The DiggBar Compromise: Show Framebar Only To Logged In Digg Users

Digg is promising a significant change to how its DiggBar framebar operates, one that should solve SEO concerns about how link credit is passed on but won’t entirely remove misgivings about the framing of content.

With the new implementation scheduled for next week, only those who are logged into Digg will see the DiggBar. So if you click on a DiggBar URL from Twitter, you won’t see the DiggBar unless you’ve already been to Digg and have a logged in status. Just having a Digg cookie won’t be enough, Digg cofounder Kevin Rose told me when we talked about the new implementation yesterday. A Digg user must be logged in for a DiggBar to show. Logged in users can also opt-out of seeing the DiggBar.

Those who are NOT logged in will simply be redirected to the destination page, via a 301 permanent redirect. This will include search engines that follow those links. Digg’s been in touch with Google’s Matt Cutts on the change, which I’ve confirmed. The consensus is that Google will register DiggBar links as 301 redirects.

Overall, this change is a good thing. It means that link credit will flow to the destination site, rather than being kept by Digg itself.

There remains the separate issue of framing, how that was unpopular in the past and remains so in many quarters given the recent resurgence. Yesterday, it was pointed out by Michael Gray how Kevin Rose himself wasn’t pleased to find his own content being framed. So why do this to others, I asked him.

Kevin’s response was that he felt the Truveo experience was different. He wasn’t a logged in user there, so wasn’t expecting that type of display. He also didn’t like that it was an all-panel framing — that his content was completely surrounded by all four sides, in a frame.

I have mixed feelings. Showing a frame to only logged-in users seems like a fair compromise. There’s no doubt that for some Digg users, the framebar is useful. It’s also easier for them to use than downloading a separate toolbar (though Kevin said Digg still plans to improve and promote its toolbar).

On the other hand, I still hate frames. I also really worry that this will just cause other services to do the same. Imagine if Google decided that it should put up a Google framebar for anyone logged into one of its services? I still think the internet would explode in fury over such a move. But Digg’s compromise would give Google the cover to do so — as it would give cover to Yahoo or Microsoft, and as it now extends cover to Facebook that already does framing.

I wish Digg had made the tough decision to drop the framebar entirely, so that pressure could then be applied to Facebook and StumbleUpon and others to drop theirs. But the compromise does seem a good one, as long as it doesn’t end up opening the gates for more framing. Certainly sites that object can continue to run framebusting scripts, as we do here. That solves the frame issue for them, and the other change deals with the link credit issue that was developing.

For more about the DiggBar, framebusting, 301 redirection and other issues, see these two past articles from me that go into them in much more depth:

For more, see discussion on Techmeme.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Search Engines: Digg | SEO: Redirects & Moving Sites | Toolbars & Add-Ons | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • JimContext

    I think that this type of framing is something that’s going to become an increasingly common (and annoying) part of the web landscape as the web 2.0 model brings more and more visitors in and around and through various different sites on their way to actual content. It’s already common to see javascript-driven popups and slideups (SEL itself has one for non-pro members). The framing is just a more intrusive incarnation of a modal popup or a slide up , and the fact that it does increase traffic metrics is why it’s not likely to go away. I just hope we’re not in for an Idiocracy-style browser window soon:

  • VizionQuest

    Correct me if I’m wrong here but this doesn’t change anything.

    1. It’s still a frame based toolbar.

    2. It essentially steals content, traffic, and potential income from publishers.

    3. It’s unethical and illegal (if you have enough dough to prosecute)

    4. It creates incentive for others to follow, creating their own frame based toolbar and leads to cluttering the Web

    To me, it falls on the hands of the publishers to unite to stop this because if you’re not breaking these framebars, ultimately you’re part of the problem in that you’re allowing this kind of behavior to continue.

    I’m glad to see Search Engine Land has joined the fight with others like NY Times, O’Reilly Media, and Engadget. Cheers to you!

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