August 1, 2012
A New Digg Has Been Unearthed, Betaworks Version Cleaner
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
There´s a new Digg in town, giving us all one more reason to stop doing productive things and look at all the non-productive things the rest of the Internet is up to right now.
Digg, once a popular stop on the ℠net to see what was happening in the world wide web, had seen better days in recent years. Earlier this month, it was announced that Betaworks had purchased Digg, promising to turn “Digg back into a startup. Low budget, small team, fast cycles.”
Since the acquisition, Betaworks has set about completely razing Digg to the ground, removing all the old code, designs and user accounts and starting completely from scratch.
The new Digg is a completely new experience, with clean lines and a polished look. News stories are accentuated with large photographs and it even scans social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to gauge what the web is talking about at any given moment.
Just as in the old Digg of the past, users can submit links and vote – or “Digg” – links to boost their popularity. While users aren´t yet able to comment on links, Betaworks has said they plan to implement this feature later. For now, the company is focused on improving the new site and will roll out updates for the rest of the year.
According to the New York Times, Betaworks has said they don´t plan to take over or replace social networking as sources of real-time news. Instead, they want to offer a new, cleaner platform on which to display these streams and display them on the web.
“Digg was a great game,” said Jake Levine, one Betaworks employee, remembering the heyday of the news service.
“But as it got to 30 million people, the system broke. The game moved off Digg and onto Facebook and Twitter.”
During the height of its success, anything popular on the Internet was on Digg. Many popular articles or stories got that way thanks to the loyal community of Digg users who worked together to give the thumbs up or thumbs down vote within the news service.
Then, in an effort to clean up the site and build in some social elements, the Digg team embarked on an extensive overhaul of the site in 2010. Many of the passionately loyal fans quickly panned these changes and left the service for other sites, such as Reddit.
Digg saw a 24% loss of traffic in the weeks following the overhaul, and was never able to fully recover. Just 2 months later, Digg cut their staff by 37%, then made more cuts in June 2011.
According to recent stats, Digg sees anywhere from 3 million to 16 million visitors each month, depending on the analytics service used to measure traffic.
“The core of what we´re trying to get at is what the Internet is talking about right now,” said John Borthwick, Betaworks founder, who also took over the role of CEO at Digg when his company acquired the news service.
Though some of the new services at Digg will be automated, Betaworks has hired three editors to keep an eye on the stories popping up on Digg´s site around the clock.
Though Digg has to overcome some major hurdles, including a bruised reputation and the extreme popularity of sites like Facebook, Reddit and Twitter, Betaworks hopes the newly redesigned Digg will once again become a part of the common Internet lexicon.