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 Digg.com 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 Reddit.com make it. Even “Pain Control” made it.
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
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: