Most hard-core web users have either seen or used sites like Digg and Reddit at one time or another. These popular news aggregation services use the vote-to-promote model to push interesting user submitted links to the front of their pages. Users then vote on these submissions and the links with the most votes float to the top.
The model first gained traction with the launch of Digg in 2004. Many other sites are trying to repeat Digg’s success by launching similar websites in specific niches. You can find vote-to-promote in Mixx, Reddit, Shoutwire, Blinklist and VideoSift. The USA Today has adopted the model for use in their articles, an interesting approach to bringing more popular news to the forefront of their website.
Del.icio.us and Magnolia, both social bookmarking services, take a different approach to the vote-to-promote model. These sites allow users to share bookmarked links with other users, promoting further discovery of interesting news while adding more bookmarks to the service. The number of times a specific link is bookmarked the more popular it becomes as people implicitly vote for that link.
Websites can now roll their own vote-to-promote applications though Pligg’s and Reddit’s opensource software. Reddit, who opensourced their code earlier this week, has a slim advantage over Pligg as the technology is more familiar among web-heads.
The vote-to-promote model is an interesting way to aggregate fresh content though it does have its flaws. As the technology matures and developers tweak the underlying source code, websites and services will continue to find novel uses for this idea.