Since the dawn of the web, millions of sites have been striving for the one thing that’s traditionally proved the hardest to find on the internet – consumer loyalty. Well, it seems that Digg has now finally cracked it and the social networking site’s phenomenal popularity has started paying dividends. The reward for its ability to harvest a huge, loyal customer base? The wrath of the Digital Rights industry and a potential lawsuit of $2.68 million.
OK, so this might not seem like much of an incentive, but the Digg story represents an intriguing example of the almost fanatical loyalty users develop for many social news sites and feed aggregators. It’s an almost idyllic business model whereby you basically get your users to generate all the content themselves and then watch as they feast off of each other in an endless frenzy of clicks.
Building a social networking site in the vein of Digg, Twitter or Yahoo! Answers is easier than you might think, thanks to a new wave of cool content management software programs designed expressly for this purpose. The latest, and final, beta release of Pligg is just about the best we’ve come across.
The open source app allows you to create flexible, personalized sites pretty quickly even if you have zero knowledge of web development languages. The slick control panel makes it very simple to administer sites once they’re up, too. Although it’s an easy out-of-the-box solution for beginners, Pligg is great for more experienced developers too because the code is open and available to be pushed further to produce highly customized projects.
There are still a few bugs and issues that need to be ironed out before it gets its full release, but Pligg could be the ideal platform for you to ‘go social’ and turn the content generation process over to your users. Just be careful not to end up in a situation where the lunatics (no offence to Digg users, of course) are allowed to take over the asylum.