Digg's Newest Corporate Sponsor: BP America

More

Since its redesign at the end of August, social news service Digg has been beset with problems. Traffic plummeted by 26%, and Digg founder Kevin Rose announced that he would be leaving his baby behind. Worse, Digg's hardcore user base immediately revolted against the redesign, flooding the front page with links to competitor Reddit, and the Digg team has been gradually reintroducing features from its previous iteration to appease its increasingly frustrated user base.

A user spotted an sponsored link to an Alabama Press-Register article "Offshore world looks good after Gulf oil spill, scientists say (with video)" on the front page:

bpondigg.jpg

The article suggests that sea life in the Gulf coast may be returning to normal, although the assessment is far from scientific:

"Working from the grand caveat that most of the information we have is anecdotal and suggestive," said Monty Graham, a biologist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, "it does not appear that there are large pools of oil running around on the bottom [of the ocean], wreaking havoc."

If Digg is looking to save its reputation, hosting ads by BP America probably won't help. While Digg once prided itself on serving its community, a common complaint among members of the Digg community is that the company "sold out" to mainstream publishers in an effort to prop up falling revenues. Mashable's domination of the Digg front page within the first days of its relaunch indicated an unwanted trend for loyal users, making Reddit (which sassed parent company Conde Nast over pot legalization ads) seem a more appealing, independent alternative.

Hosting sponsored links is not new for Digg. But hosting links from BP America only reinforces that conception that Digg is desperate for corporate support. During the height of the oil spill, the Digg and Reddit communities took pleasure in flaming the vilified oil giant. To prominently host BP-sponsored links cheerleading a return to normalcy in the Gulf doesn't bode well for a website desperately trying to bring back users.

Update, 1:24 PM: Digg has informed me that they are currently preparing a quote. I'll post it here once I receive it.

Update, 1:53 PM: I recieved this statement from Chas Edwards, Digg's Chief Revenue Officer:

Digg accepts advertising from any company as long as the company and the content do not violate our Terms of Service (inappropriate language, illegal business such as gambling or porn, etc.) and as such, BP has initiated an ad campaign with Digg, similar to ad campaigns that they have already been running in recent months with Google, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Washington Post.

Specifically, BP is currently running a "Digg Ad" which is a promotion that every Digg user knows appears as the 3rd placement in the story list on our homepage. In addition, this ad is clearly marked "Sponsored by BP America."

H/T Redditor xbox666

Jump to comments
Presented by

Jared Keller is a former associate editor for The Atlantic and The Atlantic Wire and has also written for Lapham's Quarterly's Deja Vu blog, National Journal's The Hotline, Boston's Weekly Dig, and Preservation magazine. 

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In