Ah, how quickly they rise – and how quickly they fall. Once upon a time, back in 2008, Google offered the owners of Digg an astonishing $200 million to take the website off their hands, but they steadfastly refused and kept hold of the site for themselves. They will no doubt be regretting that decision today, as the sale has finally been made – for a measly $500,000.
Kevin Rose was 27 in 2004 when he came up with the idea of a website that allowed users to share and rate their favourite websites, with those receiving the most votes rising to the top of a rankings list that signaled the start of the boom of social networking, especially in terms of its involvement with the media. Like MySpace, however, Digg has had its day, and on Friday it was sold to Betaworks, a New York based company, for a ludicrously reduced price. The advent of link sharing on Facebook and Twitter meant that it very quickly became redundant for most web users, as they could share links easily without needing to use a specific website just for that purpose, and nowadays you can share on just about any social site you can think of.
The first sign of decay came with the departure of most of the existing staff: Rose himself left in 2011 to become a venture capitalist for Google, while the majority of the software engineers jumped ship this May to work for a rival firm. A series of poor redesigns and the arrival of new sites like StumbleUpon signaled the beginning of the end, and although it still sees 16 million unique visitors per month, this cannot even begin to compete with the giants of social networking. Where it goes from now is a question on the lips of many users, as claims have been made that a return to “start-up roots” will rejuvenate the site.