Mike Maser, Chief Strategy Officer at Digg, has confirmed that Digg Ads will start rolling out in an early beta format during the next few days.
So expect to start seeing sponsored Diggs mixed up with the real stuff, although the adverts will carry a 'sponsored by' title the screenshots suggest that they will not be easily distinguishable from ordinary Diggs if you ask me.
Maser is "excited" about the move and says the goal of Digg Ads is to "encourage advertisers to create content as compelling as organic Digg stories, and to give you more control over which ads you see on Digg."
There are some things to like about the adverts, such as the fact that they give the user more control over which ones appear on Digg by using a system whereby the more an ad is Dugg the less the advertiser has to pay and the more one is buried the more the advertiser is charged. The argument being that advertisers will have to please the crowd to keep costs down, will have to provide compelling sponsored content in other words. The danger, surely, is that the compelling content will take the format of something which looks like any other Digg story and nothing like an advert, and blurring the lines between editorial and advertorial is never a good thing, is it?
Maser adds "We're rolling Digg Ads out initially to small sets of users to help us test the product, so in the early stages many of you will not see them. We will continually iterate the product based on input from the community and our advertising partners. These changes will be rolled out over the course of the next several months."
I can't help thinking that Digg is creating another timebomb of DiggBar proportions here, and it will be going off sooner rather than later.