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:
- The Growth Of Framebars & Kevin Rose On The DiggBar
- URL Shorteners: Which Shortening Service Should You Use?
For more, see discussion on Techmeme.