Digg released their iframe based software toolbar (DiggBar) this past week and I’ve been trying to educate both users and publishers as to why frames are a very bad idea. From a publisher’s standpoint, the framing of one’s website by another is considered both unethical and illegal. It effectively steals content, traffic, and potential revenue from the original content owner. From a user’s point of view, the initial attraction to these new framing toolbars (i.e. HootSuite, Krumlr, DiggBar, Facebook) is their ease of use and ability to shorten URLs for use on Twitter.
What most users fail to understand is that, as this frame spamming technique is adopted by others, it will clutter websites to the point at which content across the web is nullified. This is exactly what happened in the late 1990′s and why, in addition to the infringement upon publishers copyrights and subsequent lawsuits, the trend didn’t last. History indeed appears to be repeating itself only this time the perpetrators of this scheme are tempting users by repackaging their frames as services and calming publishers’ worries with promises of more visitor traffic.
While the The New York Times (broken DiggBar) and a few other well known publishers have implemented scripts to break out the imposed frames made by the DiggBar, many others like TechCrunch and Mashable have not. It is my assertion that publishers are not blocking the applied frames because they truly believe that the frames may result in higher traffic returns. In contrast to this belief, I submit to you that one may improve his/her own traffic stats by blocking these frames.
3 Ways A Broken DiggBar Leads To Better Traffic Stats
1. Greater Length Of Stay – As the DiggBar user navigates from one dugg site to yours, the DiggBar is broken requiring the visitor to actually consider the content instead of merely passing it by or quickly digging it for a friend and leaving.
2. More Pageviews – The chances of the Digg user remaining on your site and viewing other content without the frame lurking to whisk them away is increased. The ability to Digg is not diminished as most publishers already host Digg and other social media bookmarklets/buttons on their webpages. Furthermore most users already have their own browser based Digg toolbars and bookmarks to Digg-up and share great content.
3. Better SERP Rankings – With the DiggBar blocked, shortened Digg links that are created for your site will not be indexed by Google or other search engines. This is obviously not an issue for websites with medium to high PageRank value. However, if you have a new website, or one with very little to no PageRank, this should help prevent Digg’s numerous links/pages from pushing your listing further down the SERP. Despite Digg’s denial, you can see for yourself that Digg’s shortened URLs are/were indeed being indexed by Google and serve to feed Digg even greater loads of traffic at publishers’ expense.
I understand that some people may assert that by allowing the DiggBar to frame your website you encourage more digging and possibly more traffic as it conceivably lowers the difficulty associated with sharing content. However, I can attest first hand that it does not; I have actually received more Diggs with the frame-breaking script in place than I did when the script was not applied. Breaking the DiggBar and other frame based toolbars does not discourage visitors from digging, stumbling, or sharing content whatsoever. With that said I encourage you to add frame breaking script below to your website (place between < head > and < / head > tags), question and test my assertion that doing so actually improves your website’s traffic statistics, and enjoy the satisfaction of sticking it to Digg and all the other content thieves.
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