Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

How Digg's popularity was dug up by Reddit

By Tim Walker

Published 16/07/2012

Launched in 2005, Reddit is a social news website owned by Condé Nast. Users have the option to submit links to content on the internet or their own posts that contain original copy. Other users vote the links "up" or "down" with the most successful gaining prominence.
Created in 2004, Digg is a social news website encouraging users to submit links to stories that people then vote for or "dig". The most popular stories feature in a prominent place. The feature Facebook Connect links stories you dig to your Facebook account.
The most popular social networking site, when you click the Facebook icon at the bottom of an article, a link to that story will appear on your Facebook profile page saying that you recommend it. It will also appear in all your friends' news feeds.
Clicking on the Twitter icon lets you Tweet the article, appearing in your Twitter feed usually with the article's headline, the publication and the section it appears in and the shortened url. It allows you to add a comment (140 characters or under, of course).
If you have a Google account, you can just click the Google button below the article and it will bookmark the article for you to keep for future reference.
From the 2,000 news articles that people submit to Fark everyday, about 50 are chosen to go on display. As its name suggests, it is a humorous website, providing satirical views on interesting, strange and funny stories of the day.
StumbleUpon describes itself as a "discovery engine". While creating your own profile it asks for your interests. It then allows its users to discover and rate web stories, photos, and videos. The site then recommends sites and stories that you might enjoy.
Delicious is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing and discovering web bookmarks. Now owned by Yahoo!, it has 5.3 million users. Unlike Digg, it is non-hierarchical, instead letting users tag bookmarks and look for stories related to their interests.
The once-mighty social networking website's name is an acronym for Blog Early, Blog Often. By clicking on the Bebo icon below a story, it adds a link to it on your personal profile page. AOL bought it for $850m in 2008, selling it in June this year for $10m.
Lets you comment on an article which will then appear below it on the website. News sites, including The Independent's, have tried to stop anonymous commenting by making users log in with Twitter or Facebook details, or set up an account for the site.
Email this
This icon is obvious enough. It allows you to email the article to your contacts by entering their email addresses, and lets you add a personalised message too.
Buzz - Not dissimilar to Digg, Yahoo! Buzz gives users editorial control. A community-based news article site, users can link to stories of interest. It was created to rival larger online media companies and search engines, in the hope it would drive traffic to the site.
A professional network for the business community. Members stay in touch, look for work or create business opportunities. A story you highlight appears on your profile and it appears as an option on news sites such as The Wall Street Journal.
Although Tumblr actually allows you to share a number of things, including links to external sites, quotes and videos, it is perhaps best known for sharing pictures. Half of the original posts on this blogging platform each month are photos.
By clicking on the Permalink icon, it gives you a url that you can copy and paste and use on your own blog or homepage. The idea is that the permalink will give you access to that web page forever, even after it has passed from the front page to the archives.
A community-powered journalism website, Newsvine has content from users and syndicated content from sources such as the Associated Press. Users can write articles, seed links to external content, and discuss news items.
A user-driven social media site, once you click the Mixx button after an article, you can submit it to the website and add up to eight tags. People can then search Mixx for tags and get directed to stories that people have indexed with the relevant word.
LiveJournal is for writing and sharing stories, photos and videos with friends. You can put in key phrases, people or books and connect with other people who have chosen similar interests and invite them to join your network.
Linkedin focuses on building professional and business contacts, not friends. A story you highlight will appear on your profile to all the contacts you've made, so users tend to select industry and highbrow news to share.
If you have a MySpace account, by clicking network's icon under an article you will post the story and a link to it which will appear in all your friends' feeds, although it won't appear on your profile page.

The 13th most-popular story on Reddit on Friday lunchtime concerned the sale of its rival "social-news" site, Digg , for a reported $500,000 (£324,000), to the tech-development firm Betaworks.

If half a million sounds like a lot, consider that in 2006 Digg's founder, Kevin Rose, appeared on the cover of BusinessWeek above the headline: "How this kid made $60 million in 18 months."

That was then the estimated value of the site that Rose, a former cable-TV talk-show host, had founded two years previously, to allow users to compile and rank web content. In its pomp, Digg boasted around 40 million monthly users; its most popular sharers wielded influence equivalent to any major newspaper editor.

Created within months of Facebook, Digg was one of the earliest social-media sites. Facebook "likes" closely resemble the "Digg" function, which links votes to the site's popularity rankings.

But the rise of Facebook and Twitter removed Digg's USP, demonstrating the difficulty of future-proofing any web service.

In 2010, an unpopular site redesign prompted Digg users to protest by "Digging" its rival Reddit, pushing its links to the top of the Digg front page.

Last year, Reddit overtook Digg in popularity. Digg had seven million monthly visitors in May, according to ComScore.

Reddit's busiest subsection, " /r/funny", attracts almost that many per day. now describes itself as "the front page of the internet".

But the history of Digg proves that, for the giants of the internet, hubris can be fatal.

Belfast Telegraph

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