Now that reddit has open sourced their platform, I'm wondering what contributed to their success or relative lack thereof. Looking at the contributing factors for Digg's success, the primary one that stands out is that they were able to harness the network effect. Arguably, the network effect can typically be attributable to a first mover advantage. So, I'm going to do some live research here, and see what I can determine.
First, I'm going to check out archive.org to see who's website was actually first!
Okay, so, it looks like digg was around on Dec 9, 2004. Reddit's first archive.org entry is July 8, 2002. Looks like Reddit was actually first!
Next, let's see if I can figure out whether the "digg this" button contributed as a marketing & network-effect mechanism. I *think* I might be able to determine this from when they introduced a platform API. Digg Tools was introduced in December of 2006, oh wait, "Add Digg to your Site" was available in August 2006, but that actually turns out to be adding Digg news to your own site. So looks like
between mid-year 2005 and beginning of 2006 in late 2006, they added the digg button syndication feature.
Reddit appears to have launched their button on Oct 23 2006.
Hmm, so Reddit appears to have buttons first, but only by a month or so.
How about a blog as an influencer?
Digg: Feb 2006, http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://blog.digg.com
Reddit: October 2005, http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://blog.reddit.com