Digg Auto-Bury or Ego Out of Control?

Brian Clark of CopyBlogger is claiming that the CopyBlogger site has made it’s way onto a Digg Auto-Bury list.

No longer.

After a scientifically-sound amount of testing, it’s clear that Copyblogger has been placed on the dreaded Digg auto-bury list. Never heard of that? That’s because Digg refuses to acknowledge that auto-bury exists, but it most certainly does.

Well, maybe it does. The link there is to an article by Neil Patel with some pretty damning evidence that points to the possibility of a Digg Auto-Bury function of some sort. Michael “GrayWolf” Gray has done quite a bit of theorizing on the subject of the Digg Auto-Bury as well. And Brian, Neil and Michael may be right. May be.

But is is also entirely possible that what we’re seeing here is bruised blogger egos. Take CopyBlogger for instance (I’m picking on Brian because he’s the most recent and his post is the one that got me thinking). Content from CopyBlogger made the front page of Digg six times in the month of September. Six is a lot. Congratulations Brian. Now, all of a sudden, he can’t seem to get to the front page of Digg at all. He’s done some testing (without revealing exactly what, how, when) and believes that he’s been added to the auto-bury list. But then he goes on to say the following:

Ironically, I was buried by success. In September, my content made the Digg front page six times, with three articles making it in a single week. After that, it became obvious that Kevin Rose and his in-house nerd brigade couldn’t tolerate quality content making the Digg home page that frequently.

After all, what would Ron Paul think?

I have to be honest here. That sounds a lot like something someone with a wounded ego would say. I know, because I’ve made similar rants here before. “I was buried by success” just doesn’t seem like a valid argument.  Somehow, I don’t think that Kevin and Co. are adding quality sites with quality content like CopyBlogger to an auto-bury list. What is possible, however, is that Brian’s success looked a lot like domain spamming and that is what got him on the list.

I won’t dispute that there is a auto-bury list.  I have to admit that if I were running a site like Digg, I’d have one.  You’ve got to have a way to deal with splogs and such.  Would CopyBlogger be on that list?  Should CopyBlogger be on that list?  No.  Brian pumps out some really great content.  My thought is that that content probably only is useful to a small bit of the Digg user base.  Combine that with a user base that numbers in the thousands and what would have hit the front page in September may not a month later.  Regardless of the quality of the content.

Let me throw in a theory of my own.  Let’s say that Brian’s posts mainly appeal to the folks that like to play the more popular video games.  Now, let’s say that two very popular games were released recently.  For the example, we’ll use Halo 3 and Guitar Hero III.  Release dates of September 25 and October 28 respectively.  Now look at the traffic graphs for Digg on Alexa.  See the nice big drop that starts at the end of September?  How bout the one that starts around the end of October.    Let’s take it a little bit further and assume that the same type of user that would have the alexa toolbar installed is the same type of user that CopyBlogger likely attracts on Digg.  See the relation there?  Maybe those drop-offs are the reason that there haven’t been any front pages for CopyBlogger.  Not likely, but possible.

Now, before you go off on a tangent in the comments, let me acknowledge this; If Brian says he’s done some scientific testing and has some proof, he likely did and does.  But what’s the harm in sharing it?  Share with us Brian!  The blogosphere is a pretty powerful place.  If enough of us have the proof of the problem, it is possible that we can force a change.

About Shane Ede

Shane Ede is an IT guy by day and a Entrepreneurial Blogger by night. You can follow him here on Thatedeguy or over on Twitter and Google+.


  1. Gosh! An auto bury list, i had no idea that something like this existed but i suppose it would be necessary to weed out rubbish from good content.

  2. Dude, you are wrong, auto-bury exists. No maybe about it, here is a site that has been placed on it:


    Digg are getting slightly better at hiding it but the evidence is still there, here is a link to the search feature on digg that shows, the recent submissions from the site (buried stories are not included):


    You have a few recent stories with not that many diggs that have not been buried, here is a link to the search result on digg that includes buried stories:


    Click on the 2nd page of the results to get a better picture, they used to just bury any story from a site on auto bury after about 48 hours, no matter how many diggs it had, which made it very easy to detect, but now they will only bury the story if it starts to get popular in one of the categories (so that they can get away with dictating which sites they allow to go popular without getting flack – They can just say that the site was buried by the users).

    Prior to the site getting put on auto-bury roughly 200 days ago, it was on the homepage on a regular basis.

    If the digg staff do not like your website, then they will put it on auto bury, they seem to like science, gadget, and some tech sites, and they will not mess with any major newspapers because they know they would have some rep. management problems which could effect their company value.

    Copyblogger is a marketing related site, I have no doubt that it will have been put on auto-bury.