[ This is not a paid review. And we are not associated with Social Elves directly or indirectly. ]
Social Elves is a marketing group that helps expose your content to millions of people by promoting it on Digg.com, the largest social bookmarking site in the world.
And interestingly it claims that it doesn’t violet the policies of Digg.com.
We always wanted to learn more about traffic sources and Digg is one of the most popular one. So we asked these questions[About both Digg and SocialElves] to Mr.Josh Hartland of SocialElves and his answers were very interesting and informative. Hope you enjoy this interview..
1. Whats the meaning of SocialElves?
He he. That’s a funny story. Have you seen one of those Christmas movies in which a lot Santa’s elves are working by the side of a conveyor belt making the toys for Christmas. Well, that’s what inspired the idea for the site’s name. Considering that for a submission to be successful a lot of “elves” (diggers) have to help during the process we thought it made sense to call the site like that. I have to admit some people might find that kind of weird but at the moment of naming it, it was pretty funny and also made sense.
2. What is actually the aim of SocialElves? (Is it to make money or to promote the unnoticed interesting contents of the web, for a little fee).
Well, at Socialelves we are mostly interested in getting good content out to get the exposure it deserves. We always have to check the article or media before we promote it because we are not willing to waste anybody’s time or money on content that won’t be well accepted by the Digg community. However because of the amount of time it takes to do a successful promotion and the benefits the service has for our customers (SEO and Digg’s front page many times) we believe it is necessary to charge a fee in order for the amount of time invested to make sense.
3. Do you think $300 (is this amount less or more or worth it) is worth for 200 Diggs?
Well let me start by clarifying that in Socialelves none of our customers pay $300 for 200 diggs. That would be like buying diggs and that is not what we are selling here. What we are selling is a digg submission promotion service that guarantees as a result at least 50, 100 or 200 diggs depending on what package does a customer chooses once his or her content has been approved. Now, after that clarification: Absolutely! In order for a story to reach front page (as long as it is a good story) it usually takes between 100 and 200 diggs.
Additionally to the possibility of reaching Digg’s front page, the SEO of getting a high digg count for your submission has an important weight in a little search engine we like to call Google. Google loves Digg and crawls it daily in order to find all the submissions there are in it. Of course, a submission has to have some weight before Google starts noticing it (usually starts getting some attention at 50-70 diggs) so if you get a high amount of diggs not only do you have the possibility of making it to Digg’s front page but you are also improving your SE rankings on Google. In fact, if you are looking for good placements on keywords that have low or medium competition (between 500-5000 searches per month) it is very possible you obtain a placement on the first couple of pages in Google’s SE for keywords in that level. Now, this is not an absolute thing either as Google keeps evolving but if the content is submitted consciously to obtain these benefits, then they are usually achieved.
4. We have heard that, a story requires some 200 – 300 diggs (fluctuating number), within 24hrs to get to the front page of digg? (But you require 48hrs!)
True, but that is a policy we recently changed on our website since we have become more capable of marketing more efficiently a submission with better results in less time. So, as of right now, if you check our website you will see, on our FAQ section that the time frame has been changed to 24 hours.
5. What makes SocialElves different from other Digg Marketing sites?
There are 2 main reasons why we are better than our competition. The first one is the fact that we are not here to offer our customers advice and show them the door. We are here to offer them results. That is why we offer marketing packages with a minimum guarantee of diggs so that they can see for themselves we are serious about our business and about theirs. The second main difference is that we don’t buy or sell diggs which many others do. We only work with content that has quality and something valuable to offer to the Digg community. Our business is not about getting just any content promoted and then taking the money. Its about getting the good content the exposure it needs to be noticed by others.
6. How big/small is your company [SocialElves]?
Well, I wouldn’t say Socialelves is a big corporate operation (nor it needs to be). It is a business ran by a small amount of people with knowledge in the area of the social marketing. That’s all.
7. From how long have you been using Internet? (just for anything)
I think it must be probably about 5 years now.
8. What made you think of starting a site like SocialElves?
Well, I dont know how many of Digg’s users have noticed this but there are usually many good stories that never make it over 5 diggs. I myself was at that point before. So when I kept seeing this happening over and over again, it occured to me perhaps I could create a service that could help all of this stories get noticed and bring value both to the Digg community and to its sources. And that’s when I decided it would be a great idea to create a service like Socialelves.
9. Did Digg lawyers contact you for any obvious reasons?
Digg has indeed intended to persuade us from offering the service due to the nature of it. Since Digg is not just another website but more of a business funded through venture capital, they want to show their investors they take activities that may harm their model seriously and wont just stand and watch. However, at Socialelves, we don’t buy diggs, we don’t sell diggs and we don’t submit stories that we believe wont be welcomed by the Digg community. So we are really not a threat or a negative influence to them or their model.
10. Now, we know that promoting stories in Digg or Stumble manually requires a lot of time. So how long do you spend online to make sure that the submitted story gets to the Digg front page?
That usually depends on the quality of the content. Some stories are so good that they only need 3-4 hours. On the other hand, there are stories with less appeal that could take 8-10 hours per day.
11. What is the proportion of stories that make it to Digg’s front page by using your service?
So far our record averages around 2/3 of the submissions making it to the front page. This is possible because as I mentioned, we are selective on the content we promote but it is also possible, thanks to the consulting advice we provide to our clients in order for their stories to be optimized to become more popular. However this is only an amount based on our strongest marketing package (Platinum) . For the other 2 packages (Silver and Gold) the record is lower since those are packages mostly targeted for SEO purposes or to give a story a popularity headstart.
12. Do you get the request for digg (paid) from small bloggers or from big bloggers / small company or big company more?
We get requests from both small bloggers and websites as well as small to mid-size companies. There are also quite a few marketing companies that hire our services since they are aware of the benefits of the SEO that can be generated through Digg.
13. Have you ever spent money promoting SocialElves?
Only during the first couple of months after the website was launched.
14. Whats your advice to other people who use sites like Digg to promote their stories?
Well, that would depend on what are they trying to promote. But the best advice I could probably give them is this: If you want exposure for your content through websites like Digg, Reddit and Stumble Upon, don’t forget these are social bookmarking sites, so be social! If you believe your story is something a person that finds it interesting will want to share with others then your story is probably good enough.
15. Which one is most important – Concentrating on building quality content or to promote the already exiting quality content ?
I would say between those two, it may be more beneficial if you concentrate on creating quality content. I am not saying if you already have good content waiting to be discovered you should simply let it be and move on. However as a long term strategy, I believe if you constantly come with fresh quality content, people will notice you are the source of it and eventually you will become a reference for the content of the niche you are focusing on by doing this.
16. Whats your advice for people trying to game the Digg, Stumbleupon etc systems and trying to make money from it?
I don’t know if I have really any advice for them. I have known many people that got strong and reputed by using methods that were not ethical and in the end most of them have gone down as well as all their work. So if any of your readers is interested in being a part of the social bookmarking arena in the long term, I would recommend them not to take shortcuts like using interactive scripts because its just a matter of time before they get caught. As far as making money using social bookmarking sites, the trick lies in three simple skills: be creative, be discreet and be constant.
17. What do you think of Digg?
I think Digg is a great service that allows people to stay connected to all sorts of worldwide events and news. Digg can cover so many topics that can go from comical videos to nanotechnology that it is very useful for the average person to simply check it a few times a day to see what are the latest news. In many occasions I have informed myself of events that hadn’t been covered through sources like television until a few days after they occurred.
18. Do you think, site/blog design has anything to do with getting or not getting to the Digg front page?
I don’t necessarily think that factor is a direct cause for websites to make it to the front page or not but if you don’t have a reputation of good content to back you up, I do believe it could have indirect consequences for the simple reason that it may make you loose points with the people that really matter: the Digg community.
19. Do you think, placement of Advertisements on our blog has anything to do with getting or not getting to the Digg front page?
Just like I said on my last answer, I don’t believe it has a direct impact on whether a submission reaches front page or not but it can have an impact on the people that look at a website to decide whether if the content is worth the digg or not. But generally speaking if you have good content and don’t abuse on the amount of ads you have on your website or blog, you should be ok.
20. What type of articles do well on DIGG?
Social Articles. The kind of content that can become viral because it has an interesting factor, an ironic one or a comical one and appeals to the most general public possible. That doesn’t mean that there can’t be stories on a more specific niche that make it to the front page or get a lot of diggs though.
21. Your tips for, people who have just signed up for DIGG.
That would depend on what do they want to achieve in Digg. If they just want to be a regular user, just check it daily and digg what you like. If you want to become more popular and have some more weight on Digg, then earn active friends. Don’t just befriend them because you saw they are active. Check their submissions, digg them and comment on them. If you are consistent you will start seeing results in a few months (or earlier).
22. How do you manage your time for your offline life, inspite of spending lot of time online.
Well, right now I don’t have much offline life. I have access to all the commodities I need where I am and I love working on my computer. I do go from time to time to eat outside or go to the movie theater but I enjoy my current situation and don’t really need to change it. This is not the same for the few of us who are part of Socialelves though. Some are much more interested in the “outside world” than me and go out and spend most of their free time with their offline friends. Its just a little different for each one of us.
23. Tell us briefly about your lifestyle. We always want to know more(lifestyle) about internet entrepreneurs. [please share with some more details]
Well, I am sorry to disappoint you but in my personal case there is not much lifestyle for the moment. I have great plans for my future and have a lot of very interesting ideas for online and offline business models that are mostly based on innovation. Because of this, I currently dedicate most of my time to doing online research (when I am not working on Socialelves) and finding smart partners to ally with, in order to produce my ideas and create new ventures that I believe will be very successful. Right now, I spent most of my time in front of a screen (PC or TV) learning as much as I can. This may not seem like a lot of fun now, but it is when I can collect the fruits of my dedication that I will worry about relaxing a little.
24. We see that SocialElves talks only about DIGG. But there are equally popular sites like Stumbleupon, whats the difficulty to provide votes on those sites, when you already have a network of people with those accounts also.
Actually the reason why Socialelves hasn’t incursionated into other social bookmarking sites was that we first wanted to work with Digg, considering it is one of the largest and most popular social bookmarking sites. It is not really related to the fact that it is difficult to expand our services into a few other social bookmarking sites.
25. What features, products or services we can expect from SocialElves in the near future?
Well the rest of the crew and myself have been considering a few interesting ideas and as of right now, I can tell you that due to the large number of people that would like to have their websites on Digg but don’t currently have content that is good enough to become popular, we have decided to start offering content creation services specifically targeted for the Digg community. That way, many of our clients can stop getting worried about writing content that will only get rejected and leave that to us. We will be offering this new service on the the website in the next few weeks.
We also have plans to begin offering our services for Reddit and Stumble Upon in the next months. That is something we had thought of doing from the beginning but as I said, we first wanted to test how well the service worked with Digg. Besides those two additions, we are also going to be launching a blog shortly with information we hope bloggers and website owners will find valuable and helpful for their websites.
26. Advice us about using DIGG, Stumbleupon, Reddit etc effectively, to get good traffic.
Well, I am afraid there is only one way to get good traffic directly from social bookmarking sites, and that is through the front page (at least in Digg and Reddit). However, as I mentioned previously, there are also indirect benefits of becoming popular in vote count ( in Digg as we haven’t yet tested the SEO benefits on the other social bookmarking sites). So to answer the question, its a matter of becoming an active user of the social bookmarking site you are most interested in and making sure you can get as many active friends as possible. Something like a support group. If you can do that, your odds of constantly achieving successful submissions increase by a lot.
27. What not to do with our Digg account?
I’ll tell you what you should do before getting an account: read the terms. I know they may seem like too long and boring but that way you will have more clear what kind of limits there are. Additionally to that, give more than what you ask for. That way you will be more appreciated in the community and among your contacts. And that goes for diggs, comments and diggs on comments too.
Thanks for giving the interview
Update: We secretly tracked an interesting article, which was Dugg by socialelvies[after some investigation it was noticed that the blogger purchased SocialElve’s Digg Promotion Service – Silver pack of 75$ which promises of 50 Diggs] and to my wonder the article got more than 100 Diggs in 22hrs. So it seems that SocialElves deliver(actually over deliver!) what they offer on their website. Again, remember that we are NOT associated with Social Elves in anyway and its left to you to decide about using or not using SocialElves.