Digg is drowning under its own comment system

  • 0
  • August 7, 2007
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Most people know that Digg has recently had a redesign of the comments system. The new system uses AJAX calls to load comments in each thread from the server when the user requests it.

As you can see from the screenshot below a user now has to click a link to expand each comment thread.

Digg comments system

There are two major issues with this system. The first is that search engines can’t use AJAX to load the content asynchronously within the page so the main story pages such as this one have much less text on them as you can see from the Google cache.

Digg has a lot of pages with very little content (think of all the submissions with no comments) so removing user generated comments from its pages is a bad move.

The second issue, and the one that causes the biggest problem, is that for every comment thread Digg has created a separate page using a “t” parameter. If the page has 50 comments each with its own thread you get 50 separate pages.

Checking our example page again reveals that this one story has spawned over 100 pages each with hardly any content.

You might think this is a small problem but with millions of stories suddenly turning into 100’s of millions of stories its going to become a much bigger issue and quickly.

Why Digg should worry

Digg can no doubt survive quite happily with this issue so its unlikely Kevin will even bother to think about it, just like when he didn’t bother with this tip.

However, Digg receives a lot of very lucrative traffic from Google (by lucrative I mean users that don’t block ads like the majority of real Digg users) so if they were to lose this traffic it could make a fairly big impact on the bottom line.

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