Atkins, diuretics and rubber suits, you’re so five-minutes ago. I was only three-weeks into my journey to the core of the blogosphere when I discovered the astonishing slimming power of Digg.com.
It was a Thursday evening around 8pm when I got a casual e-mail from an online friend, Maki, telling me he really enjoyed an article I just posted on off-blog marketing strategies and he submitted it to Digg.com.
[For those not in the Digg-know, Digg.com is a website that allows anyone to submit articles they think other people might like and have readers vote on those articles. If an article gets enough votes in a short period of time, it can get voted onto the front-page and then, as I was about to learn, all traffic-hell breaks loose.]
Now, I thought a lot of people could benefit from the article, so, hey, I’m up for a bit of traffic. More traffic means more exposure and more exposure means more impact, and…
I’m all about impact.
So, it’s going on about 11pm and, needing my beauty rest (I’m old, so I need a lot), I head off to bed with about 25 Diggs under my belt. A half hour passes and I can’t contain myself, so I go look and it’s at 48 Diggs. I remember Maki telling me he thinks it might take between 50 and 70 diggs to hit the front-page with his profile. My stomach starts to get a bit squirrely. Two seconds later, I’m in the bathroom.
Pound one lost.
I return a few minutes later, refresh the screen and my heart jumps, the article just went from 48 to 95 votes in the blink of an eye. “Friggin’ awesome,” I declare, must have made the front page.
So, I go to my blog to take a quick peek and and then I see it…big, fat nothing. There before me, instead of my blog, is the classic screen of death error page. It’s my first-ever true moment of blogosphere glory and my blog is dead. I’m nauseous and run to the bathroom…again.
Down two pounds.
Returning, I jump onto Digg only to find that, even though my site is down, the article is still flying up the rankings and I’m thinking, “wow, people must like the headline and blurb teaser on Digg so much, that, even though they cant read the whole article, they’re still voting it up.”
Then it hits me. Gee, I wonder if they’re voting it up or…they’re teaching me a lesson by burying my site so far into newbie crash-land, I’ll think twice before dancing with the Digg-bloods again.
Within moments, reams of lovely, supportive, understanding comments, begin to pour in on the Digg voting page, confirming my suspicions:
- Wow. On the front page with no comments.
- LOL… If anything, the lack of comments is testament to the accuracy of this article.
- I’d say the #1 thing they do is have a server that can handle the Digg effect… 😉
- Well, that was easy to knock the server down, less than 75 diggs…
- Buy new hosting.
- There should be a law passed to allow bloggers to blog…you must have a life worth writing about first.
- What is it with digg killing websites for a while? I mean its not like it brings in 1000 people every 30 minutes or something. /sarcasm
- Step 1. Work 2 hours at McDonalds. Step 2. Ask every customer if they’d like “name of your blog” with that. Step 3. Wait for the power of name recognition to kick in.
- Digg to guy’s blog: “I kill you!”
- Bloggers are so lame. Everyone suddenly thinks they’re the media. Nobody cares about what you think. Go get a real job and stop spamming the ‘net. K, thanks.
- Spam 1,000,000 Chinese kids begging them to visit your blog and click on the adsense links.
- Yeah, the actual article says, 403 Forbidden. Apache/1.3.37 Server error. I’ve made a mental note of these insightful ideas and plan to use them in my future blogs.
Gotta love the support! Now, two hours in, the sound of me running to the bathroom for the third time wakes up my wife as she wonders what the heck is going on.
Pound three lost.
I take a look down the comments again and notice a link that reads duggmirror and learn, for the first time, that there is a service that captures pages submitted to Digg and posts them on alternate links and someone has put up the alternate link to my page. So, maybe, just maybe, part of the diggs are coming from the Digg button on that alternate page.
Okay, triage mode.
By now, I’ve gotten an e-mail from my hosting company, Hostgator, telling me they pulled me off the air for abuse, because my site crashed the server and was knocking all the other sites on the shared server down.
I can’t get anyone on the phone to help, because it’s not a standard support issue, it’s an abuse issue.
I am now a branded server-abuser, a hosting-felon.
I have a permanent record. So, I e-mail the overnight abuse-lords and beg and plead for them to put my site back up.
They reply, in a remarkably timely manner, with the equivalent of “hahahahahaha!” (okay, so maybe they were nicer, but that’s what I read). So, I e-mail again and ask what I can do to get my blog back up asap and they say I can switch to a dedicated server.
It normally takes days, but, for me, because they can literally taste my sweat through the keyboard, they’ll try to have it back up in the wee hours of the morning.
So, I pay for a dedicated server and sit back and pray.
Meanwhile, the diggs keep flying in and the comments just ain’t getting any nicer.
Slumped over my desk, now at about 3am, I tally up the increase in hosting costs and realize I’ve just gone from $180 a year to about $2,700 a year. Okay, so that’s a solid chunk of my daughter’s summer camp, our family vacation and the next year of grande, no-water soy chai’s up in smoke. Run to the bathroom, Pound four gone.
An hour later, I awake to a puddle of dried-drool gluing my cheek to my IKEA worktop.
Yummo! I type in my blog address and wait, peeking through the puffy slits where my eyes used to be. The blog’s back up. Hostgator rocks, I always loved those guys! But, wait. Uh-oh. They transferred the content, activated WordPress, but forgot to port all the pictures and deactivated my custom-theme.
I’m so wiped out, it takes me another 20-minutes to realize, I can fix most of this myself and then have my blog-designer fix the rest in the morning. So I turn my theme back on and then I check my traffic. Holy crap. That’s why I crashed. Well, I figure, at least with all that traffic and the alternate page up at duggmirror, I should still get a lot of subscribers.
Then it dawns on me…the subscriber link at duggmirror. Was it active? I check it out. Dead as a door nail.
Thousands of hits and no way to subscribe…and no active url to link to.
Oy vey. Bathroom check number five. Ten-minutes later, with the sun coming up, I slide on my jeans and they feel remarkably loose. So, I jump on the scale. Don’t ask me why, just reflex.
Five pounds, 5,000 hits and 50 comments in 5 hours.
Oh, that crazy Digg. Bad for the hair, great for the waist. Hey, maybe that should be their new slogan.
Twenty-four hours later, with traffic, links and comments still pouring in, Hostgator totally stepping up on the overnight-shift and lots of people enjoying the article, I started to feel better. Thank God I meditate.
And, of course, with plenty of room in my caloric budget for the day, the massive hunk of chocolate cake I had for breakfast didn’t hurt!
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