Digg.com re-launched today with a clean, new interface and the promises of greater flexibility for users and developers.
However, wiping clean the slate means just that – all of the site’s content before Betaworks purchased it earlier this year is gone, a move some tech types consider the ultimate search-engine sin.
“After an intense month and a half, we managed to get the new Digg up and running on a fresh code base and infrastructure,” the company says on its welcome page. “We now have a solid foundation on which to build, and we expect to build fast.”
At one time, Digg was the leading social news gathering place before Facebook, Twitter and Reddit surpassed it.
Users voted for their favorite stories, and websites drank in the resulting search-engine traffic.
The Wall Street Journal appraised the site at $160 million at its peak, but Betaworks picked clean Digg’s bones for $500,000 in mid-July after The Washington Post and LinkedIn feasted on the meat.
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It reportedly rejected Google’s $200-million offer in 2008; BusinessWeek proclaimed that founder Kevin Rose “leads a new brat pack of Silicone Valley entrepreneurs” in a 2006 cover story.
According to Digital Spy, Digg claims to have generated 350 million “diggs” and 40 million comments, but failed to keep pace with the upstarts.
Many cite something as simple as an unpopular redesign in 2010 with Digg’s demise.
Venture Beat’s Tom Cheredar said efforts to monetize left the site clumsy and “convoluted,” and forced users to the competition.
While the new Digg v1 is still a work in progress, Keith Plocek at SF Weekly maintains that Betaworks eliminating Digg’s back catalog of links and content is its death knell.
He said that search engines such as Google and Bing still value Digg, but with its links now gone, “publishers from the New York Times to Your College Roommate’s Bacon Blog are going to feel the effect down the road in terms of search traffic.”
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