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October 2, 2012

The Demise of Digg

Digg.com is dead. For all intents and purposes at least. This shouldn’t be news to anyone. As early as June 2010, Compete.com reported that the media aggregator website was losing more than 10 million unique visitors a month. TechCrunch published an RIP piece about the demise of Digg in March 2011, saying that it is like many old websites, which “just fade away, eventually purchased for assets that are a shadow of their former promise.” Of course there are rumblings as the onetime-trend leader gets parceled off, stories about the silver lining. But mainly it’s just another lesson for everyone engrossed by the current iterations of Web 2.0. Mortality comes all too soon for those who make one wrong step.

The Digg.com team left for The Washington Post’s SocialCode in May 2012, while the brand, website, and technology recently netted owners a piddling $500,000 from buyer, Betaworks. This is clearly a story of the mighty falling. In 2008, Google nearly paid $200 million for the pioneers of social voting according to reports. The site had millions of articles, votes, and comments, in its seven year history.

Sadly the tale is more one of senescence and bad redesign choices than any Herculean battle lost. Facebook and Twitter stepped in, transforming social media sharing by integrating them into their platforms. Reddit, the site that’s the most similar, built a stronger community of users by using different formulas to populate its pages, inspiring more variety and loyalty despite an interface that’s so abysmal it’s almost loved in a “Campy” B-horror sort of way. Efforts to revitalize through redesign just increased the flight of users to other sites. And to be blunt, many writers and voices in the community thought the voting system was aristocratic and corrupt, not democratic.

So if you’re a blogger, writer, or business owner looking to get your exceptional content or idea out there, this long death rattle is probably a good thing. Twitter “Retweets,” Facebook “Likes,” and Pinterest “Pins” are democratic in the truest sense. The majority rules with an iron fist of short attention spans and shocking momentum. If it’s good and a few people care, they’ll share it and you’ve made it.

You can also learn something from Digg’s fall from grace – specifically, how to deal with competitors and clients. If you do something for people online that they eventually can get more conveniently from someone else, like Facebook, you’re going to have an uphill battle.
Flickr is a good example of carving out a specific niche so that even though you can share photos on Facebook, they maintain a dedicated user base for their specific features. Second, don’t enrage your users by violating the rules, or by revamping a system they like and are comfortable within order to give them something worse.

Digg.com is dead, but the wave it started is just cresting, and the trend of voting and social media sharing has changed how people use the internet and interact with information. Its lessons will be remembered long after it joins Ask Jeeves and Delicious in the internet graveyard, but it’s impact will be even longer-lasting.


Article by John Vantine. The demise of Digg and other similar websites have taught us all a valuable lesson in marketing. If you provide something to people online that they can get somewhere else more conveniently, you’re going to have an uphill battle. Visit us at http://www.wpromote.com and let us help you drive leads, improve your return on investment, and get more results from fewer dollars spent.

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