What Started The Downfall of Digg

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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?

104 thoughts on “What Started The Downfall of Digg

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.”

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  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

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  23. 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…

  24. 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!!

  25. 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.

  26. 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

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  29. 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.

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  32. 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.

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  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. 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.

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  40. 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.

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  46. 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.

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  48. 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…

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