Digg’s Downfall

by jscariati

The Wall Street Journal reports that Digg is being sold:

Digg Inc., a social-media pioneer once valued at more than $160 million, is selling for the deeply discounted price of about $500,000, three people familiar with the matter said…Betaworks intends to fold Digg into News.me Inc., a digital media start-up that Betaworks launched in April 2011.

Sad. But while Facebook and Twitter certainly contributed to Digg’s downfall, the process really started earlier than that.

What made Digg so great originally was that everything was decided upon by the community: anyone could submit a link to a story, and everyone else could vote it up or down. Stories with the most votes were given the greatest prominence, and no individual users could act as “editors” to override what the community had decided. The end result (at least initially) was that Digg was generally filled with interesting, unusual content that you would never find from more traditional sources.

The problem arose when Digg tried to go more “mainstream” by making it easy for prominent news sources to feed their stories directly into the site. At the time that I left, you could even “import” recommended sources (like The New York Times) to read their stories. Consequently, the site became overrun with stories from mainstream news sources – which could easily garner tons of “diggs” by directing traffic from their huge existing audiences – while content submitted by individual users didn’t stand a chance.

Essentially, Digg became an aggregator of mainstream news stories – the exact opposite of its original premise. And at that point, there was no longer any value in it for me or, apparently, most of its other users.

(Via Daring Fireball)