Despite Huge Activity, Digg Offers A Compromise On DiggBar

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compromiseThe DiggBar, Digg’s browser-based toolbar for digging and sharing content, has seen a tidal wave of controversy since its release last week. The problem for many site publishers is that it frames content within the DiggBar itself, meaning that users aren’t actually on your site, but are looking at a frame of your site while staying on Digg’s servers. And the DiggBar also acts as a URL shortener, but does so using a 200 code rather than the preferred 301 permanent redirect that other shorteners use to ensure the destination sites get the traffic. Now Digg is getting ready to slightly compromise.

Digg’s VP of engineering John Quinn, writes in a post today that Digg will change the behavior of shortened URLs. For anyone not logged into Digg, they will now get a 301 redirect to the site being pointed to sans the DiggBar. Users who are logged into Digg and have not opted-out of using the DiggBar, will still get the 200 variety, meaning they will technically reside on Digg’s servers.

But the opt-out part is important to note. Users of Digg will still get the DiggBar (and its 200 code) by default, so if you don’t want it, change it in your settings or sign out of Digg. Digg clearly has made it opt-out rather than opt-in because despite the controversy, the DiggBar is working the way Digg wanted. Quinn notes that since the DiggBar’s launch, roughly 45% of all digging activity now comes through the DiggBar. He also notes that a quarter of the users are using it to find other content on the site.

With the DiggBar now doing 301 redirects for non logged-in users, Quinn says that the Digg-shortened URLs will not appear in the major search engines. Of course, he also said that last week when he gave an update on the DiggBar amid the first wave of controversy. Despite his assurances last time, huge sites like Engadget opted to block the DiggBar. Other sites, like The New York Times already block iframes, which means the DiggBar won’t work there either.

We’ll be interested to hear what Danny Sullivan and other SEO experts have to say about these latest changes. Early reactions from others who were opposed seem pretty favorable.

Digg says it’s working to get these changes out next week. And it says it’s still listening to feedback about the tool, which means that we’ll probably have another update on another round of changes in a week. But Quinn notes that the DiggBar is valuable to the “vast majority” of Digg users — which is probably true, it’s just some publishers that don’t like it. And who cares about them (us) anyway?

If you don’t like Digg’s URL shortener, feel free to use ours. Just hit the ‘Tweet This’ button at the bottom of each post to send it to Twitter with our shortener. Or find a short URL at the very bottom of the comment section.

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