On the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, we sadly report on the state of the broken toilet in the International Space Station. It means astronauts have to split up which toilets they use in order to load balance. No. Seriously. Plus we touch on the Amazon 1984 ironic mistake of the year.Subscribe now: iTunes (audio) | iTunes (video) | RSS (audio) | RSS (video) EPISODE 1022
Over the weekend, social news site Digg changed how its links work in a way that gives the site an increase in the number of users who visit.
Users of the site's URL-shortening service noticed that if the Web address they had shortened had been submitted to Digg, the shortened URL would then take its visitors to the story's page on Digg instead of the page it linked to. At least it was this way for users who were not logged into Digg; registered users who had turned off the DiggBar (and who had a recent log-in cookie from Digg) would not see the change in behavior.The problem
This may seem like a small change, but it's a big knock on Digg's shortening service, and for Digg's credibility at maintaining features.
Introduced in early April, the DiggBar was originally intended as a service that did three things: one was to shorten links and act as a redirection tool. The second was to bring Digg features along for the ride with a framed bar that would appear on the top of the page and provide a simple way to view user comments, related stories, as well as other Dugg items from that same site. The third was to provide a simpler way for users to publish content, either to Digg itself, or places like Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. This included giving users the capability to shorten a URL by dropping a Digg.com/ in front of the site's address.
Despite the bevvy of features compared to some competing URL-shortening services, both users and publishers alike found fault in the DiggBar. Users had problems with the service since it drastically hid information about the site they were on, including the URL in their browser's address bar, and any bookmarks they saved, which would retain the DiggBar. For publishers, there was the worry that users would choose to comment back on Digg instead of on their own pages, as well as SEO damage from search engines not properly indexing and attributing traffic since Digg.com was the redirector.
Digg's solution, which came just two weeks after the DiggBar launch, was to make the whole DiggBar experience something users had to opt-in to see. This meant that registered users of the site would only see shortened Digg URLs, and the DiggBar by choice. Stray visitors of Digg wouldn't see either.
In effect this left the DiggBar as something power users could take advantage of, but that casual users would never see--reducing the entire DiggBar feature down to URL shortening.
This clearly wasn't good enough for Digg, since this move nets the site more ad impressions and unique user tracks than it would by acting as a redirection service alone. Back when it was originally introduced, the company was able to get by since the DiggBar displayed ads when people were using certain features such as viewing related content, Digg user comments, and other stories from that site's particular source. But, without the DiggBar on top, and without any kind of recognition--other than in name, Digg was getting none of these benefits.
So is Digg's shortening service now just a way to shorten links to Digg.com pages? Digg founder Kevin Rose went on to say as much in a Sunday night appearance on Leo Laporte's This Week in Tech, citing that the company was having to internally juggle certain shortened-URLs that had become popular from outside sources. Particularly, ones from Twitter where the source site would be on the receiving end of an increasing amount of traffic, but because of the lack of a Digg frame bar on the top of the page, it wasn't easy for users to… Read more
The social aggregation service Digg got two changes Tuesday that could make the jobs of Web site marketers better.
First, the company is tweaking its submitted story duplicate checker. As before, Digg blocks re-submissions of the exact same URL within a 30-day window. Now it's also got improved algorithms to identify when a duplicate story is submitted, even if it has a different URL. Furthermore, stories on completely different sites that are the same "or similar" now get flagged as potential duplicates.
Digg has been improving duplicate detection for months, and it's important work. Stories flagged … Read more
Boxee, the open-source software platform that combines Internet media with personal content, announced a slew of updates Tuesday.
Most notably, the company announced that it has made Boxee publicly available to Windows users.
The public alpha version of Boxee for Windows will work with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Users will also be able to run it on Windows Media Center, making it possible to bring Boxee to HDTVs through Microsoft's platform. A beta release of the software should be made available later this year.
MLB comes to Boxee Boxee has also inked a deal with Major … Read more
Sub DiggerPlus is a new tool that lets you more easily view sites your friends have submitted to Digg.com. To use it you just drop in your Digg username and it lists all of the stories your friends have submitted in chronological order over the past 24 hours. You can then sort by topic, submitter, and the number of Diggs each story has. The real fun of the service though, is a feature that lets you hop to each site with back and forth buttons, emulating the feeling of navigating an old Web ring.
Compared to Digg's own … Read more
On Tuesday Digg announced big changes to its API that should make third-party developers happy--and maybe even rich.
The most major one being that the company has let up on its use for commercial applications, meaning that developers will be able to create services that take advantage of Digg's content and community without first having to ask for permission from the company. This includes pulling in content from the service and either charging to do so, or including on-page advertisements--two things which kept application developers from making a profit, or even charging for their creations.
The updated application programming … Read more
Digg unveiled a new ad platform on Wednesday that will give companies an ad medium that looks and feels like user-submitted stories that have been promoted to Digg's front page. Users will be able to Digg up ads they like and "bury" ones they don't using the same voting mechanism used on regular site links.
Partners for the initial roll-out of ads include Electronic Arts and Intel, the latter of which has provided sponsorship on Digg's labs pages as well as advertising on other parts of the site.
Two things make advertised Digg stories different … Read more
The publisher of Federated Media, which sells ads for blogs and social media sites, is leaving to be chief revenue officer at user-based news aggregator Digg.
Chas Edwards, who will officially assume his new role on June 22, had stints in sales and marketing at CNET and TechTV before co-founding Federated Media in 2005 with then-journalist John Battelle of Wired and The Industry Standard renown.
At Digg, Edwards will work on sales and advertising strategy and focus on creating new revenue streams including sponsorships, new ad programs and channels, as well as manage the company's ad relationship with Microsoft, … Read more
"All your networks are belong to us." That could be the tagline for Zensify, a new iPhone app that lets you view, update, and share content from multiple social networks.
In other words, Zensify aims to take the place of standalone apps for the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr--or at least to save you the time of bopping from one to another just to read and post updates.
In addition to those three popular networks, Zensify can connect you with 12seconds, Delicious, Digg, Photobucket, and YouTube. (Support for more services is in the works, according to the … Read more
As more government officials choose to publicly answer questions submitted by Internet users, they're encountering a new phenomenon: marijuana activists intent on forcing answers to the would-you-legalize-pot question.
In March, President Obama's first virtual town hall took a detour when questions about legalizing marijuana were voted to the top of the "financial stability," "jobs," "budget," and (of course) "green jobs" polls on WhiteHouse.gov