I'm a regular user of Digg and I will admit I saw the four stories this week about the rumored purchase of Sun by Google (1, 2, 3, 4)I even thought about posting them here, but something felt "funny" so I held off. Silicon Valley Sleuth did a little more checking here's what they came up with Digg is used for stock manipulation
The first blog posts never makes it to the Digg.com front page, but with 33 diggs, it gets close. The blog author also tries submitting an identical posting on his personal blog to Digg.com, but it only got 9 votes. It's also the very last story that he submits and diggs - with that account at least.
The second post does significantly better, with 312 diggs.
Both the third and the fourth story do very well on Digg.com, and coincidentally are posted by the same person.
Even more amazingly, several users consistently turn up as early diggers for all of the stories: olseneric, ebrage, MarkIsCranky and ZRock.
They found the story even when it wasn't on the front Digg front page, and decided to deem it Digg worthy. Or more likely: they have teamed up to manipulate the Digg voting system and get these posts promoted to the front page. Once there, any story will receive plenty of votes. Especially if it has one of the magic four in the headline: Apple, Microsoft, Google or Linux.
So lets look at the stock prices of Google (blue) and Sun (red) this week
While the price only rose 5%, if you knew the price was going up you could have taken advantage of it with a margin stock purchase (borrowing money against the stocks you own to purchase more). Spreading rumors and news to drive up the stock prices is nothing new. Using internet "news" and "citizen journalist" sites like Digg to do it is. We all know that viral and buzz marketing is an important factor in today's market, have "white collar spammers" recognized this, and now begining to act on it?