A little story of mine got dugg last week. This resulted in over 15,000 unique visitors in less than 4 days. Analysis of the httpd logs and Google Analytics revealed some interesting aspects of the Digg effect and of diggers.
Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful tool for the analysis of visitors to a website and their interactions with it. GA enabled the examination of Digg users- where they come from (California), what browser (Firefox), internet connection (66% Cable/DSL) and toothpaste (Colgate) they use. For example; one Digg user surfs the web with a resolution of 5120X1024 (four 1280 X 1024 displays)- what’s worse is I know their browser (Firefox 1.5), OS (Windows XP).. etc and what company they work for: a unique resolution makes it pretty easy to track someone. These things can obviously be faked but you would wonder if they did in this case.
You are Being Watched!
For similar reasons maybe someone high up in Apple viewed my site (how many of the code monkeys have the 30′ Apple Cinema displays?). I looked at all the resolutions from Apple and it doesn’t appear that anyone is using a weird resolution that could indicate a new product (- that’s not to say there isn’t a new Newton in the works but it probably has the same resolution as an iMac).
So what computers do they use at Apple (n=50)? 20% have 20′ iMacs, 20% 17′ Powerbooks or MacBooks, 10% 23′ Displays, 4% 30′ Cinema Displays (hello Steve), some eMacs (really?- or is it a new product!), 20′/22′ LCDs and a lone 1600X1200 something. Microsoft even visited though there screen resolutions were generally lower (poor code monkeys)- there was one 2560×1600 (hi Bill) and some odd bod using their monitor in portrait mode (864×1152)? Does this bother you as much as it bothers me? -Firefox’s Adblock can block the analytics script and protect your privacy a little.
On the other hand if you’ve got a weird screen that you can use to view this site give it a go (I’ll report the largest, smallest and oddest screens I notice).WE HAVE A NEW HIGH RES WINNER- a linux machine with 4096×1536 an impressive (a dual monitor setup?) ~6.2 MP in N.C. (you know who you are)
Digg users therefore are pretty technologically savvy- they love Firefox (and have the latest version)- they have higher resolution screens than the normal web world and are Windows users who have an interest in Apple stories… Obviously complex people
Page views on the first day averaged at 1.1 per visitor. As the graph shows the pageview/visitor ratio is at its lowest during the time the story was on the digg front page.
The moral of this story is to have high paying ads which interest people! This requires having keywords which actually pay a decent amount of money… unfortunately I get the impression that this requires writing about topics which are likely to encourage people to click and have high ad payrates- ‘Student Loan Consolidation’, better yet ‘hair removal’ or any number of more unsavoury things.
The Secondary Digg effect is where stories from Digg are subsequently picked up by other websites- There has been about 800 unique visitors over four days that can be attributed to stories on other sites which have probably posted stories after reading about my site on Digg.
Interesting clusters can appear depending how a story propagates- in my case- the German-way… or as a comment in one of the stories says “Hrmpf!”? Das ist ja mal ein Name”- I have no idea what it means but German just sounds cool. An article Apple h � �lt Patent auf Display mit integrierten Kamerasensoren at mactechnews.de seems to have lead to five different German-language stories/posts. Another feature of the secondary Digg effect is the story being picked up by specialist news aggregators (the most famous is the Digg->Slashdot link)- Sites who publish on Privacy and communication also published on the story. There is obviously an industry of taking news from a site such as Digg translating it and making it relevant to new markets. The effect of these sites is minor in terms of hits compared to Digg’s but may lead to a longer lasting increase in visitors to the site. The increased number of links to my site and the link from Digg.com should increase the PageRank of my site and make it more visible in Google searches.
When I saw that the story had made diggs front page- i panicked! Would the server hold up and would people actually get to see the site? I did a couple of things to lower the loads:
1. served all images from flickr ~100 kb/hit
3. considered caching wordpress to speed access (it seemed to cope all right so I didn’t bother)
It’s important to understand why and where (yes, and even their screen resolution) people are coming to your site. If 80% of people coming to your site run windows and 40% of those run IE then make sure your site works with those browsers.
Being Dugg doesn’t change your life (at least not mine). Diggers seem like a nice bunch they don’t do much damage!