How Digg Users Got It Wrong And Missed Out

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This is the story of how a few digg users got it wrong, and the rest of the digg community missed out as a result.

As a Marketing Manager it’s not often you get the chance to genuinely give something worth $29.95 away for free to as many people as you can. That’s exactly what I was asked to do when told that 99designs were officially sponsoring a 30 day giveaway of our Photoshop Anthology.

This unique way of giving our high quality book content away for free has always appealed to me, so off to build our campaign I went.

  • Landing page — check
  • Download process — done
  • Site promotion — ready
  • Email campaign — loaded

Just before we hit that big green GO button, a colleague suggested that we should place a digg button on the landing page — digg users will go nuts! A sound theory… or so we thought.

With our “digg this” button at the ready, the campaign kicked into life. Our servers initially groaned “Oh no, not again!” but thankfully we had the page hosted on Amazon’s S3 servers, which grew as traffic increased, and held up to the challenge.

Then the diggs started rolling in! 2, 3, 4… 30 in the first hour. Traffic continued to build… but then a few comments started appearing on digg. Lots of comments along the lines of “This is great, thanks!” which is always nice to hear..

But then there was this one:

“It’s a trap. When you download it runs a validation check to see if you are running
a pirated version of photoshop…. You will recieve a fine for $500”

Huh? Surely he’s kidding?

Of course this is nonsense. But it doesn’t matter — in the blink of an eye we’ve been buried on digg.

So anyone else in the digg community who might be interested in a full, print-quality Photoshop book — sorry, you miss out. All because some goose decided to throw around some unsubstantiated claim about the legitimacy of our giveaway. What’s worse is that everyone believed him!

So what’s the lesson here?

Well, it’s obviously getting harder and harder to give something away for free these days. People are so focused on the ”What’s the catch?” that when there is none (okay maybe there are a couple of ads in the PDF), they look for one. Then, when all else fails, they just make something up.

digg aside, I’m far from disheartened — this unique way of bringing high quality content to an audience through corporate sponsorship still has great potential in my eyes.

And as for the rest of the campaign, so far it’s been a great success. First week in and we’ve already given away over 6 terabytes worth of PDFs, and our sponsors are very happy with the result. But to all you digg users, you’ve really got to learn when to appreciate a genuine freebie, or you’ll miss out!

(By the way, if you haven’t grabbed your free PDF yet, here’s the link.)

Shayne TilleyShayne Tilley
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