Digg Paces Social Media For Two Years
By: David Utter
The wildly popular site for uploading and voting news stories up or down has come a long way from its techie-oriented roots, but the challenge to monetize those visits persists.
Digg hit a pair of milestones this week. First, they received the one millionth story submission, a piece appearing on MediaPost about a pending redesign of the Wall Street Journal.
Then, Owen Byrne, the programmer behind the Digg code, posted how Digg had achieved its second anniversary out of beta:
Hard to believe, but two years ago today, Kevin decided my code was bug- free enough to take down the beta sign and unleash Digg upon the world. Its been a crazy and exciting time since then, and we owe it all to you - the loyal and passionate members of the Digg community.
Some trivia "
• First story to hit the home page after officially releasing: http://digg.com/tech_news/Google_Cheat_Sheet
• # of users who registered in the first week: 578
• # of registered users today: 707,593
Traffic and activity for Digg have been respectable. From its beginnings as a tech news-focused site, Digg has branched into other content areas, like business and entertainment. They have some of their advertising managed by John Battelle's Federated Media, while banners and Google's appear throughout Digg.
The site looks like an obvious takeover target for the big Internet players, considering its popularity and brand recognition. That hasn't happened, and Digg founder Kevin Rose has denied previous rumors that the site would be another social media acquisition by Yahoo, or anyone else.
It does not look like a gambit to drive up the potential price tag into a YouTube-like ten-digit range. Videos on YouTube are just waiting for new owner Google to drop a video advertising product into them. Text links and comments ranging from rude to erudite on Digg posts don't offer the same lucrative potential.
It's hard to imagine how Digg would look under someone else's ownership. Would a Microsoft tolerate the unabashed loathing many Digg users have for it? Any whiff of censoring would anger the userbase; already the ways stories get promoted and the role of moderators have created tempests when they arise.
Perhaps it will just stay the way it is. As long as Rose and company are happy with Digg's earnings, much in the way Craig Newmark is with Craigslist, they may just hold their independent status.
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