Everybody these days thinks they can come up with a great idea for a website, and then market it for huge success. It sounds like a pipe dream, but why wouldn’t they believe it? After all, there are success stories popping up all over the Internet about people who had one neat idea and were able to make millions. It sounds like the best get-rich-quick scheme since The Producers.
However, as far as these start-ups rise, they only fall harder.
On Thursday, it was announced that Digg.com (no, not us. We’re the better Dig) would be sold to New York technology development firm Betaworks for $500,000. For some of us, that seems like a reasonable amount, but considering that Digg was once valued at over $160 million, the price is paltry, maybe even abysmal.
The company says that they got other offers, but wanted to work with Betaworks in order to re-think its strategy.
Digg, the website launched in 2004, was a way for users to mark what news stories and links they found to be the most important. It was an alternative to browsing news sites, since it was personalized to the user. Other users could “Digg” stories, which let them rise higher in popularity, eventually sometimes becoming the most Digged story on the site.
Back in 2008, there were rumors that the Digg was in negotiations to sell itself to Google for $200 million, along with others that had large payouts.
That idea is so 2004 though. This is 2012. Nowadays we have Reddit, Facebook, Huffington Post, a billion other aggregators to choose from. Reddit, for example, raked in more visitors for the first time last December, signaling an end to the reign of King Digg. The precursor to the contemporary Internet has fallen by the wayside, and had pretty much been forgotten. The Internet moves fast, and Digg was not able to keep up.
Even the top stories on Digg.com today are comprised mainly of articles about how much the Digg got what they deserved. Even those have less than 100 Diggs, while the top stories on Reddit go into the thousands.
This isn’t uncommon though. Many of you know what I’m talking about when I say “Ask Jeeves.” It was many people’s first search engine, but do any of us still use it? It’s now Ask.com, a question and answer site, but most of us still default to Google, or Yahoo Answers for that matter, at the very least for the troll posts.
There is also the sad tale of Myspace. Tom Anderson was was the hip, cool kid in town before Mark Zuckerberg came along and stole all of his friends. Now he just sits in the back of clubs listening to obscure indie bands, wondering where he had gone wrong.
Even Facebook had quite a scare last year when Google launched Google+, a social networking website that was totally not Google Buzz. Facebook is still in prominence, and Google+ has now become a popular site for crickets.
The Digg may have made some mistakes along the way, but maybe it was just a victim of its time. Maybe it was time for the Digg to finally step down for the Facebooks and Reddits of the world. Or maybe it just suffered from a severely damaged redesign in 2010, and has been downhill ever since.
Seriously? Fuck that thing.