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Should my ads look like links, or should they match the text?
Do I assume that you mean that your AdSense "color link" should look traditional blue #0000FF or you are considering the complete ad to be the same colour as your page text?
That's up to you however don't forget that surfers, in general, know that blue is the traditional link colour and if they're scanning your page and need to know where to click it needs to be fairly evident.
Was that your question?
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You were wise to avoid including a URL... this is the rule from the TOS that would be relative.
13. Please do not drop promotional urls, signature files, nor specifics that would lead people to your site.
You can always include your URL in your profile, however, site reviews are typically discouraged (but we do them anyway).
In regard to how people treat the URL's in their ads... they do both! Some blend them in and some have them stand-out. I personally do the latter.
None made it to the front page, but one made it to the second page of digg, giving me 6500 uniques on my second day.
Just a fluke/luck I reckon.
What do you mean by optimizing? I tried to blend the colors as I said, but other than that, I haven't really done any actual tinkering. To be honest I'm not sure where to begin.
The real benefit of getting an article on Digg is the number of backlinks to your site that can follow, as well as possibly getting a handful of people to bookmark your site and become regular visitors. But these are more long-term benefits which will start to snowball as the months and years go on.