Digg, the social news aggregation site, has been having a bad month. After a disasterous redesign and a revolt by users many top staffers are fleeing the company and 37% of employees were laid off.
Now Fast Company is following up on some detective work by a disgruntled Digg user LtGenPanda, showing that dummy accounts voted up content from Digg’s publishing partners—BBC website, the Guardian website, BoingBoing, WashingtonPost.com, Gawker—to the top of the site.
Getting a story to the top of Digg pays off with a significant bump in visitors. LtGenPanda is pointing the finger at Digg, suggesting that the site was artifically boosting items to appear more useful to it partners.
For a company in crisis, this is a potentially damaging blow. Digg already lost the trust of its users with their redesign, and if these same folks feel that their contribution to the site is being overshadowed by businesses ties, they may abandon Digg altogether.