January 25th, 2006
Tech-Recipes has had the privilege of being placed on the front page of digg and the shoutwire-related pages several times now. It is always a thrill and honor to experience the massive traffic effects of being highlighted on these sites. Our sites have generally tolerated the traffic very well, and many people have contacted me regarding these experiences. I have written about the unique nature of digg traffic in the past–Digg Effect: The Top 10 Things Webmasters Should Know. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to contrast and compare the traffic effects of these two very popular sites.
1. The Shoutwire Effect can be as big as the Digg Effect. For many years now, people have feared the slashdot effect . This is basically the overwhelming deluge of traffic that a site gets when posted on the front page of slashdot. With the recent climb in popularity, the “digg effect” frequently knocks servers down as well. Shoutwire traffic (or at risk of coining a new term, the “shout effect”) will throw just as many hits onto a site as digg. However, this traffic is not as intense.
The digg effect peaks within a couple of hours. The shout effect plateaus over about half of a day. The net effect is about the same amount of traffic; however, since the shout traffic is more spread out, servers seem to tolerate it better. Overall bandwidth requirements are similar between the two.
2. Shoutwire traffic clicks rarely clicks on ads. So all you freaking scamming webmasters, quit posting your crap trying to make a quick buck! Just like digg, shoutwire traffic visits and leaves without clicking on ads. You are more likely to owe money paying for extra bandwidth than to actually make a profit on your post… so please stop!
3. Being on shoutwire can get you the same amount of traffic as being on digg. It is a common belief that being highlighted on digg will lead to much more traffic that being on shoutwire. In many cases this is not true. As mentioned above, the digg traffic is so dense and sudden, a server really feels the strain. However, the more steady shout traffic ends up yielding a similar amount of traffic. Here’s another way to look at it: digg has more users than shoutwire; however, an article on digg stays on the front page a shorter amount of time than shoutwire. Here are the stats from one of our tutorials that was on both digg and shoutwire:
4. While Digg is solo, Shoutwire is a multi-headed hydra. When digg is slamming your site, all the traffic is coming from digg. If you want to throttle it, it is easily done. However, shoutwire traffic comes from multiple sites: Shoutwire.com, torrentspy.com, ircspy.com, packetnews.com. In reality, most of the traffic really comes from shoutwire and torrentspy. From a theoretical SEO standpoint, being on multiple sites might be better.
5. Articles hitting the front page of shoutwire are more varied than those on digg. Digg users pride themselves on just promoting technology related articles. Shoutwire users have a tendency to promote interesting news of a much wider variety. Both sites hate the “blog bounce” which is when a user submits a link to his blog post which in turn just links to the main article. “Blog bounces” never get promoted to the main page on either site.
6. Shoutwire’s abuse protection is more robust than digg’s. Shoutwire prevents multiple shouts on an article from a single IP address. This prevents one user with multiple accounts from promoting the same article over and over. Likely, soon digg will improve its abuse protection as well, but for now, Shoutwire’s is more impressive.
7. Shoutwire traffic does not generate new users, comments, or posts. Just like digg, shoutwire brings “drive-by” traffic. They come, they look, they leave. In google analytics, this is called bounce traffic. They bounce in and out. When compared to traffic from search engines, users from these sites are much less likely to participate in the site’s community. If you think about it, this makes sense. People are visiting torrentspy and just surfing through the shoutwire links as they wait for their torrent to download. In contrast, google traffic are focused visitors who are actively searching for the information on your site.
8. Shoutwire visitors are more likely to use alexa than digg users. We have shown previously that digg does not greatly influence alexa ranking. In contrast, being highlighted on the shoutwire suite of sites seems to give you an alexa bump. This is likely because more shoutwire users than digg users use IE and the alexa plug-in.
Now, before you slam me, this is not placebo-controlled, double-blinded, scientific research here. I am comparing the characteristics from the shoutwire sites to digg. These were different articles posted at different times so there could be other variables in play. However, I believe this is one of the first comparisons between these two very cool and innovative sites.
Hopefully this information will help you as webmasters better prepare for getting your site on the shoutwire sites. Personally, I hope our research will stress to those self-promoting, spamming webmasters that sites such as shoutwire and digg will use up your bandwidth without increasing your ad-clicks.