One of the hottest social networking sites from the 2000s was Digg. Branded as a social content website, it was a go-to resource for crowdsourced links of awesomeness. Avid users and followers of Digg may well remember the amazing $200 million valuation that Bloomberg reported in mid-2006.
Alas, the once-popular site has fallen swiftly. Yesterday, Betaworks acquired what was left of Digg for a mere $500k. Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch reported that the total price of the acquisition was around $16 million - but it's still a far cry from what Digg was once worth.
So what ended up causing this massive downfall? Kevin Rose, Digg's Founder, addressed this in a post on the Wall Street Journal today.
Spencer Ante's report:
Mr. Rose chalked up Digg's failure to a combination of its own missteps along with an acknowledgement that the news-sharing site was outmaneuvered by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. Among the missteps: Digg botched its re-launch in the summer of 2010, and, more importantly, he said the company was slow to respond to the criticism. 'We were desperately trying to figure out how to get traffic back,' he said. 'A bunch of the community had already revolted by the time we fixed it.' He also said Digg made a mistake by cloning the features of other websites like Twitter and Facebook. 'We did a lot of things that went against the DNA of our product.' Mr. Rose said that Twitter and Facebook started to eat away at Digg's traffic as both sites evolved into places where people discovered the most up-to-the-minute news and information, the main reason people visited Digg.
It's interesting that Kevin regrets 'cloning the features' of two of the biggest social networks today ' given that Twitter and Facebook are widely-adopted. It makes you think that though a feature may work for one service, it may not necessarily work well, or at all, for another.
With regard to Digg's traffic drop, it makes sense that as Facebook and Twitter continued to develop, users lost interest in what was once the standard for the latest news and hottest social content. It goes to show that even the best websites always need to constantly iterate and improve.
Aaron Levie, Founder and CEO of Box.com, tweeted this yesterday (not necessarily with regard to this news):
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" - said the company just about to be disrupted.'
What's your take on the Digg demise?