In what appears to be a fire sale, Betaworks has reached an agreement to acquire fading news aggregator Digg for a mere $500,000, according to the Wall Street Journal, which describes the price tag for the former social media star as a “pittance.” The sale reportedly includes the brand, website, and technology. A few years ago, Google was apparently willing to spend somewhere in the $80-$200 million range for the Digg website.
The WSJ explains why the bottom dropped out on Digg, which was founded in 2004 by Kevin Rose:
By the end of 2008, Digg was one of the most popular websites on the planet, boasting nearly 30 million monthly visitors, according to ComScore. But the audience started to drift away in early 2010 as services such as Facebook and Twitter exploded in popularity, as users preferred getting article recommendations from their friends or people they followed. By the end of 2010, Digg’s audience had fallen by more than half, according to ComScore. Newer social news website such as Reddit Inc. also stole some of Digg’s thunder.
Digg’s market share wasn’t helped by a site redesign in 2010 that went over like a lead balloon with its regular users.
Betaworks will fold Digg into News.me Inc,. a start-up news aggregation service that launched in April 2011. Digg is said to still get about 7 million unique visitors a month.
Matt Williams posted this on the Digg blog:
Betaworks is combining Digg with News.me, a Betaworks company with an iPad app, iPhone app and daily email that delivers the best stories shared by your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Digg will join a portfolio of products developed by Betaworks designed to improve the way people find and talk about the news. Betaworks founder John Borthwick will be the CEO of the new Digg.
Only a skeleton crew of employees still work at Digg, and evidently none of them will be part of the new venture.
Do you think Betaworks will be able to breathe new life into the Digg brand?