Who Says You Can’t Make Money Off Digg Users?

It’s a popularly held belief that a front page Digg means a lot of extra traffic but not a lot of extra income. More than a few bloggers have posted how they got to the front page of Digg, got thousands of Digg users visiting and made zero extra income because not a single user clicked on the Google ads. Sound familiar? Well, I’m here to tell you that is complete hogwash.

Digg user will click on ads when they’re presented with a targeted offering. If you’re not making any money from a front page Digg it’s because your story wasn’t targeted to your advertising. Digg users will click if the ads match the story.

The Digg Coup

Yesterday, Bob Buskirk of Think Computers got his review of the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX 19-inch LCD monitor to the front page of Digg. The Digg effect helped Think Computers pull down 31,000 unique visitors and 50,000 page views in one day. Here is the break down of revenue compared to their average day.

  • Google Adsense: $155.44 / $30 (Average)
  • TTZ Media: $160.50 / $30 (Average)
  • Contexual Ads: $175 / $17 (Average)
  • Tribal Fusion: $37.29 / $7 (Average)
  • Total: $528.23 / $84 (Average)

Still think Digg users don’t click on ads? The numbers would have been better had Think Computers survived the full Digg effect – they went down for two hours after the Digg hit. I’m sure that cost them an extra few hundred dollars.

Study the Think review carefully and note how the TTZ Media and other ads are targeted to the item being reviewed. This was not Bob’s first Digg coup. He’s done quite a few of them. When this blog got its first Digg, it made nothing because the blog had no advertising on it. That figure went over $400 as I started to optimize for it. You can make good money on Digg. You just have to play the game correctly.

65 thoughts on “Who Says You Can’t Make Money Off Digg Users?”

  1. Matt Jones says:

    Digg users are just known to not click on ‘blog about blogging’ ads, but that’s a tech site so it’s not that surprising.

    It’s an impressive figure nonetheless…

    1. Agreed. Diggers are MUCH more inclined to click on tech-related ads.. I doubt many diggers would click on the business ads the appear on my page.. unless they themselves are business owners or in a business-type of job.

    2. Alex says:

      Digg’s nothing. You want hordes of people, a veritable goldmine of untapped potential? Try 4chan.

      Of course, playing with 4chan is like playing with a flaming bag of that may or may not contain poo-covered diamonds. That’s really the only way I can describe it.

      1. Geedos says:

        That may be the only way you can describe it but it’s an inspired description none the less!

        Care to expand on the poo-covered diamonds!?!

        1. Alex says:

          4chan is almost literally the worst site on the internet. It’s an anonymous image board, and a lot of their stuff is pretty funny, but you often see gore, child pornography, and dead kittens thrown in.

          When I say diamonds, I mean that you have thousands and thousands of people on that site, people who may visit your site and click on your links.

          Then again, they’re just as likely to DDoS your site as they are to visit it. It’s a risky game.

          1. Geedos says:

            Blimey! That sounds shocking and it’s certainly enough to put me off from ever visiting it. Now I see what you mean.

    3. I don’t know about that, one of my posts recently hit the front page of Digg and I sent a couple hundred of those visitors to my affiliate offers. Try tweaking the presentation or the placement or something.

  2. Mick says:

    You are 100% correct. Digg has given me a lot of extra cash! :mrgreen:

    1. Jack Book says:

      and now, they got johnchow effect! 🙂

  3. This was another inspirational post. Optimization is key. John, do you think metablog sites can make money from AdSense?

  4. I wonder what the Digg effect would be to the RSS Subscribers count.

    1. shaun says:

      the digg effect would greatly increase your rss subscribers

    2. Geedos says:

      I find that RSS subscriptions jump through the roof but then fall back to more normal levels quite quickly – the effect mirrors the traffic spike to your blog. Only my personal experience though.

      1. Geedos, I’ve had the same experience. My subscriber count doubled and then dropped back down the day after that. It did however drop down to a higher level overall than it had been though.

  5. Jason says:

    ok, thanks for tips for how to optimize ads when we are on digg front page.

    What’s about how to get digg front page? 😈

    1. yeah exactly, thats what I want to know. How about telling us John? :mrgreen:

  6. KingJacob says:

    The ultimate goal in monetization is If you monetize properly most of the time people click on “ads” they wont realize it and if they do they’ll be glad you referred them to the product.

  7. The comments are correct…Digg is mostly for humor and tech news. I wonder what’s the Digg equivalent for money/finance related sites? Any clue?
    -Raymond (MONEY BLUE BOOK)

    1. KingJacob says:

      They’ll also digg political stories as long as its neither pro-republican or pro-democrat. And Alternative energy stories.

      Raymond, have you tried feedthebull.com its kinda digg for finance sites only.

    2. Have you even been to digg? There’s a whole section dedicated to business/finance. In fact, it’s even easier to get things to the front page from there than other sections. If you haven’t had success with it that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. 🙄

    3. Robert says:

      There is also the new FinanceFavorites.com site for finance related stuff.

  8. HMTKSteve says:


    You are going to ruin it for the rest of us! Diggers are known for not clicking on ads but I have managed to pull down a few hundred dollars from a front page digg story. A large number of digg users do block ads (mostly adsense) but when the content is designed to make somebody buy something (a review with proper advertising links) then yes, you can make a boatload off of digg.

    The thing is that most blog content that ends up on digg is not properly optimized. You find the google ads often have nothing to do with the post i.e “win a free laptop!” on a post about lolcats.

    Product reviews are always the exception when you build the post specificaly to funnel traffic through an aff link or an advertiser that matches the product.

  9. HMTKSteve says:

    After looking at his post I’d be willing to bet most of the AdSense came from the ads to the right of the two images above the content.

    1. HMTKSteve says:

      Now that I have read the article I have to say… Where is the content? He doesn’t review the monitor at all! He’s just saying, “Hey, check it out, I got an LCD monitor with a USB connector on it! Look at the box!”

      1. I am not sure if you read the review, but there is a review (under all the ads) which kinda explain how it comes, how it is packet, what are the benefits and the difference between this monitor and others.

        Anyway it is more than reasonable that targeted ads will bring more revenue, but to be honest, i am surprised about the earnings of adsense (would of expected more with that traffic) but considering he used more revenue resources it justifies all. The TTZ Media is what i am interested into, i have launched a tech related site but yet doesn’t have the traffic that is required to apply for. I think i will wait a little longer until i grows in content and in traffic too.

  10. DeboHobo says:

    I can’t say that I’ve ever been Dugg, Digged? But I do know that it make sense that the ads need to match the content in order to get the clicks. Now if onl I could catch the Digg wave. 👿

    1. It’s not just a case of ads matching content, but content+ads matching something that would appeal to your average Digger. I think the key here is that Make Monney Online ads/blogs don’t appeal to digg users.

      1. Geedos says:

        Yeah you’re right – it’s easy to match ads and content but if your blog is not entertainment or tech based it’s more difficult to attract Digg users in numbers.

  11. Kiltak says:

    I had a review on a Samsung 32″ HD LCD screen promoted to the front page.. it stayed there for 45 minutes before being burried..

    in 45 minutes, I made 40$ via Chitika.. If the story would have stayed there, I probably would have made around 400$ in the next 2-3 days.. but hey, $40 is better than nothing, and I still get residual income from selling 4-5 TV per month on amazon..

    Oh and john, yes you can make money out of Amazon.com.. In average, I make around 35 to 40$ per TV I sell.. My Amazon.com check will be near $200 this month, and that’s for putting a single text link inside a paragraph. 😎

  12. Digg concept is amazing and it works well, I use it all the time and have been since the day one. However getting yourself on the front page is not an easy task. I have tried in the past but it never worked. Hope Kevin Rose and Co. is making some decent cash from the site, because they got some serious traffic on it.

  13. Saku says:

    Wow 500 bucks in one day is a lot of green ones. Are there any tips besides writing a cool article how to get it to the front page?

  14. I would love to see an article explaining the secrets of getting dugg? Since Digg is predominately tech-related… it’s hard to gain immense popularity on a site that is anything other than that or general humor.

    1. HMTKSteve says:

      Read the social bookmarking section on my blog.

  15. While some Digg users wont click, it is obvious from this that many will…

  16. Michele says:

    It’s nice to see that someone is indeed making money from a huge Digg-driven traffic surge. I do question the images next to the Google ad, the pairing of images with the ads does seem to improve clicks, but is against G’s TOS.

  17. jason m says:

    You know, I’ve been under this impression that everything needs to be powered by WordPress. But it appears Think Computers is powered by an old school CMS like php-nuke, etc. And it actually works for them. It’s kinda refreshing to visit a site that’s not a “yet another wordpress blog” site.

    1. Bob Buskirk says:

      haha, thanks….people give me shit all the time about why I’m not on a cms like wordpress!

  18. Hip Hop says:

    I tried joining one of those get paid to digg sites, wasn’t that great..

    1. ashxx says:

      its not worth it… if your articles naturally not going to get dugg than pay per digg isnt going to help

      1. I think they meant the sites that pay you to digg articles. SubvertandProfit is the one that jumps to mind first but I’m sure there are others.

        And actually, there have been several case studies that have shown you can buy your way to the front page of digg and even remain there for quite a while.

  19. I never thought Digg was predominately Tech related, I’ve seen all kinds of stuff on there.

    1. Robert says:

      The content may not be largely tech related, but the readers certainly are, and as such they tend to either ignore regular ads or have ad blockers, such as the one for firefox that completely removes ads from the page.

  20. Click Input says:

    That’s one example, on the other hand I’ve had lots of diggs myself on sites and not made much more… a bit, but not much.

  21. Michael Kwan says:

    Wow, that review was very well written… let’s have a look at the byline on ThinkComputers. 😆

  22. max says:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t mind making extra money for digging… Although I think digg is really good for SEO, not necessarily for selling anything…

  23. ashxx says:

    -That is very impressive.. I myself have made some goody money from digg users, I made $50 on adsense with my first front page digg and that was when I was averaging a dollar a day

    1. Geedos says:

      Wow – thats quite a hike and really shows the power of the digg front page – the holy grail of traffic spikes!

  24. Jamie says:

    I read Digg on a daily basis and an article like this is something that I’d probably just pass right over. So imagine the numbers on an article that didn’t only appeal to a select niche. While Digg is predominantly visited by tech-savvy individuals, it doesn’t mean that the tech-savvy are interested in only technology related posts.

  25. CatherineL says:

    So – are all front page digg posters just there because they work in these groups, or are some of the digg articles genuine? Did you not get banned from digg John? What did you do to get banned? Was it worth it?

    1. Geedos says:

      I think by the time an article hits the front page of Digg it’s certainly genuine simply because of the large numbers involved to get to the front page. It’d be very difficult, time consuming and too much effort to do it any other way.

      It’s a bit chicken and egg – once you get onto the front page then the exposure level of just being there and the fact that a lot of people have already (and visibly) dugg the article will drive a much greater number of people to do the same.

      John has shown in the past though that giving articles a little push to begin with can help out intially however.

  26. digg provides good traffic for your website

  27. I’m sure there is a lot of good that can come from getting on the front page of digg, whether it be cash, or RSS subscribers, it’s getting to the front page that might take some work.

  28. 31,000 unique visitors and 50,000 page views in one day that’s so crazy!

    1. Click Input says:

      Yeah, it can be hard for servers to handle that sort of traffic that quickly.

      1. Geedos says:

        More often than not the “digg effect” is a blank screen and no server – infact, I think it’s legendary isn’t it?

  29. NothingMan says:

    No Diggs for me, I’m new this blogstuff 🙄
    I love it when you show any kind of stats like this though. It’s always nice to get guages of what a successful site can do for motivational purposes.

  30. Wahlau.NET says:

    does he hire someone to digg his post?

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  32. Jeez, 30k visitors in one day! Thats how much I’ve had in 6 months!!!

    You really are the master of the CPM. I don’t know anyone else who could make that much money off fickle digg users…

  33. Very interesting:)
    Busts a few myths that you hear on a lot of SEM forums and blogs. Good to see a real case study and some techniques that can be used.

  34. OK, but which social network is the best: Digg, ReddIt, MaGnolia…?
    And whose front page is the easiest to get on?

  35. I haven’t been digged on any of my sites yet, but now that my server transfer has been completed I think my sites would be able to handle the traffic surge if it were to come.

    I think what everyone has said is right though, I’d love to see someone try and make money off of digg users when it wasn’t something tech related.

  36. It’s getting harder to get on the digg homepage – 99% of the stuff there these days seems to be open source or Apple articles 🙁

  37. it’s hard to get to the front page i think i will never make it 😥

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