Digg was once one of the top 25 Web sites in the U.S. That was in 2006. The once wildly popular social bookmark and networking site was just sold for a mere $500-thousand dollars to BetaWorks. How the mighty have fallen!
While Matt Williams, Digg's CEO, tried to put a good face on it, saying that “Digg has always been a site built by the community, for the community. Over the last few months, we've considered many options of where Digg could go, and frankly many of them could not live up to the reason Digg was invented in the first place -- to discover the best stuff on the web. We wanted to find a way to take Digg back to its startup roots.” Well, maybe it has but the simple truth is that Digg had become a shadow of its former self and it's fallen far behind such social bookmarking rivals as Reddit and Pinterest and can't even be mentioned in the same breath anymore with the likes of Facebook or Twitter.
Digg's fall from grace began in 2010 when it was revealed that a group, the so-called Digg Patriots were engaged in a widespread campaign of censorship against liberals. Using multiple accounts, up-vote padding, and ban campaigns they were successful in muzzling liberal conversation on the site for months.
Then, only weeks later, Kevin Rose, Digg's co-founder, made a strategic mistake and changed the entire Digg voting system and layout. While Rose back-tracked on some of the changes, the fundamental changes were seen as taking the power to up-vote and down-vote stories entirely out of users' hands and the Digg community hated this change. The users saw that Digg was no longer a “site built by the community, for the community” and left.
Digg never recovered. Rose, and other senior staffers left in March 2012 to join Google. More than half of the remaining staff left the company in May 2012 to join Social Code, a digital media subsidiary of The Washington Post. The only thing left to do was to sweep up and lock the doors. According to the Wall Street Journal, none of the remaining Digg staff will be kept on.
Now, sold essentially for pocket-change, what remains of Digg will be integrated into BetaWork's News.Me This is a start-up companies that sends its customers news links on mobile applications and an e-mail list from their Twitter, Facebook, and now one presumes their Digg friends.
However that move turn out, Digg, as it once was, is done.