Creating a Digg clone for your niche market

First of all you need to choose your weapon.

  • Code your own
  • Pay someone else to code it for you
  • Use an already existing open source CMS

We need to also look at the important features of Digg…

  • Attach a URL to a story
  • Ability for users to vote on stories
  • Ability to report bad links, inappropriate or duplicate
  • Lists “Upcoming Stories” that have yet to be voted
  • When a story receives enough votes it gets listed under “Popular Stories”
  • If a story receives a number amount of votes within a short time period it gets into the “top 10″
  • If a story does not receive a number of votes in a time period it will fall out of the Upcoming section [into where?]
  • Display stories you have submitted and voted on in your profile
  • Users can tell-a-friend
  • Users can build a friends list
  • Users can comment on stories

As if building a website and marketing isn’t hard enough coding your own from scratch, and ensuring its secure can be painful. However it does mean you can make it do exactly what you want, exactly how you want with little overheads, but lots of time.

You could of course always pay someone else to do your dirty work, but then who’s to say that they won’t use your code else where, or code a backdoor into it or otherwise.

Using an already existing CMS has its own fair share of issues, including the fact that you may not like the direction the project is going, and therefore may turn into something you don’t really want. The other issues are that because the code is in the public domain people can find the security holes in the script and exploit your site.

With this in mind I have drawn up a short list of possibilities…

  • Pligg CMS – I tried this for quite some time, but I didn’t like the way Pligg was going. The project was unnecessarily huge with very bad code and no real sense of direction.
  • Meneame – A Spanish Digg Clone, used as the basis to form Pligg and Pligg CMS. Lots of work to translate.
  • Pligg 5.8 – This is before Pligg went in the direction of a CMS, shortly after it was translated into English. It would be a lot of work to force this script to do what you want it to do.
  • SuperGu – I’m told by the nice people at Pligg that this project is built on lies. The screenshots you see are apparently just from photoshop created by someone who was paid. It seems this project is going no where fast.
  • DiggClone – Its a very basic clone of Digg, not a real project, just a script. Its very simple and gives you the basic frame work of the original Digg.
  • Get a Freelancer – You could do what others have done in the past and simply pay for someone to do it.
  • Use Drupal with some modules (Vote Up/Down;Links module;Voting API;Actions;Voting Actions;CRE recommendation) – Take a look at VentureSkills Blog, they covered this in far more detail. Demo.
  • Use WordPress and Vote Script – Like Drupal and other CMS’s there’s plenty of support out there, and many plugins, if a plugin doesn’t exist, you could always create one to achieve the individual task. Together they produce the whole.
  • Use Joomla and code some plugins to do the missing jobs.

So out of all the above, I’ve tried the Pligg approach, I even joined the development team for a breif period, but it just didn’t work, it was too huge of a task, the project still has a long way to come, and I didn’t fancy my chances of starting from scratch. I wish the Pligg guys the best of luck with their project, but it just doesn’t work for me. Meneame is pretty much in the same boat.

The DiggClone is very simple and straight forward, it works, but I don’t hold my breath to any further development. I think it would take quite some time to get it working how you’d like it.

Since no one else on has had any success getting a Digg clone, I’m not gonna take my chances. Besides, why would I pay for something that should be free.

I quite like the idea of using Drupal, however I’ve only ever used it once, and that wasn’t very extensively. I quite like the idea of this as a project, something to try, but wouldn’t really want to rely on it until I’ve tested it.

I already use wordpress on quite a few of my sites. I also use it on sites which with a little hacking could be turned into quite a nice “Digg clone” for their particular niche markets. It would require some more research to create a suitable clone.

Although Joomla is a very popular CMS, I’ve never used it. I’ve had a quick scout around, and nobody seems to be really that interested in making a digg clone out of Joomla, so I don’t think it would happen any time soon.

I’m really interested in making a Digg clone from already existing platforms using or creating a few plugins/addons/modules and a theme to suit. The platform I am most interested in is WordPress.

Watch out for “How to make a Digg Clone from WordPress”…

In addition to this, I also found some more Digg Clone scripts, which as as follows:

  • PHPDug – This looks like DiggClone with some stolen graphics from Digg. As you can see from the demo, this script doesn’t always work correctly. I’m not sure I like this. Demo.
  • Upwarded Source – Failing site has decided to release their source code so others can test it out. Looks like a dead project to me.
  • Akarru Social BookMarking Engine – Not tried this, all the sites and demo sites were down.
  • Blinkk – Looks like Meneame/Pligg to me.

I’ve yet to try all of these.

Another thing you must watch out for is that any sites based on Meneame (such as Pligg) must provide the source code to the public, as per the license agreement.

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  1. Get YACG said,

    March 7, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

    ;) – i think its the same as supergu….

  2. said,

    March 10, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

    I agree with YAGG, blinkk == supergu hehe. I can’t understand why these people do this.

  3. Brant Tedeschi said,

    March 11, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

    I looked at many of these scripts to make my digg-clone. But at the end of the day I wanted custom code to do what I wanted. Not to mention I’d like to know how everything works so I can customize later on if needed.

    For those who want a ready made digg-clone, then use pligg.

    For those who want to see a custom digg site, then go to

  4. How I Created My Own Digg Clone said,

    July 7, 2007 @ 7:32 am

    [...] nice article covering many more solutions is here. Remember that, any generic solution is unlikely to meet all your needs. Let me know if you have [...]

  5. darek said,

    January 6, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

    Also take look at drigg:

    It’s a powerful module built for the Drupal CMS. Free and open source.

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