Home Digg Gets More Mainstream; But Are Their News Sources Too Narrow Now?

Digg Gets More Mainstream; But Are Their News Sources Too Narrow Now?

Allen Stern over at CenterNetworks did an analysis of current frontpage stories on digg, the popular social news site that started out as a tech competitor to Slashdot. Allen noted that now just 15% of frontpage stories are technology ones, which is a huge change from its roots. Slashdot meanwhile continues to focus exclusively on ultra-geeky topics.

I can add my own bit of analysis to Allen’s. At the end of last week I did a check of which tech publishers were getting the most frontpages.

The data showed one interesting trend: digg tech stories are dominated by a few select blogs. Here is what I discovered:

Number of digg frontpages in last 30 days:

Ars Technica = 87

Gizmodo = 84

Engadget = 67

Torrentfreak = 36

Techcrunch = 12

Valleywag = 9

ReadWriteWeb = 6

Mashable = 4

Gigaom = 4

VentureBeat = 2

CenterNetworks = 1

As you can see, Ars Technica, Gizmodo and Engadget get far more frontpages than other top tech blogs like Techcrunch, ReadWriteWeb and Allen’s own CenterNetworks. Ars gets on average 3 frontpages a day – in other words, they get as many frontpages in 2 days as we get in a month. Yet on Technorati’s list of top blogs, only 7 places separates Ars (#7) from RWW (#14). I’m not complaining (much), it’s just the way this business works. But it is interesting that digg, which is a social news site and famously runs without using editors, is dominated by such a small collection of top blogs. And that select group appears to be getting smaller and more exclusive by the day.

Don’t get me wrong, Slashdot has its own biases – it almost always chooses to link to stories from a traditional ‘old media’ source, rather than blogs. So it too no doubt has a small collection of sources that dominate its frontpage.

My point (other than indulging myself in ‘shop talk’) is that at the same time that Digg is becoming more mainstream, the variety of its sources for top news has dropped. Is this a good thing? Obviously not for some of us tech blogs. But I’d argue it’s also not good for digg readers, who are not getting the diversity of tech stories they used to get.

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