Digg is only a year and a half old, but it is already a significant social force that moves massive attention and traffic around the Internet. As has been noted for some time, it has been steadily closing the gap in alexa comparisons with Slashdot, and now has more than 800,000 average daily visitors. For further comparisons, check out digg vs. dot, a site that looks at crossposts on Digg and Slashdot. From recent personal experience, I can say that Digg certainly sends a lot of traffic to popular stories (whether that traffic ever returns is another story).
And Digg continues to release new features to build community. It now allows ratings of individual comments. And users can now also track the activities of their friends on digg as well.
Along with that power, of course, comes some negative attention as well – specifically people trying to game Digg for their own purposes. It can be as simple as using fake accounts to push a story up to the front page. As the site gets more popular, this becomes harder to do, but the reward (more traffic) also gets correspondingly larger. The increased costs are matched by increased incentives.
The most recent story of abuse is a suggestion that people are using Digg to artificially inflate the price of a public company – Sun – by promoting a rumor that Google may be acquiring the company. Digg has a number of protections in place to guard against bad news – including user flags of suspicious posts.
But the real story isn’t about how people are gaming Digg, or how Digg fights it. The important news is that Digg is so big now that people are trying to game it to do things like affect the stock price of a public company. That says a lot about the bright future of this young site.