Random idea for Digg: Dogfight

I’m not sure why, but yesterday I found myself thinking a bit about the new Digg and what I would be doing if I had taken over the brand.

To me, the core asset of Digg was the emotional reaction the brand generates with the general internet public.

So I think the question is, how do you take advantage of that built-in emotional response and rebuild a ‘new’ and wildly successful discovery service around it today?

While that’s the goal I would be thinking about, I think the answer actually might be in a slightly different question:

How can the Digg brand help elevate the average users’ personal brand? Or more simply, how can Digg make it’s users rockstars again?

And I think the secret might be in competition.

Set up ways for Digg users to compete with each other to improve their Digg reputation…and have that Digg reputation help earn you more/better presence within the Digg universe.

So here’s the basic idea behind a product I would be testing out (I’ve coined it Digg Dogfight in my mind):

Two users go head-to-head on a given topic by submitting the best one, two, or three links to articles around the topic they can find. Users then 'Digg’ one or the other…after a set period of time, the one with the most Diggs wins the dogfight (and has a gain in their overall Digg reputation).

Now some quick details on implementing this:

1. Topics could either be set by the Digg staff, or better yet, by the Digg community and/or users in a Dogfight.

2. Digg staff or users themselves could set up Dogfights (obviously the Digg staff run ones would have higher engagement and awareness). There should probably be some limits to how many dogfights a user can be in at a given time (one might be too small, but unlimited is certainly not a good idea).

3. There should also be a process for accepting or declining being challenged to a Dogfight (this is actually a tricky UI/UX and process thing to get right)

4. The users in the Dogfight have a built-in motivating factor for drawing attention to their own Dogfights (they need/want to get more Diggs for their side)…I think this can really help to bring relevance and a viral nature back to Digg.

5. The closest, or most active, Dogfights should be featured somewhere on Digg…as well as an overall Dogfight leaderboard which highlights the top Dogfighters on Digg (ie. the people who actually find and share the best topical content on Digg).

…and that’s about it to get started.

There are of course a million little details that would need worked out for this to actually 'work’, but I think it’s got a lot of interesting potential a brand like Digg could really take advantage of.

And it has the awesome side-effect of turning Digg into an amazing collection of topical/categorized quality content ala old-school Delicious (coincidentally the other brand from the Digg era that still holds a strong emotional tie with users).

If nothing else, I think it brings a motivating and differentiating factor to real-time, user-driven, content discovery (something badly needed as it’s a VERY crowded space now)…and adds a fun way to really get the Digg community engaging again.

Anyway - what do you think?

What would you do if you had taken over the Digg brand?

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for digdownlabs.com and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.

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