Dear Digg, here’s how to get people to STFU about the DiggBar

Dear Digg,

I think you’re missing the point of the uproar over the DiggBar. It isn’t about SEO or search engine ‘juice’ or 3rd-party traffic stats or even about the structure of the web, it’s about control. Publishers like to know they at least have the option to be in control of how a visitor interacts with their site, and you have ignored that need.gruberdigg

Personally, I feel you’re perfectly within your rights as a driver of traffic to do whatever you want with your outbound links. And publishers, like John Gruber, are perfectly within their rights to do whatever they want to visitors from your pages. But, why do you guys have to fight about it? Do you hear any similar outcry over Facebook’s ‘action bar’, which arguably intercepts a lot more overall traffic than the DiggBar ever will? I haven’t, and I think it’s simply because from the start they have given publishers a simple way to opt-out.

From the Facebook Share Partners page (click ‘What is the blue bar that appears over my webpage? Is there a way to prevent it from appearing?’):

When someone clicks on your shared item, they are redirected to your page, and a small action bar is added above your site. The action bar promotes further sharing so that more people can see your content If you would like to disable this feature, simply add this code to your web page:

  <script type=”text/javascript”>
    if (top.location != location) {
     top.location.href = document.location.href;
    }
  </script>

Is anyone actually using this? Probably not. Would most publishers want to block the DiggBar? I highly doubt it. As TechCrunch implies, traffic is still king for most publishers:

If the Diggbar can [drive a 20% boost in traffic] consistently going forward, nobody is going to be complaining about it anymore—even if URL shorteners are still evil.

Those publishers who have different priorities, as is their right, *will* find ways to block the DiggBar, which in this case results in a crappy experience for visitors coming from your site. But if you were to officially support opt-out on a per site basis (a la Facebook), publishers could could control their sites as they wish without the end-user experience having to suffer for the sake of an argument most of them don’t understand or care about.

Love,
-jonathan

Disclosure: I run a publisher services company building a product that happens to shorten URLs. For the record, I don’t think URL shorteners are evil, just misunderstood 🙂

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