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A look at Digg. Shouldn’t we Pinoys have a digg site as well?

Digg 3.0 was launched last night.  To those who are unaware about Digg, it a user-driven social content website. where everything on digg is submitted by the user community. Other digg users read the submission and they “digg” (i.e., vote on) what they like best. If your story receives enough diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the millions of digg visitors to see.

This is not a review of Digg.  I know that there are many Digg evangelists out there who defend (or oppose) Kevin Rose’s baby with the same zeal as they are with Microsoft and Apple.  Lets me just say that the new version of Digg achieves what it was sent out to do, which would be to aggregate news articles and present it according to what the public perceives as news-worthy.

The vision of Digg is so simple that it is a wonder why traditional news sites never thought of it in the first place.  I guess it was arrogance on their side, thinking that they could dictate news-worthiness as long as they have the best journalists, the best writers, and a captured audience.  It’s true that wisdom begins by admitting what you don’t know, and the creators of Digg probably realized that news-worthiness is not dicatated by a handful of people, but by the so-called “wisdom of crowds.”

Now I have a concern about this “wisdom of crowds” concept.  What is considered news-worthy by the majority may not necessarily appeal to me.   Looking at the top Dugg stories for this week alone, here are what Diggers consider as the most news-worthy articles:

  • Digg version 3.0 launched (naturally)
  • Warren Buffet donates $44 billion to Bill Gates’ foundation (I don’t care unless the money finds its way to the Philippines)
  • Scientology (I really don’t care about Tom Cruise’s so-called religion)
  • Go Daddy’s mistake (I also don’t care about Go Daddy)
  • Rubik’s cube solved by Robot (There are still people who can’t figure out the solution?)
  • A video of an F-22 going vertical (Cool, but again, what do I care?)
  • Amazing photos of a bedroom decorated to look like Super Mario World (strange but again, what do I care?)
  • Digg version 3.0 with a Right Hand menu (so what?)
  • Circuit City will have a July 4th sale (no Circuit City in Philippines)
  • An IQ test (this was interesting and hence I dugg; I am a sucker for IQ quizzes)
  • PS3 controller (am not a die-hard gamer)
  • Ipod factory in China may be breaking the law (I found this VERY relevant, given that Western companies offshore their processes to Philippines)

Obviously, many stories are important only to Westerners.  Warren Buffet, Scientology, and Go-Daddy would probably be of interest only to a limited few.  Many articles will probably have zero relevance to the average Pinoy.  And many are definitely irrelevant to me. 

And this is where Netscape’s Digg clone and even the Philippines’ own oks.ph are missing the boat.  It’s not about aggregating the news.  It’s not just about people casting their vote. It’s about presenting the news which are news-worthy to the individual.  Mainly, ME!  I am a Pinoy with my own Pinoy interests.  There is indeed a deluge of data and information out there, and the designers and programmers have to figure out a way to sift through all the noise and junk and create a system where the user decides what is news-worthy.  It is the same way that Google bested Yahoo, Lycos, and other struggling search engines by developing an algorithm to display the most relevant search results.   

As a news aggregator, Oks.ph looked like it was in the right direction.  And up to today I still subscribe to its RSS feed.  But oks.ph suffered from lack of features, stagnation, and uni-dimensional thinking.  Plus possibly poor marketing.  And also a lack of incentive, which I’ll deal with later. Oks.ph has to go beyond simple voting if its “oks” or “not oks.”  It should plagarize Digg’s concept of “front page news” and collaboration.  There is a potential for a lot of superficial and trivial news.  I, for one, don’t really care about Pinoy Big Brother or Friends are friends because they share common interests and beliefs, and it would be nice to see what my friends voted as “oks.”  Digg was able to recognize this and add this as a feature in version 3.0.  I have added a few bloggers to my Digg friends list, just to see what interests them.  If it interests them, then it must be interesting to me. 

But I can understand why oks.ph stagnated, and my guess would be its lack of a revenue model.  Bragging rights can only get you so far.  The main drivers of revenue for the internet, aside from the obvious e-commerce, are advertisements.  In the Philippines, this is one untapped market.  Only Friendster, through its FADs, seems to be doing this.  It would be interesting if Google Philippines can entice Philippine entrepreneurs to signup for Adsense, and I bet they will if Google can ensure that only ads of Philippine companies are displayed to the Pinoys surfing locally.  Using Acmetech’s Adsense tool, you can view what Google ads will appear, and the majority of ads are on phone cards, cheap travel to Philippines, GSM phones sold abroad, and date sites.  Not exactly the items that will entice an ordinary net surfer.

I personally wish we had a Philippine “digg” site.  Imagine the potential for actually aggregating all our complaints about PLDT’s customer service or our feedback on Smart’s WiFi offerings.  Do people really care about Arroyo’s policies?  Or about the Cha-cha?  Or about her stomach ailment?  It’ll be interesting to find out what Pinoys consider as news-worthy.

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  • someone posted this on my tagboad a few months ago…


  • oks.ph ganito ba? tama ba ang address

  • I’d like to see a Philippine digg. The local MSM needs a hard kick in the ass.

  • A Pinoy version of Digg is okay, but marketing the site to internet users is difficult. As most internet users in the Philippines are probably students who play a lot of online games. Thus, a Pinoy Digg website, will only cater to the whims of students and young white collar workers.

    Getting businessmen, politicians, lawyers, doctors and other major decision-makers in the country to join a social community site is also daunting, since they just probably use the internet to answer their emails.

    It may be more effective if the community website network can access mobile phones using SMS, since more Pinoys own and use a cellphone than a computer. Then again, the populace need some coaxing in answering random text messages composed of polls and opinion surveys.

  • Re: “Google Philippines” – there is no such company (besides the website). I don’t think they have been able to fill in the position.

    Even if they do – are they willing to adopt a prepaid or phone-based charging model and not just credit cards?

  • Hmm . . . I recall Google having some sort of marketing office here. I may be mistaken.

  • lightbox at digg, did anyone notice..?

  • I guess nobody passed their notorious hiring process.

  • There is one. Check out http://www.balitabalita.com

  • balitabalita.com is something that is similar to digg, however, it feels more like of a pinoy flavored ice cream, not an original concept and eventhough seems like a “franchise” (of some sort, powered by crispynews BTW), still serves its purpose, and work like how digg works..

  • ia

    “Please follow a few simple guidelines to make pligg a better place:”

    Have you guys noticed this on Kablogs? 🙂

    Anyway, I think things are different everytime when we apply techniques and technologies to the Philippines. Sometimes you’ll even regret cool things become “mainstream” or widespread here because of the way they’re implemented.

  • I also saw “Please follow a few simple guidelines to make pligg a better place:”

    I tested pligg but there’s just too many bugs right now.

    If anyone wants to work on a Pinoy “digg”, I’m open. I can host. I also own the domain pinoyalicious.com.

  • hey bloggementarist, wrencelot, or whatever your name is, you’re at balitabalita.com

  • o nga eh, it already scored me 10 new registrants kesa nung binigyan ako ng friendster worth P1000 of free advertisements.. baka pag nagtuloy tuloy yan makita mo nko sa tv, wahehehehehe..

  • i thought ptb was pinoy’s digg site.
    this is the perfect site for sharing news worthy.

    no diggity!

  • bloggementarist,
    why don’t u open your blog to comments so you can see how people really think of your project?

  • anyway, just out of curiousity, I placed balitabalita.com at Digg. Lets see how it fares…

  • umm, I didn’t know oKs! is similar to Netscape’s or NewsVine’s or this or that, I use too many of these social-news-voting sites.

    I’ve seen oKs launching but never knew what it is about back then, I easily understood Newsvine, digg, netvouz, gravee, scuttle, etc.

    Now let me give a try to oKs for the third time. :p

  • ikabon:
    just let us know if there’s something newsworthy and we’ll see if it’s worth posting.

  • ok.

  • honga noh bakit ganun ung hane.ph ngayon, naka lock na nga, parang naka executive order sha bawalang freedom, hehehe

  • Shame PLUG…Support my site.

    Post your Digg Article to http://www.KABLOGS.com under Technology..

  • icy

    check out okpare.com

  • I think I have the answer for you regarding the Digg for the Philippines.

    Philippines News Vote

    It’s heavily moderated so spammers and stuff that’s not Philippines-related get taken out.

  • Ibi

    there’s also a digg-like Pinoy site called Padayon.com

  • PG

    Have you seen Pinoy Globe? http://www.pinoyglobe.com