I’m going to go out on a limb and say something which is going to be very unpopular. Digg, as an entity, is a gigantic hypocrisy. There. I’ve said it. Want me to prove it? Here goes.
By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree not to use the Services:
9. with the intention of artificially inflating or altering the ‘digg count’, comments, or any other Digg service, including by way of creating separate user accounts for the purpose of artificially altering Digg’s services; giving or receiving money or other remuneration in exchange for votes; or participating in any other organized effort that in any way artificially alters the results of Digg’s services;
Right there, they make it very clear – do not, under any circumstances, try to inflate your digg count. The most common manifestation of this sort of thing would be to mass email everyone you know to go digg your story. This is where I take exception.
First, if all of those people already have a Digg account, what have you done wrong exactly? I completely agree that if you are soliciting people to go create accounts with the sole intent of digging your story that you are in the wrong. What if all of those people already have Digg accounts? How is letting people know, via email, that you have written something of note, and asked them to vote on it?
Second, what if you are at a big company, like I am, and send email to the bulk of your social network. Microsoft is a city unto itself, with the main campus encompassing close to 100 buildings and 90,000 employees worldwide. If that is your social circle, that’s who you would tell, right? But that would get you banned, and most probably would get the top level domain (in this case microsoft.com) banned as well. Why?
You see, the hypocrisy is that Digg wants, and in fact profits from, the pervasiveness of the Digg widgets, and they are OK with you having them on your posting. What they are not OK with is you somehow marshalling your tribe via email, versus your RSS feed. My guess is that they view this as an implicit ask to digg versus an explicit ask. Regardless of how you look at it, you are in fact breaking the TOU by having that link there. Whether you broadcast via email or RSS, what’s the difference? You are asking for Digg votes.
I would love for someone to poke a hole in my argument and tell me I am wrong. A well reasoned argument is far preferable to “it’s just not the same dude.”