Ever wonder what it's like to have your site appear on Digg's front page? Think you'll be rich and gain thousands of loyal fans?
Sites often buckle under the intense traffic from being featured on Digg. It's similar to, but smaller than, being Slashdotted. I was on the front page on a Sunday evening, a relatively low-traffic time period in web usage, so I only received about 18,000 hits.
Here are the statistics, for curious visitors or entrepreneurial website authors:
Ad profits are often measured in cost (for the advertisers... profit for the site owner) per 1,000 pages viewed (CPM).
This isn't just an indicator that my site has a lot of loyal visitors who click on ads constantly. (Believe me, that's really not the case.) According to Google Analytics, 82% of my visitors during the above "normal days" were new to the site. The top inbound link sources, by far, are Google and Yahoo web searches.
My visitors aren't unusually loyal. Digg's visitors just won't bring you the same ad performance that you can expect from general web traffic. You'll have to find another way to get rich. (The mathematically skilled members of my audience have probably figured out that I made approximately $16, total, from being on the Digg front page. That's enough for me to exist in my apartment for about 9 hours.)
Almost all (94%) of the Digg visits were only the linked article. Only 4% of them stuck around and looked at other pages on my site, and almost all of those only viewed one additional page.
When browsing through Digg's top stories, users are not mentally navigating a set of external sites, they're navigating Digg. My article was no different in their mental navigation models than if it were a Digg page. They read the article, then clicked the Back button to return to the headlines and read more articles.
If you don't believe me and you're a Digg user, try to remember (without using your browser's history functions) at least three websites you visited from Digg yesterday. No luck? Can you even remember one?
Such high Mac and Linux usage is incredibly unusual. There's also a lot of early adopters here, given the representation of Windows Vista users.
The Intel Mac representation is also surprisingly high, since they've only been available for 9 months.
This is obviously skewed, since my article was about Apple, but the rest of the Digg audience probably isn't significantly different.
This is a huge Firefox and Safari representation compared to the usage among general users, which I've seen estimated at about 12% and 3%, respectively.
I was also surprised that Camino made the chart. Camino is a custom Mac version of Mozilla that uses the Firefox rendering engine with an almost-native Mac interface. I always assumed there were only about 11 people who used it.
Digg users have much higher-end and more recent hardware than most people, with an unusually high representation of widescreen resolutions from recent laptops and high-end desktop LCDs. The high Mac usage heavily influences this toward the Apple laptop resolutions.
800x600 is notably absent. In most web surveys, there's a small (around 5%) number of users who use this low resolution, and good web designers grudgingly ensure that their layouts are acceptable within it.
No major surprises here for a predominantly American site linking to an article written in English.
Most geeks who live in major metropolitan areas have no idea how many people still use dialup, either because nothing faster is available (in the middle of nowhere, where a surprising number of people live) or they just don't care enough to pay more for broadband (extremely nontechnical people who just use email and basic browsing).
Given the observed behavior of Digg users, and the reasonable application of this pattern to other one-time-blitz traffic, I doubt that this service is worth buying at a high price.
Digg traffic is great for sites. Generally, any traffic is great for sites - I'd rather get paid $16 for an article than $0. But Digg won't turn your blog into Engadget overnight.