A Social Media Case Study: The rise and fall of Digg

Betaworks recently bought the social listing website Digg the other week for a lowly $500,000, bear in mind the company was once estimated to be worth £160 million and Google is said to have offered the company £200 million in 2008 when is was the 24th most visited website in the world!

Founded in 24, Digg was created by Kevin Rose as a news aggregator, after this it became the main pioneer of social sharing websites as well as focusing on crowdsourcing content and user reviewing.

Digg has failed to keep up with the changes of the social sphere and has been rapidly overtaken by other social sites such as Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook – coupled with increasingly unpopular design amends which have gone down like a lead balloon with the majority of its audience (it struggled to recover after the design changes in 2010 for example – accordign to CommScore reducing its usership by around 50%!).

Digg was bought by Betaworks with the sole aim of taking the site back to its start up social media works and let’s hope they get there with it – it’s not a task I envy personally though, there is a lot more competition in the market than there was in 2004.

The plan is to incorporate the Digg system into Betawork’s News.me company which essentially give you access to stories shared by your friends on Twitter and Facebook – unfortunately for the Digg employees it looks as though none of them will be moving over to Betaworks (which to me is a disaster waiting to happen).

There is speculation that other parts of the company have been carved up between other key players such as the Washington Post and LinkedIn, but in essence that’s as far as it goes for the Digg brand and assets.

So Digg goes the way of MySpace and other social media players that have dropped off the radar in the last few years and this should serve as a warning that a community can be easily lost if their best interests aren’t at the core of the business model.

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