The New @Digg Could Be Worse. No it Couldn’t.

New Digg Homepage

I told Kevin Rose that he made a huge mistake with Digg v4 a couple of days after launch. He Tweeted some snide remark about how he’d built such a large site and dismissed the warning.

I told Matt Williams shortly after he took over that he had to get extremely aggressive if his site had any chance of surviving. He and his team stayed conservative to the bitter end.

As progressions go, I had expected to offer some meaningless after-the-fact advice to the new owners of Digg once they launched “V1”. Unfortunately, I have no advice to give. It seems that in 6 weeks of development they managed to obliterate the site beyond repair.

In short, Digg is officially dead.

Had they just completely given up, moved all of the content to a WordPress blog, and tossed some adsense in the sidebar, they would have been better off. Here’s why.

Millions of Pages Crying Out in Terror…

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” ~ Obi-Wan Kenobi

There is only now. All of the content, all of those highly ranked pages in Google, all of the accounts with years of records and service to the site – gone. They weren’t even redirected. They’re now just a blank 404 page.

This in itself is arguably the dumbest move in the history of websites. Despite the decline in recent years, Digg still received a good amount of traffic from search. Google ranked the pages well on many topics and it was a trusted source with inbound and outbound links that met perfectly with what Google wanted.

This was the one great asset that Digg still held. It was wiped clean, presumably irreversibly today. Nearly 20 million pages. Lost. Forever.

Users? What Users?

If you had a Digg account, you don’t anymore. Nobody does. You have a Facebook or a Twitter account and that’s all that Digg recognizes.

From New Digg’s perspective, those of you who spent years of your life contributing content, comments, Diggs, and buries – you are worthless trash that has no place on their site. The friends you made – better find them on other networks. Digg isn’t a social network. It isn’t a social media site. It isn’t even really a social news site anymore. “Submitting” is meaningless. If you want to “submit” to Digg, you’d better get your Twitter account ready.

We’ve posted dozens of stories today to Digg without a single one making it into the upcoming section. If you think it’s because of human moderation, think again. We’ve seen stories in different languages make it. We’ve seen make it. Even “Pain Control” made it.

Digg Upcoming

It’s Techmeme with Pictures

The closest approximation we’ve seen so far is that it’s like a mini-Techmeme. You Tweet tips to them. They pick top stories weighed against a makeshift algorithm. They favor mainstream media sites.

We love Techmeme, but we don’t need another one. For general topics, there’s already Google News which seems to be more up-to-date.

No, It’s Not Too Early

Digg Foreign Languages

Those who will cry, “Give them a chance” or “They just got started” probably haven’t seen the complete scope of Digg’s obliteration. They didn’t just come in and “rethink” Digg as they claimed they were going to do. They did everything they could to destroy it. V4 for the last 2 years was bad but it had a few redeeming qualities. Betaworks has come in and removed the last remnant of what made Digg good.

We were hopeful. We expected bad but kept a positive outlook. The blog post about what Digg was going to become seemed to have some good ideas. This is worse than we could have imagined.

So long, old friend.

As a fitting note, the top story in upcoming right now tells the sentiment that many feel right now:

Digg DOA

Leave a Reply


  1. Spot on. I liked the animated gif circa 1995 they had up earlier in the day better.

  2. Dumbstruck. I’m literally dumbstruck by this move. You covered all the reasons, just doesn’t make sense…?

  3. I’m still not believing or accepting Digg has dug its own grave:(

  4. Rajeev Ranjan Singh

    Just one word.’ No more Digg’

  5. Funny thing is that “DOA” story in upcoming was quickly “removed”.

    Kind of a sad day.

  6. stfu

    I love when bloggers with absolutely no street cred, who have never built anything in their lives, dole out “advice” to people who have made millions of dollars building successful products. You’re like Harry Knowles saying he could tell Christopher Nolan how to make a movie.

  7. Roger Dimlodge

    I took screenshots of this whole article in case you take it down when digg gets huge. You’re a short sighted idiot.

  8. Digg did rank well in search. For long-tail exact match terms, the Digg result was often directly under the actual article. It ranked better than all other sites that create a mini-page for content because they had it set up so the title, description and categories were morphed into meta data, and the links were formatted with the title included. It was optimized better than most blogs! When you look at other sites that make a page that ranks in search, like Twitter and Twylah, they have terrible optimization, so when Digg had a competing page, they were always ranked above other sites.

    Good eye JD.

    You’re right that it was an immense source of traffic, but from a branding perspective, they have a better shot at becoming relevant in a re incarnation if they can start over They actually had something with all the search traffic, but now they have to put out an outstanding and innovative product to have anything. Moving away from on-site accounts isn’t the right direction, it’s like they’re content being a Facebook plugin. Like you said though, they aren’t offering anything that is unique, new, relevant, or in demand. So yeah, they’re pretty much screwed.

  9. So long Digg. Completely erasing years of user history isn’t going to keep people happy. There are plenty of other sites that offer similar services that we’ll be submitting to from here on out.

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