2007 at 6:53 am
  • I too was banned from digg after 2 years of active posting. I ended up over at http://www.tagsum.com which is growing quite rapidly i’m happy to say.

    posted by Brian on November 5th, 2007 at 9:08 am
  • Thanks for clarifying Brian. I know have hunted it down, but I’m a lazy git. When I saw it I thought wtf. It seems digg is ol with mild racism, but a fat girls left tit is a no no.

    posted by Lyndon Antcliff on November 5th, 2007 at 9:37 am
  • @will: you have a point. Sometimes, top quality stories slip through without any notoriety. This is a shame, considering that Digg is one of the largest technology social news sites around. I assure you though that this was not an auto-interview or whatever you are trying to say there.

    Hey, it’s your right to bury the story, but this was a real interview. If you take a look back through the history of this site, I interview someone else every week or so lately. Here are some examples.

    Bury those too if you want, but don’t accuse me of auto-interviews. I too would like to see some tech news over top 10 lists and how to’s, so I also read Slashdot :)

    posted by brian on November 5th, 2007 at 9:48 am
  • @brian: haven’t seen much about Tagsum, will have to check it out.

    @lyndon: lol, no problem. Rule of thumb: It isn’t a problem to give a top 10 list about what to do with a girl’s tit, just don’t show it. :)

    posted by brian on November 5th, 2007 at 9:52 am
  • The problem with digg is that title of the digg doens’t accruatally reflect what the artical is about. Misleading titles and sometimes satirical titles.

    posted by none on November 5th, 2007 at 9:53 am
  • @none: this is sometimes true, but did you feel that this article’s title reflected the content?

    Life after Digg: check.
    Interview: check.
    Banned Top Digger: check.

    :)

    posted by brian on November 5th, 2007 at 9:55 am
  • Holy crap, I’m still on the top 100 list (diggitydugged). I have to admit, I laughed when I saw the wedding pic. Thanks for all the good reads, cGt2099.

    posted by Fronz on November 5th, 2007 at 9:58 am
  • @fronz: nice job. And yeah the submit was funny, it’s just against TOS.

    posted by brian on November 5th, 2007 at 10:08 am
  • I think this guy got himself banned on purpose to promote his site Mixx. It is a typical PR ploy to drive traffic by someone who is not creative enough to come up with his own idea. There are always knock off clones when something original happens. I do agree this guy has the class not to trash Digg and it clearly shows he is looking to drive classy diggers to his site. But for us classy diggers- we will stay with the original. It takes far more than a mouthy blogger to change our minds. Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose are amongst the most innovative and progressive thinkers in tech today- it will take more than a banned mouth to change this truth.

    posted by Darrell Kern on November 5th, 2007 at 10:34 am
  • @ Darrell

    I have no association with mixx whatsoever, aside from the fact that I am a registered user and regular poster. Outside of that, I receive no benefits (financial or otherwise) from Mixx.com. Not my company, not my site.

    THIS is my site -> http://www.the-trukstop.com/

    posted by Greg Davies on November 5th, 2007 at 11:59 am
  • I was recently banned also. Not sure why. Oh well I guess I should get someone else to submit my stuff. http://online-money-makers.blogspot.com/

    posted by William on November 5th, 2007 at 12:25 pm
  • But but but but but… he was my ‘friend’ and I even have Truk-stop link on my site. Damn!

    posted by deb195 on November 5th, 2007 at 12:32 pm
  • Digg is the same garbbage recycled over and over. Anything positive about Apple gets to the front page every time, same with anything negative about Microsoft. Then you have your 9-11 conspiracies, Ron Paul pushes, and Bush bashing for the political content. Then tons of stupid top 10 lists, “LOL THIS PIC SI FUNNAY!” pictures and videos. While social news sites is a great idea, they can lead to abuse like digg where its used to push and bury agendas people like or dislike.

    posted by Bender on November 5th, 2007 at 2:46 pm
  • @darrell: Mixx.com isn’t Greg’s site. It’s just a site he signed up on that is similar to Digg.

    @gregg: thanks for weighing in here!

    @william: perhaps they don’t like url’s such as the one you put in your comment here.

    @deb195: yeah, that’s the way it is. For now, anyway. Good news is, Greg is a top er, um, Mixxer? :)

    @bender: I hear you. Sometimes places like Netscape / Propeller have a tighter handle on quality content. Still, maybe you should submit that “LOL THIS PIC SI FUNNAY!” pic to Digg :)

    posted by brian on November 5th, 2007 at 4:15 pm
  • @ Bender
    The only thing more cliche than a digg story supporting Apple/insulting Micro$oft/the rest of the stuff you said is a comment saying that a digg story supporting Apple/insulting Micro$oft/the rest of the stuff you said is cliche.

    posted by Dan on November 5th, 2007 at 4:59 pm
  • for the life of me, i can’t figure out why this is relevant or what is the appeal of being a “top digger.” i thoroughly enjoy digg, but honestly, the content on digg seems to be from the same 10 or 15 sites, the competition to be the one that gets dugg the most seems a little, well… pointless and vain. ya know?

    posted by unanimousanonymousbosch on November 5th, 2007 at 5:42 pm
  • Digg is a propaganda tar pit. They suppress grass-roots voices. Elitist prigs. Go reddit!

    posted by Ally Kendall on November 5th, 2007 at 8:56 pm
  • This seemed staged. This story seemed to be produced to give digg some type of social validity. No-one cares he was banned because the digg is false. Its not real.

    posted by william godfried on November 6th, 2007 at 4:03 am
  • @dan: way to say it.

    @ally: every community has their advantages and disadvantages. Are you saying that Digg is an Apple / Linux propaganda machine?

    @william: in no way was this staged. Let me ask you – in what way could this have been done to not have given you that impression?

    posted by brian on November 6th, 2007 at 5:13 am
  • wow thats deep dude getting band like that I’d post that as a
    “WTF at Techorati!” lol why did he get banned Im not into surfin the net for blogs at this time If you would like to tell lil ol me, a new blogger
    ta
    hb~

    posted by harleyblues on November 14th, 2007 at 12:05 am
  • Greg Davies aka cGt2099,

    I want you to know that in honor of you and also others and my own feeling on being trod upon, I wrote the top people at Digg just now, and told them to cancel my account, and that I’m no longer wanting to be associated with Digg in any way.

    I mentioned specifically what happened to you and specifically asked for Kevin and Jay to be cc:ed my letter… I’m done and Digg is buried in my book.

    I won’t bother you with my own issues with Digg because you certainly already have heard them, but thanks for the warning and I’m now yoda on Mixx, and i’m enjoying it already.

    maybe we can be friends on Mixx, drop me a line, ok?

    peace, and sorry to hear about what you went through.

    yoda aka bruce m.

    posted by bruce on November 27th, 2007 at 4:10 pm
  • oh, one more thing: if they don’t remove my account, i’m gonna submit every pr0n site i can until i, too, get permanently banned!!!!!!!!! either that, or, we can be sure, that MEGAROTIC and TheHun are gonna get some serious traffic! LMAO

    i’m not kidding. although those sites are last I checked, on the top 100 visit websites already…

    so whoever is lurking for Digg here, you might warn them that I REALLY want to get off.

    would this be the “nuclear option”????

    hmmm….
    [admin edit: sorry Bruce. Not linking to those sites from here]

    posted by bruce on November 27th, 2007 at 4:18 pm
  • @bruce: way to take a stand. Let us know how you like Mixx.

    posted by brian on November 27th, 2007 at 4:24 pm
  • @admin oh sorry didn’t mean to offend…its cool.

    @brian thanks! you know i put my heart and soul into digg for about 5-6 weeks and feel kinda dirty and beatup from it, not just from the users, but just the whole gargoyle. i’m totally liking Mixx after just a couple days, and there are some quality people there. plus the greater accountabiility is a good thing..people are not so quick to vote down on anything, since everyone will know. that works. the “terms of use” sounds a little strict, but we’ll have to see if they really are gonna be hardasses about it or not..but maybe it will make people politer. still i like to use some 4letterwords myself at times…have to see what happens there.
    i give it a 9 right now though.

    posted by bruce on November 28th, 2007 at 1:07 am
  • My site is banned too by Digg, Its All right, My site is still Live, i do not need Digg.

    Rosari

    posted by cityslicker mom on December 11th, 2007 at 11:24 pm
  • I was banned from digg too. It sucks because not only did they ban me, they also banned my URLs. Life is funny sometimes.

    Jason P’s last blog post..My friend’s blog.

    posted by Jason P on January 2nd, 2008 at 9:59 am
  • This was a digger that said what he think and that’s what made him very popular. It’s a game, be liked by the community, but without going too far. I think this is a great loss for digg, as he will end up somewhere else, working “against” them.

    posted by freeman on April 24th, 2008 at 10:54 am
  • While the Obamatards were spreading anti Palin propaganda this weekend I got kicked of off digg for posting this in the comments, http://edddie.tumblr.com/post/48301161/barack-obama-to-bristol-palin-do-the-right-thing

    posted by eddie's tumblr on September 4th, 2008 at 6:41 pm
  • There is a Firefox extension that allows you to shout only to users who have not DUGG a story. This is a great tool for users of DIGG because, after all, DIGG is a community where you will have a lot of “friends”.

    Using their SHOUT system I will get the same shout from 10 different people. Because we are share the same likes and happen to have common friends. So this is annoying to get 10 emails for the same DIGG.

    Since DIGG is too lazy to add a feature that will not shout to someone who has already DUGG (Honestly how much FUC&ing “SERVER LOAD” can this be?), a clever person created the Firefox extension that does just this.

    I created a post about it and had 200+ diggs before I got banned. Now, almost all the users who Dugg my article have been banned as well.

    I am thinking of starting a F!@# DIGG campaign. I mean, what punks. Ah my email from Digg just came in, if you have read their TOS is is VERY VAGUE (Please explain to me how this hurts your SERVER LOAD!!!)

    “Hi from Digg.com,

    Your account was reported to us as being in violation of our Terms of Service (http://digg.com/tos) by promoting scripts that are in clear violation of Digg’s Terms Of Service. We must be vigilant in protecting against activities that compromise the Digg community, this decision is final and irreversible.

    Thank you,

    -The Digg Support Team.

    ~ Jim

    posted by Jim Gaudet on September 18th, 2008 at 10:12 am
  • I heard cGt2099’s story after my account, IP and my site were all banned. I tried to figure out why using Google, since Digg simply told me I violated their terms. Now I’ve fallen in love with Delicious, a better site to manage my internet bookmarks.

    posted by Essay Topics on March 13th, 2009 at 1:02 am
  • It sucks that you spent so much time with Digg, only to get banned by a series of stupid mistakes. Hopefully you will have a much better experience over at Mixx.

    posted by Mike - Music Notation Software on June 19th, 2009 at 11:57 am
  • Just got banned lol.

    posted by Eric on June 25th, 2009 at 12:57 pm
  • @Eric – nice! thx for checking in with us :)

    posted by Brian Wallace on June 25th, 2009 at 1:01 pm
  • @Eric, welcome…
    .-= Jim Gaudet´s last blog ..Google Code | Let’s Make the Web Faster =-.

    posted by Jim Gaudet on June 25th, 2009 at 1:54 pm
  • I was banned by Digg 2 days ago. They totally suck and at least it is not worth to build some link juice with them because its no-follow. If I were a hacker, I would have crash their entire database and to ruin their life and business because of banning me. But I can’t do that to them, because I admire their hard work of building their website for business.

    Life is life. Time to move on! If someone can dominate Digg’s rank or to create an anti-Digg site, I would be happy for it.

    posted by Jeff Caceres on June 30th, 2010 at 7:14 pm
  • I do think the people working for Digg need to look more closely at the reasons they may want to “Ban” a person than what they are these days…

    posted by save fuel on August 14th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

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