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THE WEB SITE WHERE USERS ARE THE EDITORS

Media Morph: Digg.com Displays Stories Based on Popularity

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week MediaWorks’ Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: Digg.com
Users can “diggall” to browse submissions, then cast votes (one per person on each article) by marking them “digg it.” When an article gets a certain number of “diggs,” it’s moved to the front page.

What it is: A combination of social networking, blogging and wikis, Digg.com harnesses the “Wisdom of Crowds” by encouraging users to submit and rank news articles. By registering at the site, readers can submit their own or others’ articles. Those articles are then cached in a kind of holding pen, the “digg” area queue. Users can “diggall” to browse those submissions, then cast votes (one per person on each article) by marking them “digg it.” When an article gets a certain number of “diggs,” it’s moved to the front -- the front page of Digg.com, that is.

Who's behind it: Kevin Rose, 29, a former reporter on now-defunct TechTV, started Digg.com in December 2004 as a personal project. The site caught on quickly, and while it is ad-supported, Digg has also picked up almost $3 million from sources including Omidyar Network and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen. And you know you're popular when you have to battle rumors of a Yahoo acquisition. (Mr. Rose says no way.)

Who's using it: The tech set for now. Hardcore articles about how to make the Roomba robotic vacuum into a serial interface (OK, we don’t know what that is either) and secret poetry for hackers in Apple’s OS X 10.4.4 recently graced the front page thanks to the 80,000 obviously tech-savvy voters currently registered. But expect more variety soon -- Digg plans to make its next version a platform from which to rank and share all content.

Why you should care: Digg, and its companion podcast Diggnation, is not only getting lots of buzz but is rapidly becoming the torchbearer of all that is consumer-generated media. While a tad unwieldy --trolling through hundreds of news stories to pick favorites is an activity only geeks could enjoy -- the premise, and promise, of allowing consumers to submit, choose and rank content is at the core of the two-way consumer dialog shift now occurring in marketing.

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