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Digg Steals Google Exec As New VP Product: Welcome, Keval Desai!

Keval Desai

From TechCrunch:

“Digg has poached Keval Desai away from Google as their new Vice President of Product, we’ve confirmed from the company. Desai’s last day at Google is today.

“Desai is a long time Google employee, first joining the company in 2003. He’s currently their Director of Product Management and has led development of product/businesses in Google’s advertising business (including AdWords, Syndication & TV Ads).”

Digg Ads: Positive Early Results, Plans for Syndicated Revenue Platform

We spoke to a handful of journalists this week about the early results from , the ad units that let marketers promote their own content on Digg’s homepage, and let Digg readers Digg up the ads they like (and bury ones they don’t).

Digg Ads Screenshot

“Since Digg Ads started in August, with advertisers such as Intel, Amazon, Toyota and Threadless on board, the average campaign gets a 1% click-through rate, and popular ones more than double that…. Unlike traditional online campaigns that send consumers to corporate sites, some of the best-performing Digg Ads instead link to news stories and blog posts. Toyota, for example, used an ad to promote an article on How Stuff Works, where a Prius display ad ran. And the ability to vote ads up or down gives marketers feedback on what consumers thought of the campaign.”

NY Times: .

Adweek: .

Mediapost: .


iMediaConnection: .

PaidContent: .

EConsultancy: .

Direct Traffic Media: .

Mediabistro’s Bay Newser: .

Digg Ads: It’s Just the Beginning

As some of you may know, Digg Ads is now officially open for business.

Digg Ads are the ad units that let marketers promote their own content on Digg’s homepage, and let Digg readers Digg up the ads they like (and bury ones they don’t). So far, we’ve received positive feedback from the Digg community on this new approach to advertising.

Digg Ad for Ford Mustang

We’re very excited about this at Digg, and not because we’ve found a few extra pixels to sell to advertisers but because Digg Ads is our first step in the direction of helping marketers speak to the Digg community in the local language of Digg. Nearly forty million people visit Digg each month (17.4MM US visitors, per Comscore) because they want to discover new content that’s been vetted by the rest of the community. Yellow boxes with numbers in them are an indication that the content on the other end of the blue link is interesting, important or funny to other Diggers.

As marketers perfect their skills as web publishers and invest more aggressively in content creation — content about their products and services, as well as general content that might be useful to their customers — it creates an opportunity for better advertising experiences: ads we don’t feel the need to block, skip or ignore. Digg Ads, we hope, will give those marketers a real-world proving ground — a place to measure their success in making content that’s relevant to their customers. And it will give Digg readers a feedback mechanism to make the ads (and the content promoted in those ads) better over time.

If we can help brands learn the native language spoken at Digg, the better the odds that advertisers and Diggers can get to know each other and have a constructive, two-way conversation.

More updates and announcements around Digg Ads coming soon.

Budweiser Leaderboard that Pours into a Skyscraper

I know this concept isn’t brand new (can anyone help me track down those Zippo lighter ads where the flame in one banner heats up the scene in the other?), but I love it every time I see it: Coordinated banner ads in which animation in one triggers animation in the other. In this case, a horizontal bottle of Budweiser American Ale pours itself into a waiting pint glass in a 300×600 unit.

Coordinated Banner Ads for Bud

Extra credit (in my book!) that Bud is running this campaign on Digg.

Digg's Jay Adelson Answers 3 Questions from SF Chronicle

Jay Adelson

Jay (my boss) talks to the Chron about the Digg algorithm, Digg Ads and the expansion of our direct sales efforts.

Digg Ads Named by Business Insider as Top 10 Advertising Innovation

Digg Ads Image from TBI

From The Business Insider :

“That’s a bit Silicon Valley hippy-dippy for most consumers-will-get-their-huge-ads-and-like-it East Coasters, but let’s admit: Voting sure beats the ‘click’ as far measuring how an audience is engaging with an ad, doesn’t it?”

Thank you, Business Insider?

Tim Geithner Takes Questions from Digg Audience and WSJ's Alan Murray

Tim Geithner

From WSJ’s Real Time Economics blog:

“Geithner has been at the center of the government’s response to the crisis since it first erupted. First, as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, he acted as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s right-hand man and representative to Wall Street during an unprecedented intervention by the central bank. Last year, President Barack Obama appointed him to lead the Treasury Department, and he has been the administration’s point man on the economy.

“The Journal is partnering with Digg as part of the Web site’s Digg Dialogg series. Members of the Digg community will be able to submit and vote up questions that will be presented to the Treasury secretary.”

Ask a question here.

Digg Dialogg Logo

Digg-able Digg Ads Roll Out in Beta

From Mike’s post on the :

“A recap of how it works: your Diggs, buries and clicks influence a quality score that determines how often the ad gets displayed, and ultimately how much the advertiser pays per click. The more you Digg an ad, the less the advertiser will have to pay; the more an ad is buried, the more the advertiser is charged, eventually pricing it out of the system. The success of this system depends on your participation and feedback, as it will help advertisers to create the best possible experience for the Digg community. Our goal with Digg Ads is to encourage advertisers to create content as compelling as organic Digg stories, and to give you more control over which ads you see on Digg.”

Digg Ads Beta

From VentureBeat’s coverage:

“Digg, the super-popular but still not-profitable news aggregator, announced today that it’s starting to roll out the vote-on-ads system that it announced in June. On Digg, users vote news stories up or down — and with the Digg Ads program, they’ll be able to do the same with advertising. Those ads show up in the stream of news stories (they’re labeled as “sponsored”), and users can Digg them, share them, or bury them.

“Those votes don’t just affect where an ad shows up on the site, but also how much Digg charges the advertisers for each click; the more a readers like an ad, the less advertisers pay (presumably Digg will still be making plenty of money from the ad, because it will get plenty of clicks). That creates an additional incentive for for the advertisers to create good ads, and for Digg users to actually read and interact with them.”

(Disclosure: I work for Digg.)

MediaPost’s Joe Marchese: Digg Ads Will Save Advertising

Wow, thanks for the encouraging words, Joe!

“With all Google’s success [with the AdWords pricing model, which lowers the price for advertisers whose ads get more clicks], one would think all interactive advertising systems would begin rewarding marketers for making ad content people like. Yet, surprisingly, there are few such systems. One problem is that for ads where there is no direct-response action required (all ‘brand’ advertising), how can you tell if the community likes it? Enter the Digg community and Digg’s recent announcement of ‘Digg Ads.’ Digg has built a community on the back of people telling Digg, and each other, what they like. Why not advertisements? And if people like the ad (or at least don’t hate it), shouldn’t the marketer get a break on media pricing?”

Here’s the full story.

Digg-able Digg Ads Coming Soon

Today at , Mike Maser announced Digg Ads:

“Digg Ads will appear alongside stories in the river. The sponsored content will look and feel similar to regular Digg content, but will be clearly marked as sponsored. It may link to stories, video trailers, independent product reviews — many of the same types of content you see on Digg every day. The goal here is to give advertisers a way to present content related to their brands and get immediate input on whether it’s relevant to the Digg audience, or not.”

Digg Ads Mock Up

Advertisers will define the maximum CPC price they’ll pay (like ), but Digg readers will determine which ads get the most exposure — the more they Digg a particular ad, the more exposure that ad will receive. They’ll also have the opportunity to “bury” ads that aren’t relevant to them, with each “bury” reducing the frequency that ad will be served to Digg readers.

Readers and advertisers will both have skin in the game: Advertisers need to work to make their messaging relevant and appropriate to the Digg community, and the Digg community can improve the quality of advertising by voting up the brands, products and promotions that are most native to the Digg conversation.

Some early coverage:

(Disclosure: For those of you who missed last week, I’ll be working at Digg instead of FM starting June 22. So be careful or I’ll end up selling you one of these Digg Ads.)