Co-founders Leave, Site Wobbles

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-07-15 Print this article Print


Co-founders Leave, Site Wobbles

In August 2007, Digg modified its main user interface, mostly in the profile area. Users, who get accustomed to formats and eschew changes (just ask Facebook about that one), didn't like it. Three years later, it changed again, and more users didn't like it.

Websites are all about usability and look and feel. Subscribers want to feel welcomed and nurtured; after all, they intentionally signed up to use the site. Digg's August 2010 redesign not only wasn't nurturing, it was a flat-out disaster, according to many former users who, ironically, used competing networks like Twitter to complain about it.

In the redesign, Digg axed a popular feature: the "bury" button for users' thumbs-down recommendations. Without a way to say "no" to balance "yes," users were handcuffed.

Digg also neglected its most active power users, who invested a lot of time lauding and degrading stories they had read on the Web. But rather than promote activity by its frequent users -- and best customers -- Digg did nothing. No wonder those users eventually fell away and found other sites that exhibited more appreciation for them.

After its co-founders and co-backbones, Kevin Rose (Google ventures) and Jay Adelson (SimpleGeo), left the company in 2010, it had peaked in both relevance and usefulness. Digg essentially became a spineless amoeba.  

Mobile Strategy Tanked

Digg never launched a successful mobile format, which certainly did not help matters.

Most importantly, Digg never figured out a way to monetize those millions of page views, despite partnerships with Facebook and others. Listening closer to users and enacting a smart mobile strategy ultimately may not have saved the site, but they would have helped the business tremendously.

To paraphrase legendary American storyteller Woody Guthrie, whose 100th birthday was July 14: "So long, Digg, it's been good to know ya."

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features and Analysis for eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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