What Started The Downfall of Digg

by Jeremy Schoemaker on December 18, 2007 · 104 comments

I read about Digg being shopped around on TechCrunch yesterday for 300M. If my math is remotely correct $300mill = $77/registered user?

I was kind of surprised then I thought to myself damn its been a long time since I visited or cared about Digg. It used to be when I was researching something the first place I would hit is digg. I could find credible sources to quote in a few minutes.

For me Google’s new date parameter mixed with its minty fresh indexing has probably made the difference for me. I can now easily find a relevant source very fast for the current event I am writing about.

So others have said it was Digg’s signing a big money deal with Microsoft.

From Chris Winfield’s site :

This follows Digg’s decision to add a Microsoft category to the site back in February. I was always wondering why there was no Google one added as well considering the amount of Google stories on the site…

Usa today article titled “Digg fires Google, Hires Microsoft” – also a quote in there from the “pimp of pr” Chris Winfield. The article seemed to imply that Digg users were so anti Microsoft (pro apple, google, linux) that they were very turned off to find they were about to line Microsoft’s pockets.

Another thing for me specifically was how much Digg has caved to stupid user requests… like adding video and images. Although images are newer. It really changes the dynamic of the site and now there is so much junk that makes it to the front page… its like… i dunno and also it seems easier for spammers now more then ever to game digg. Maybe its just because all the good SEO spammers stopped carrying?

One time Neil Patel told me he made digg front pages for 3 days in a row so I had to show him who was boss and do it 4 days in a row… since then I really stopped caring. Digg traffic sucks so bad its such a waste of resources (although it will jack up your Alexa rank and impression stats if you need that).

So now that traffic has drastically decreased on Digg and the founders are bailing out… what do you think the downfall of Digg will be chalked up to?

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2855 posts on ShoeMoney.com.

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.


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{ 90 comments }

1 Dom

I think what *started* their downfall was when they expanded out of being a tech news site.

2 Llama Money

The fact that it’s always sucked? I never browse the stories and actually read them… who has time for that?

3 Bathroom Hero

Their downfall will be their attempt to be a “jack of all trades” They should focus their energy on being the user shared content site.

4 djbigdaddy

I am surprised that they are selling. There is a lot of kevin rose fan boys that will definitely abandon ship when he sells.

5 Chris Jacobson

Did Kevin Rose run Digg into the ground or what?

6 James Mann

I can’t say that I have any sympathy for Digg, they banned me and I have sent email after email asking why but they don’t bother even replying.

I think they have gotten too big for their own good and it’s gone to their head so responding to emails of people they ban is just beneath them.

7 Justin Khoury

I think it’s been a long time coming in all honesty. They bit off way more than they could chew too fast.

8 Bloggerites

I used to love ANSI / ASCII art, ACiD and iCE were the big players. If your BBS didn’t have a resident or guest artist to make a custom theme you were a chump. Seriously I miss it Web2.0 is cool but Ansi was the Sh!t. Yes I’ve just dated my online existence and I’m a geek and proud.

9 Peter

For me it was the raise meaningless posters, useless discussions. Racism, sexism …you name it dominates digg. It is not even relevant anymore…

See this post http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/digg-marred-by-racism-sexism.html

10 Hustle Strategy

Seems there are lots of other options out there that do similiar things… Never really got into the whole digg thing.

11 Affiliate Confession

I’m not really into the Digg thing either. Some people must spend all day on Digg. Some of these social sites just suck your time and make you less productive in the long run.

12 augustus

I still go to digg but don’t rely on it that much. For technology there is techcrunch, mashable and techmeme. There are tons of sites for news anyway.

So digg does not hit meet any unique need for me.

13 HikingMike

I don’t know, TechCrunch seems like a bunch of spammy articles to me. TechCrunch being able to post Digg stories directly was one reasons for its downfall remember.

14 Eric Odom

Dom,

I think you hit the nail on the head there.

Like Shoemoney, I too used to go to Digg for solid sources. It was a GREAT place to find the latest info on gadgets and other tech related stuffs.

But once they started expanding on the categories with the hopes of “finding more users”, they smothered the core users with junk.

-Eric

15 Think Like An SOB

Kevin wants to concentrate on his new baby now… Pownce.

16 Failure Sucks!

Digg is trash.

It’s not a true “democracy” as they love to claim …”bury brigades” anyone?
It primarily seems like a bunch of juveniles who love to comment spam the stories and talk trash with each other.
It’s no surprise digg traffic sucks when you look at who uses it. This begs the question…how much can it really be worth? Traffic is worthless if it can’t be monetized.

17 SonicReducer

Totally agree.

18 Stumble Exchange

The problem was the video editing and the fact that people now “digg” articles because they are articles that people “digg” instead of the articles actually being good. You can notice this in the comments, when posts “blog spam, direct link HERE”, and “You misspelled werd” get top or near top diggs.

That and the duplicate articles, sooo many duplicate articles, worse than /. even.

19 Jon Kelly

I know how this is going to sound, but I think the problem is their core audience and that they let it run wild. You can build a decently large base of gaming MSFT hating apple fanboys who love to trash people, but there is a much larger group of people who are completely turned off by it. Unfortuntely for their value, this larger group of more normal peolple (yeah, i know how that sounds too) also happens to be more valuable for most products you would want to advertise. What they have is fine for what it is, but it’s scope is going to be limited by what it is, too.

20 SEOMaster

I think Digg soon will be death.

21 Farmer

Friends…

The social site that figures out how to master this will be able to avoid going to shit.

22 VacationGuy

ive never cared much for dig – I havent gotten into a lot of the social networks? I read message boards, which can be such a waste of time. Ive logged on to myspace and looked up people I went to high school and college with and thats the entent of my social networking

23 Jared

Couldn’t agree with you more. Digg was great about 2-3 years ago when then weren’t “mainstream” and covered tech.

The expansion into 39847398635 other categories plus adding pictures and video has made it terrible. Now it just seems to be a community of immature trolls, which is sad because they used to have a really good user base back in the day.

24 Blindhog

Could be crowd that hangs out there and “controls” the content.

This kinda sums it up…

25 Dom

The silly thing is, there is a market for the kinds of features they added, and they’ve developed some quite impressive technology. They just shouldn’t have done it on digg.

26 ddogg

The bias is what makes Digg so terrible. If you are not super pro-linux, apple, democrat, then forget about it. Every other article during a political season is how Bush it worse then Hitler, etc. The rest of the time it’s how cool some obscure programming language is or how great the latest linux release is. That kind of crap doesn’t work for the mainstream.

27 Hustle Strategy

Which social site was it that censored bad news about itself? Was that not digg?

28 Shaun Carter

I think the owners of Digg are going to try to ride the Facebook $15 Billion valuation bandwagon and try to find a company out there willing to shell out an inflated price before the market falters and render the site worth much less. I think they will find a buyer in the $100-200 Million range.

29 greg

Digg has been deteriorating for awhile now. In fact, I wrote about it 8 months ago – http://greghartnett.com/has-digg-jumped-the-shark/

30 Mubin

Has Digg gone to hell? Yes.
Has it surpassed traffic expectations? Yes, jsut because it is more mainstream does not make it bad. It actually makes it more popular and gets regular users there instead of just tech heads. While the quality has decreased the quantity has not (I can only assume).
Will it sell for $300 Million? Doubtful, this is the 3-4th time that the site has been up for sale, albeit the first time that they have got someone to actually actively try to sell it though.

But as someone in the comments of the original article states. “Business’s are bought, NOT sold.”

31 lorien1973

Come on. The downfall of digg was the DVD code being published on there. Digg caved into its users’ temper tantrum. Pretty much, since then, the site has been junk. It made it clear that Digg can be brow beaten by a bunch of kids – and who wants to visit a site whose users are all petulant 3 year olds?

32 Jared

You aren’t lying. I try and stay as even minded as possible. But the politics section in Digg is SO left-winged I just had to turn it off. I got tired of reading 3 front page entries a day about how Bush is the root of all evil and whatnot. It’s pathetic.

33 Nicholas James

Totally agree on this. When digg became more then it originally was created for…it went down the pan.

34 Nicholas James

They’re trying to ride the bubble ;).

35 Joe

Yep, if you’re a Republican, or according to diggers “RepubliKKKan”, then forget it. I don’t need some no-life computer nerd labeling me a racist or a dictator because of my political party.

36 Affiliate Marketing Podcast

Yeah, I’d actually forgotten how useful info used to be on Digg – now I just go there to see stupid videos…
~ Dave

37 Geiger

I offer $5.

38 jim

It’s a problem lots of companies and sites faces, you grow big because of your value and then start worrying about keeping up that growth. You start adding other features that will increase usage but gets you away from what got you there… the downfall is the result of pressure to constantly grow, add, and losing your focus.

39 Martin

There is no way that digg is worth $300 million, it is too far on the decline to be worth that much, it would need to be improved and renovated for it too have anywhere close to that value. Don’t get me wrong though, it has by all means exceeded its initial expectations.

40 jim

I agree with this point, I htink once the whole democracy issue lost them a lot of credibility.

41 jim

I agree (though I’m not a republican)

42 Martin

There is now way that digg is worth even close to that much, it is too far on its decline, it would take some serious renovation and a ‘rebirth’ for it to be worth even close to that. Don’t get me wrong though, it certainly exceeded almost all expectations from its inception.

43 Douglas Karr

My opinion is that Digg changed when it began to interfere with the natural selection that was taking place. It slapped its power users in the face, kicked off a bunch of people for gaming the system and then got saturated with crap.

They ‘changed’ a good thing. I’m all about tweaking and observing the results to see if it has a positive or negative effect. When you arbitrarily change rules or processes and don’t look to see what’s going to happen downstream, you’re asking for trouble.

44 Chris

Digg completely died to me as soon as the “bury brigade” was in full force, and even excellent articles that were completely unique, had to basically luck out to not be buried. There is zero accountability for actions like that, and people would bury articles simply because they didn’t like the subject matter, like articles on SEO or Microsoft….

Then they added in a system where if your site was buried 10-20 times, then any article submitted from your site was auto buried. Nice in principle, but the power users at digg just used it to take advantage of sites they didn’t like, and digg never did tweak it again to fix it…

45 Adi Moga

long life to stumbleupon ;)

46 Your World Gallery

I don’t know what causesd it but I have to say I have had nothing but problems trying to use them the last month. Oh and customer service with them sucks hard core!

47 Smith

Digg is merely a time waster for me these days.

48 Affiliate Unleashed

I never really liked digg that much anyways.

I’ve gotten traffic from stumbleupon which is cool considering I’ve never signed up for it. Hehe.

49 Affiliate Unleashed

Yea. I find it does make me less productive too.

50 Affiliate Unleashed

I disagree. They expanded to meet their demographics “wants”

51 Gary Lee

i’m wondering what’s next . . . .

52 Dom

What your demographic wants (or thinks they want) is not necessarily what’s best for your business.

53 cy

it’s good for link baiting.

’nuff said.

54 Mike Huang

Digg isn’t even fair anymore. It’s now all about who “DIGGS” the post first…

-Mike

55 賃貸 大阪

The thing is that it is hard to keep growing only covering one thing.

56 sockmoney

Digg has become the biased news portal they set out to replace.

57 賃貸 大阪

That was a good article. Digg took away the carrot.

58 賃貸 大阪

I am wondering where all the Digg users time will be spent now? Facebook?

59 Bid Doug

The downfall is a result of Digg jerking and banning users for no reason and not giving any warnings. I got it 3 times already. thanks digg!!

60 Contest Beat

Yeah probably!

61 Joeychgo

who knows – they’ll find somewhere else, then somewhere else, then somewhere else.

62 Joeychgo

Personally, I dont like any of the social networking sites. I could care less about them.

63 Jeremy Steele

I liked Digg for a short period of time (before the HUGE growth it had a while back). Now I dislike it for two reasons – it is too corrupt and too many fake stories make it to the front page.

64 TDave

I really like Kevin Rose. I have since he first came on the screensavers. I don’t think digg is going to hell in a handbasket by any means, but I do have one beef. Kevin Rose, stop hanging around with that idiot Alex Albright. I can’t even watch diggnation anymore because he is such an idiot. Get back to your roots Kevin and get away from these kind of “entourage idiots.”

my .02

65 Small Business Marketing

I never eally dugg it. Sorry.

66 Steve!

The problem is that nothing interesting or worthy of being on the front page never get there.

67 Fiscal Musings

I’ve used Digg a little bit, but never had much success with it, and I’ve never really taken the time to try and get to the front page. I do see though how there is less and less said about the service though.

68 Reverse Funnel System

I like using digg and i tihnk it still have great potential to grow more.

69 Catfish

Great post man. It just goes to show you how fluid this business is, especially in social media. Here today, gone tomorrow was never more true than it is with “cool” social media sites.

70 Nick Sullivan

I wouldn’t say Digg are on a downfall. You may have some pathetic people not use just because they signed a deal with someone they don’t like, I mean, that’s just ridiculous and childish.
But besides that Digg is just too big to have a downfall. Maybe something new will come a long and take it down a peg like Google did to Yahoo! but it will never go away or be dead, it’s reached that level now where it will always be big.

It’s like ok Yahoo! may be losing BADLY against Google but Yahoo still are still huge. Digg isn’t going anywhere.

71 John W

Plus it is impossible to gt any story to get more than 10-20 diggs and unless you are one of the top users your story is going no where.

72 John W

I can’t believe I never saw that. That’s great.

73 commandos

digg front page are being sold for 20-40$ on dp lol

74 Steve!

I wouldn’t buy Digg. Too much baggage.

75 Affiliate Confession

Exactly, before I know it I’ve wasted 45 minutes watching stupid cat videos someone found and posted on Digg. I’d be better off without it.

76 Help Save Santa

The downfall of Digg happened because Digg was never really that useful or cool to begin with. It never really got the BEST information to the top – just the information that Digg nerds were big on. Who wants to spend all day poking around on Digg just so you can eventually get a story to the top.

That time is better spent cultivating good relationships with other people in your industry.

77 FYI
78 Shanker Bakshi

Lets dig this out what was the reason of downfall; but do you think there is a real downfall, I mean Jermy himself claiming that he was not caring about ‘digg from long time then how he can assert there is a downfall; well I don’t see it or I can’t see it. Dom I feel it still the same digg , or should I say ite been improved a lot for that matter

79 Joeychgo

true enough as well. By doing so they eliminated some of their most proflic diggers. Its like banning a post whore on a forum, then wondering why the forum is quiet.

80 Help Save Santa

That was awesome. Clutch link.

81 Help Save Santa

The more I think about it, the more I realize that Digg was built to be exploited. The whole concept of the site is flawed in that it’s built on such a limited sample needed to digg anything. 100 random people working together can pimp almost any crap to the top for a minute.

82 Help Save Santa

Yeah – these guys need to get their money quickly before they turn into the passed-by fad. Digg = slap bracelets.

83 Help Save Santa

You also like the reverse funnel system. Meh.

84 Affiliate Confession

I know one thing, getting traffic from Digg sucks because it’s useless. They don’t click ads, view more than 1 page or do anything relevant.

85 free playstation 3

i think lorien hit the nail on the head. that whole mess with the dvd code really turned me off to digg. i still check it out occasionally, but not as often as i used to. it comes across as a high school clique-ish atmosphere. i no longer even digg posts because i don’t have enough digg-cred. i have turned into a digg-follower, digging what has already been dug…and i don’t think that’s how it should work.

86 Rantitorial

What a shame, I used to spend hours on Digg. I really though the new categories would help, but it seems inevitable they’ll be corporatized.

87 Johnny

I got into the Digg scene late. I signed up and started submitting stories. No matter what I wrote I could never get anyone to view them. It just seem like only certain groups could make it on the first page. Maybe I just didn’t know what I was doing…

88 voittalsclals

wow ))
its very interesting point of view.
Good post.
realy gj

thx :-)

89 Portland window cleaning

I wondered why digg started going downhill, this explains it.

90 eideardbla

functionality total leading agriculture

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