Lots of people seem to be upset this week by the idea of a website blocking certain user groups. I’m a firm believer that you can block anybody you want from accessing your website, just the same as a shop keeper should have the right to stop gangs of teenagers entering just to cause trouble.
We live in a free world and if people don’t want traffic from Google or social news websites then they are free to implement methods to block it and the Internet won’t be a worse place because of it.
However in my opinion blocking users from social news sites is a bad idea, here’s why:
Digg users are very vocal
Nothing gets feedback to a new website, service or article as quickly as hitting the Digg homepage. Within 24 hours you can have enough negative feedback to expose 90% of potential problems and, with the help of your programmer or writer, you can make quick decisions to improve your site in the long term.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a genuinely useful website being praised and hit with tens of thousands of new visitors. Good content should be rewarded and what better way than when Digg users vote with their feet.
Getting 10,000 new visitors to an offline shop is almost impossible. In the last few years it has become possible for new services to have upwards of 50,000 new visitors within 24 hours thanks to the major social news sites.
This is groundbreaking and has changed the internet for ever. Offline and online advertising cannot compete with the sheer volume of traffic sites like Digg send.
The ad click model is dead
Let’s face it, if your entire business model is based on the hope that people will click on ads you are on shaky ground. Any site that gets paid when people leave is bound to put ads where content should go and will lose credibility in the long term.
Digg users are just different
Webmasters need to understand that Digg users are different to most other internet users. They consume vast amounts of content every day and use RSS and other tools to get the content they want in the format they want. Digg users don’t go around buying things and clicking ads on every website they see for the simple reason they know how to find products for themselves without being forced into it.