On April 2nd, Digg launched the DiggBar. In Digg’s words, the DiggBar allows you to “Digg directly on the destination site, easily share stories, access, view comments while on the story page, discover related stories, see more stories from the same source and discover random stories.” In reality, as TechCrunch noted on the day that this new feature from Digg was launched, the DiggBar is a way to keep “you on Digg and shows the site being pointed to in an iframe wrapper.” This means that while Digg used to send large amounts of traffic in exchange for being able to feature great pieces of content on their web site, they are now trying to have the best of both worlds by not only using content from other publishers but by also benefiting from the traffic that content generates.

Not surprisingly, this new feature has generated a lot of controversy throughout the Internet community. While there has been a lot of scattered discussion about why many people feel the new DiggBar is pure evil, here is a centralized look at the three main reasons people are getting upset:

Steals Traffic and Links: As some people have stated, “Digg is just a glorified scraper site now.” The reason that this statement has some validity to it is because not only is Digg stealing traffic by framing in content from other publishers, but because the DiggBar includes a URL shortening feature, people will be linking to the “Digg URL” instead of the actual URL of the content. Regardless of how you feel about SEO, social media optimization, linkbait or any other related topics, I think we can all agree that when a publisher takes time to create a piece of content that people enjoy, they should be the one to receive the links and traffic generated from that piece of content, and not a third-party service. Just imagine if Google started framing all of their search results and creating their own URLs instead of linking to the original URL of the content!

Still Not SEO Friendly: Although Digg announced a change to the DiggBar (“301 redirect anyone who comes across a page with a DiggBar on it – IF they are not signed into Digg”) on April 15th that was intended to make it more SEO friendly, SEW summed up why this attempt at a “change” was not sufficient quite well:

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say this won’t appease SEO’s. This almost feels like an admission by Digg that perhaps their DiggBar isn’t quite as SEO-friendly as they hoped.”

Sets a Dangerous Precedent: As Kevin from ToMuse pointed out in his comment on a SEW post:

“What most people fail to realize is that if Digg is allowed to frame other publishers’ websites, more will follow their lead and soon the Web will be nothing but frames within frames.

This is exactly why frames were stopped in the early 1990’s. The only difference is that these frame spammers are repackaging it as a service and baiting publishers with promises of greater traffic returns. In contrast to Digg’s empty promises, publishers can improve their traffic stats by actually blocking the DiggBar.”

If you think Kevin is exaggerating, just check out the image he posted on his blog, which explicitly demonstrates what he is talking about:

Multiple iFrames

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