Do readers 'dig' our news stories? Telegraph site seeks to find out

Telegraph.co.uk is aiming to capitalise on the success of innovative news websites that allow readers to determine the prominence of stories.

Each item on the Telegraph's website will soon include links allowing readers to submit the story to a series of collaborative editing sites, which allow users to recommend content from other websites.

The feature is already available on the Telegraph's blogs.

Digg, the largest of these sites, relaunched on Monday, expanding its remit beyond the technology news it has included since launching in late 2004.

The California-based site allows users to vote on whether they "dig" or wish to "bury" news items.

Because Digg now claims more than 320,000 registered users and nine million daily pageviews, links that receive enough votes to reach its front page often experience a surge in traffic.

A Telegraph report by Adam Sweeting on American country band, the Dixie Chicks, accounted for 10 per cent of all traffic on Telegraph.co.uk for one week this month after experiencing the "Digg effect", according to Telegraph.co.uk news editor Shane Richmond.

On another occasion, astonished Telegraph.co.uk editors watched as an archived 2004 report about global warming suddenly rocketed to being one of the most frequently read stories on the site.

Data from internet competitive intelligence firm Hitwise shows that nearly a quarter of Digg users move on to news or media websites.

Hitwise director of research, Heather Hopkins, said: "I think that Digg is less of a threat to mainstream media than some other news aggregators because it doesn't report the story on its site, it just links out to the site, so it can be a fantastic source of visits. It's a great way to bring people to the site."

Hitwise currently ranks Digg as the UK's 84th most-popular news and media site, but in the technology news category, it is ranked fourth.

Richmond said: "Digg is the interesting one because it's so much bigger than the other similar sites. Reddit is a lot more rough-and-ready, but we find that we actually get more traffic driven to us from there than from any of the other sites. I think Newsvine is the most interesting of the bunch, but they're still very small."

Only a handful of American news sites have so far taken similar steps to encourage readers to submit stories to collaborative news aggregators.

"I think that will change as people realise that the more you feed the network, the more the you end up getting people back," said Richmond.

Digg chief executive Jay Adelson told Press Gazette: "People are discovering authors and journalists that they otherwise would not have read on a regular basis, and going back to them."

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