The social news site Digg (whose CEO is a past Venture Voice guest) recently had a user revolt after it gave in to the demand of a cease and desist letter and blocked a posting. The users voted stories up to the main page of Digg that criticized Digg. It was viewed as a big negative at the time, and journalists are still reveling in the site’s supposed hardship with headlines like Digg Flap Exposes Cracks.
This was, of course, reminiscent of a user revolt that Facebook had last September after they released a news feed showing users recent updates their friends made. Facebookers took action “against” Facebook by creating Facebook groups criticizing the new features.
Revolts are usually bad for those being targeted. So Facebook and Digg must be suffering, right? Facebook’s traffic has climbed since the September incident, and as much as people have criticized Digg, no one’s talked about leaving it. So what’s going on?
In the good old days of the Internet, when customers were unhappy with a company, they registered [thatcompany’sname]suck.com (e.g. PayPalSucks.com, Starbucked.com and AOLwatch.org). The offended companies had no control over the revolt, and the revolutionaries fought for their side till the death (it’s hard to change your position on a service once you’ve spent the then $70 on a …sucks.com domain name).
In the case of Facebook and Digg, the users are using the platform of their enemy to rebel. In the process, the companies are actually getting more page views which they can convert to revenue through advertising! Then all the company has to do is say “I’m sorry” and users are happy again. And there’s no legal action to be taken against a …sucks.com site that will forever haunt your Google search results.
If these were really revolts, then the CEOs of all social networking sites should say “Viva La Revolution!”