In 2004, one of the first successful sites for news aggregation was founded by 27-year old Kevin Rose. The site quickly rose in popularity as a way to discover popular news drawing in nearly 40 million users a month. Following a poorly thought out redesign and the emergence of more popular social media and content sharing sites, Digg’s popularity has quickly plummeted to 7 million monthly users. On July 12th, 2012, it was announced that Digg was sold to Betaworks (which you may know as the company behind bit.ly) for a mere $500,000.
So what is it that caused Digg’s demise and what is the future of news aggregation? As stated earlier, the rise in popularity of social sites like Facebook and Twitter may have been a contributing factor. These sites provide a more personal experience than Digg, allowing users to better express themselves and connect more intimately with others, while still being able to share great content. The biggest culprit, however, is likely the rise of a competing news aggregator; Reddit. After some poorly received changes were made to Digg’s design, many users defected to Reddit. A service that similarly allows users to vote stories up or down, allowing the best and most popular stories to rise to the top of the homepage. Reddit has succeeded in building a very strong community of dedicated users as well as subreddits, smaller sub communities that focus around a specific topic such as technology, gaming, religion or science.
It is unclear what the future holds for Digg, or what Betaworks plans to do with this new acquisition. Do you think Digg is up for a comeback? Or are the days of social bookmarking disappearing all together and something new is in store for the future of news aggregation? Sound off in the comments!