What Digg Did Wrong

By Daniel Scocco

A couple of months ago I wrote a post asking if social bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious were dying. It looks like they are. This week the tech press revealed that Kevin Rose, Digg’s founder, is abandoning ship and moving on to a new startup. Traffic is also down by almost 50% compared to its peak, so tech blogs are declaring Digg pretty much dead.

But what happened exactly to Digg, and what mistakes did it do, as it once was one of the most popular and respected Web 2.0 startups? In fact at one point Google was intended to buy it for around $200 million, but the deal fell apart in the last minute.

If you want to understand the whole thing there is a very interesting article at Computer World titled Why Digg Failed. Here is a quotation:

Digg content categories were crazy.

Digg is about content, and content needs to be categorized. For most of its existence, Digg categorization was bizarre and heavily biased according to the founder’s semi-adolescent world view. For example, “Tech” was a category. And so was “Apple.” Why was one company singled out for special treatment? There were no categories for things like “Religion” or “Research,” but six categories for gaming.

Digg has improved content categories by offering fewer, more general ones. But its “Media type” categories are “News,” “Image” and “Video.” The first isn’t a media type, but a content type. For example, video can be news, Why isn’t it “Text,” instead of “News.” And why shut out “Audio”?

Digg has always struggled with simple categorization.

The article also mentions how Digg had a bias against blog content, and how ended up alienating bloggers from its user base, which certainly hurt its popularity. Worth a read.




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16 Responses to “What Digg Did Wrong”

  • Emil A. Georgiev

    I fully agree with the quoted language – Digg’s categories show a definite potential for improvement.

    I personally ceased using Digg and concentrated on StumbleUpon.

    Digg is also no longer a reliable source for traffic generation, at least I get nearly no feedback from them. Consequently, I removed the Digg button from my weblog.

    • Web Marketing Tips

      If you are not using Digg that does not mean that you should remove it from your blogs.

      Your readers may still like it … have you studied it before taking this move.

      • Emil A. Georgiev

        I would agree with you provided that I received a feedback worth mentioning from Digg.

  • John Burnside

    I have to say that I have never got on with Digg as much as I have stumble upon because of the whole catagories thing. When I write an article on my blog and then try and submit it to digg it asks me for a catagory and more often than not it doesn’t fit into any of them.

  • Jeff Goins

    Fascinating. I thought that it was interesting that their categories were so narrow.

  • Sean

    Yep goodbye Digg, was nice knowing you! If you stop doing what it takes to be #1, someone else will!

    Welcome Reddit and Stumbleupon! 🙂

  • Justin

    I was wondering what was going on with digg. It doesn’t seem to bring me any traffic. StumbleUpon works well, and reddit is useful when they allow me to post a blog.

  • Kate Kutny

    Wow that is sad that Digg is dying. I had no idea. That is horrible. I really did enjoy using Digg to bookmark my articles. It’s sad how they didn’t care enough about bloggers. They should have put more concern into bloggers and everyone that used their services.

  • Mani Viswanathan @ DailyBlogging

    Diggs failure is directly proportional to people not actively spending time in it. Earlier, people were willing to spend time in Digg & hence it was a success.

    I still feel the total redo, mainly the rearrangements in the design is the cause of it’s failure.

  • Paul Odtaa

    Interesting – seems time for Time Warner to make an expensive bid for Digg.

    On a more realistic level I’m betting behind the scenes there are people interested in buying or taking control.

    I would reckon there will be a big Digg re-launch later this year – whether it’s successful will depend on the team behind the launch.

    If it’s big corp their instincts will be wrong and it’ll be Digg RIP.

    If it’s someone net savvy then possibly Digg will revive.

  • Shyam

    Yeah that’s bad. But I’m never used Digg But I wish to use Stumbleupon

  • Rakesh Kumar

    I haven’t used digg for a long time but it’s quite useful tool to me!

  • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

    Good post.

    Looks like Digg should have hired you as a consultant!

  • Web Marketing Tips

    Yes they always get criticism from the bloggers …

    But however at one stage we really liked it and enjoyed it.

  • Togrul

    Pity to see that Digg is gradually vanishing away…

  • Gimo

    The truth is that I am still using it but you really feel like you post it and at the same time you are thinking. ” Is anybody will find or click on my bookmarks?” Especially with their world news category which is a big mess…

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