Social networking, submission and bookmarking sites are nothing new. In fact, they are discussed ad nauseum all over the Internet. But, these sites remain a good place to find consumers. Pick an industry, even a product and you will find a discussion, related news stories, and sometimes even groups revolving around the topic.
This week we take a look at social submission and voting sites. Here, consumers are congregating, sharing and voting on topics of interest, with the rewards going to the originator/website of the submitted story once it becomes popular among users. So where are these consumers spending their time? The obvious answer is the leader in the industry, Digg.com. But, Digg has come under fire lately as top "Diggers" have been banned for influencing voting and the site has become known as a place where votes are bought and sold, removing the social "shine" of sorts. The biggest issue many have with Digg is that unless you have a vast network of influencers at your disposal, or are willing to pay for votes, it's difficult to gain a foothold on the site and garner any kind of substantial, reliable traffic. So, consumers are looking elsewhere.
Mixx.com: Mixx is celebrating its one-year anniversary by seeing an increase in traffic and users. The site works in much the same way as Digg with a few key differences. There are groups and communities that you can join to get in-depth about any particular topic. If you don't find a group you like, you can create one, become the moderator and enjoy an "expert" status of that topic.
Mixx users are known to be very active, dedicated and responsible users. They take this site seriously. In fact, many Digg refugees are setting up shop in Mixx, there are even groups dedicated to these folk. So, it seems that now would be a good time to get involved.
Propeller.com: Previously known as Netscape, Propeller's system is slightly different in that it uses a combination of "anchors," who are basically editors, and user votes to determine top stories. There are also power users called "scouts" who carry heavy influence and are primarily made up of power bloggers from the Weblogs, Inc. community. You can also join groups and create groups - one per account.
Reddit.com: Not overseen by editors, Reddit produces a more "free for all" style of community. It also features a comment voting system, where users can vote other users' comments up or down. Comments voted down enough times will eventually be taken down. The comment system seems to produce quite a bit of activity, and its not a bad way to gain a little exposure without needing to go through the submission process.
Take a look at the chart below from Compete.com, displaying recent traffic patterns at these three sites. As you can see, they are all moving up, supporting the idea that Web consumers are starting to look beyond Digg and carve out their own niches in the social voting scene.