Digg, Pligg and Flattering Imitation

As predicted, the knockoffs of digg.com have started emerging. Pligg is an open-source version of the digg software.
Nathan Torkington on a controversy erupting over whether an Oreilly person stole “digg” css code in  his own pligg sites :

This is a classic Web 2.0 problem: it’s hard to aggregate the wisdom of the crowd without aggregating their madness as well. In this case, the situation was amplified because it wasn’t just any site that Steve was accused of ripping off, it was the very site that the community belonged to and identified with. Every news site figures out what to do when thumbs-up turns to bums-up: Slashdot has issued retractions, often updates stories, and regularly posts collections of “further details on …” notes. BoingBoing updates stories as soon as new facts come to hand, even if it means they’ve admitted “whoops, that wasn’t true at all!”. It’s more complex with community sites, because editors don’t make the editorial decision to run a faulty story but nonetheless have to live with its consequences. And everyone has to deal with the situation when their site has been used to further someone else’s agenda. Digg is still learning how to deal with this, and I look forward to seeing how they tackle it in the future.

Amid all this controversy no one has really complained that the Oreilly guy stole the Digg concept, thank god. Digg (and slashdot) benefit by first-to-market status and scooping enough eyeballs for the project to sustain itself. Already we’ve seen people try to game the system, and why not? I still receive emails from a blogcritics editor asking me to “digg” certain stories each week.

The ecosystem is certainly big enough to sustain several Diggs and slashdots, but after a point, it just becomes impossible to build your own without having the requisite number of eyeballs.  Here’s where we see content creation sites (weblogs, forums, webjay, etc) providing more sustainable value no matter how manner how many weblogs and playlist sites are out there.